Maryland's football season is at long last over, as the season finale in Chapel Hill ended in a 45-38 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. Bryn Renner threw for five touchdown passes for the Tar Heels, and second-half dominance from North Carolina put the game away.
The game started out like so many others in the tail end of the Terrapins' season - with two quick scores from the opponent. On the first drive, safety Matt Robinson missed two tackles and Bryn Renner found Eric Ebron for a 30-yard score. After Shawn Petty was intercepted, Renner quickly found Quinshad Davis in the corner of the end zone for a two-yard score.
But Maryland came back to tie it up early in the second quarter, before a frantic end to the half gave the Terps their first lead. After rushing touchdowns from Brandon Ross and Petty, Renner threw another touchdown pass. With a few minutes left in the half, Nigel King made back-to-back one-handed catches, and hauled in another reception for 21 yards. That set up one of a few trick plays for Maryland on the night, as Stefon Diggs took the ball to the right side on a wide receiver reverse and then threw it to a wide open Matt Furstenburg in the end zone.
On the ensuing kick-off, Brad Craddock's squib bounced around the field before falling into the arms of Anthony Nixon in North Carolina territory. With four seconds left, Petty found Kevin Dorsey over the middle, who broke a few tackles and dove into the end zone for a 28-yard score and a 28-21 lead.
The wild nature of the game continued at the beginning of the third quarter, as the kick-off to start the half was returned 99 yards for a score by Stefon Diggs. North Carolina responded with two more Bryn Renner touchdowns over the next two minutes to tie it up, and at that point, the Tar Heels took over.
Thomas Moore hit a 22-yard field goal, and Giovani Bernard ran in a one-yard score for the first non-Renner UNC touchdown of the night. That made for 24 unanswered points by the Tar Heels, and a 45-35 lead headed into the fourth.
Maryland put together a drive midway through the fourth that resulted in a 27-yard Brad Craddock field goal, but North Carolina was able to run out the clock on Maryland's season. The Terps finish up at 4-8 with six straight losses and a countless number of injuries.
Shawn Petty finished the game 16/35 for 208 yards and a score with one interception, while Brandon Ross continued his strong end-of-season form with 21 rushes for 141 yards. Stefon Diggs caught eight passes for 82 yards, ran three times for 20 yards, threw a touchdown pass, and returned a kick for a touchdown. Meanwhile, for Carolina, Bryn Renner tied for a school record with five touchdown passes, Giovani Bernard had 27 rushes for 163 yards and a score, and Quinshad Davis finished with nine receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
We'll have more on this game tomorrow.