The Washington Times - November 19, 2011, 08:16PM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The last realistic accomplishment the Maryland football team could hope to achieve this season was ruining someone else’s postseason aspirations.

The Terrapins couldn’t do so Saturday at Wake Forest.

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The Demon Deacons never trailed in a 31-10 victory at BB&T Field as they clinched bowl eligibility a year after slogging through a 3-9 season.

Maryland (2-9, 1-6 ACC) did plenty to help. The Terps failed to score in four red zone trips and had a touchdown called back by a penalty while dropping their seventh straight game.

“Whatever could go wrong, has gone wrong,” first-year coach Randy Edsall said, speaking of a lost season in general, though it certainly pertained to their work against the Demon Deacons as well.

It was Maryland’s sixth straight loss by double digits, its longest such streak since 1997. And with Wake Forest (6-5, 5-3) rolling up 514 total yards, the Terps have surrendered 500 yards four times in six weeks. That matches the total of 500-yard games yielded in 10 years under former coach Ralph Friedgen.

The Demon Deacons became the third team to clinch bowl eligibility against the Terps this season, joining Georgia Tech and Virginia. Wake Forest also locked up its first winning record in conference play since 2007.

Despite the lopsided margin – the Demon Deacons’ largest against Maryland since 1968 – Maryland was quite competitive for much of the night. The defense, led by freshman defensive tackle Andre Monroe’s 2.5 sacks, limited Wake’s effectiveness in the first half. Meanwhile, Terps quarterback C.J. Brown connected with Justus Pickett for a 31-yard score just before the break to tie it at 7-7.

The Deacons nosed ahead 10-7 early in the third quarter, but the Terps appeared to have seized the lead for the first time when tailback Davin Meggett rumbled in from 17 yards out. However, his touchdown was negated by Kevin Dorsey’s illegal shift penalty. Four plays later, Nick Ferrara missed a 36-yard field goal.

Wake then stitched together an 80-play drive capped by Brandon Pendergrass’ two-yard run on a fourth down to make it 17-7.

“It was just a dagger,” Brown said of the missed chance. “We were playing so well. We came back in the second half and to put us up, we had that opportunity right there and we just let it slip by.”

Brown, making his first start for Maryland this month, rushed for 110 yards on 13 carries. In the process, he broke Mark Manges’ 35-year-old school record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. Brown has 497 rushing yards entering the season finale.

Trouble is, those numbers – and any other modest feats the Terps have rolled up while trudging through the last 11 games – are certain to be forgotten in the long run as losses continue to pile up.

Maryland can match its school record of 10 losses – set only two years ago – with a loss next week at N.C. State (6-5, 3-4). It has yielded 485 yards per game during its losing skid. And it continues to be done in by fundamental miscues like dropped passes, lousy tackling and bungled field goals.

Indeed, it was almost appropriate the Terps’ final offensive snap was tight end Matt Furstenburg’s dropped pass in the end zone.

“Self-inflicted wounds again,” defensive tackle Joe Vellano said. “No doubt they’re a good team. They made a lot of big plays, too.”

And so Maryland is down to one game, the expiration date on a season long since turned sour finally in sight. Next week, the Terps can again play the spoiler. N.C. State, by virtue of its two victories over Division I-AA teams, needs a seventh victory to become bowl eligible.

Three teams – Georgia Tech, Virginia and now Wake Forest – have clinched a crack at the postseason with a defeat of Maryland.

If the Terps author a similar performance to Saturday, that number figures to grow.

“Just too many missed opportunities to win the ballgame,” Edsall said.

And with them, the chance for even the far-from-glorious accomplishment of spoiling  someone else’s season was shelved for at least another week.

Patrick Stevens