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Late field goal makes Terps eligible for bowl
Question of the Day
Da’Rel Scott seemed to know as he clutched his left shoulder late in the fourth quarter Saturday that he was finished for the day.
As the demonstrative Maryland tailback trudged off the field after logging the last of his 163 yards, he encountered backup Davin Meggett approaching the huddle.
“[He said] ‘Keep it up, no drop-off, let’s finish this,’” Meggett said.
Meggett completed what Scott and the Terrapins started, hauling in a crucial third-down pass to set up Obi Egekeze’s game-winning 20-yard field goal and lift Maryland to a 27-24 defeat of pesky N.C. State.
The victory enabled Maryland (6-2, 3-1 ACC) to remain atop the Atlantic Division with Florida State on a day fellow leaders Boston College and Wake Forest stumbled on the road.
And it came in a manner perfectly befitting the unpredictable Terps, who allowed the Wolfpack (2-6, 0-4) to control possession for 36 minutes but still scratched out a tight victory in less-than-favorable conditions before an announced crowd of 45,018 featuring large swaths of the upper deck sitting empty.
“We found a way,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I told the team, ‘If we’re going to win a championship, you have to win games like this.’ It just comes with it.”
A revitalized rushing game aided the Terps immensely on an afternoon when both teams contended with downpours, drizzle and every sort of rain in between. Scott had his best game since the season opener, gashing the Wolfpack for much of the day and scoring a go-ahead touchdown on a 24-yard run in the third quarter.
N.C. State soon tied it, but Scott remained Maryland’s most effective offensive tool - until he was hurt with 3:35 remaining and was forced to leave in favor of Meggett, whose workload to that juncture was only three carries.
Scott departed after reinjuring the left shoulder that cost him a game last month but not without a few words.
“He was saying a lot of things,” quarterback Chris Turner said. “He was yelling a lot. I couldn’t make out quite what he was saying, but it was something motivational.”
Whatever it was, it did the job. Meggett ran four times for 20 yards in the next few minutes, pushing the Terps to the N.C. State 35. Turner, who threw for 126 yards in the suboptimal conditions, nearly connected with Darrius Heyward-Bey on a touchdown in what was ruled an incomplete pass.
Then came a screen in the right flat to Meggett, a play designed to get Maryland inside the 30. Turner couldn’t see the freshman when he made the throw over an oncoming defensive lineman but was fully aware of the result when Meggett was dragged down at the N.C. State 4 with 28 seconds left.
Offensive coordinator James Franklin wanted to try for a touchdown. Friedgen overruled him, ordering a run to the middle of the field that set up Egekeze’s field goal.
“When I saw an opportunity to end this thing, I didn’t want to take a chance of screwing it up,” Friedgen said.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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