- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 1, 2002

Fittingly for one of Maryland's best defensive players ever, E.J. Henderson's final play at Byrd Stadium produced points for the Terrapins a safety that provided a neat regular-season capper to his career.
The All-American linebacker then watched the waning moments of his last home game and heard the adoration from Maryland fans chanting "E.J." to their football hero.
Maryland was in the final stages of yesterday's comfortable 32-14 victory over Wake Forest that wrapped up a Peach Bowl berth. Henderson relaxed alone on the bench and took stock one last time in the stadium where he became one of the nation's best players.
"I helped build a foundation here," said Henderson, who also had 14 tackles, a sack and an interception. "As soon as I realized that [the safety] was my last play, I thought that was the way to go out."
Quarterback Scott McBrien threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and the 25th-ranked Terrapins rode a 27-0 halftime lead to an easy victory. The Terps amassed 533 yards offense and had a 10-minute time of possession advantage to end their regular season on an upbeat note on an overcast day before 39,006.
The win gave Maryland (10-3, 6-2 ACC) its first consecutive 10-victory seasons in program history and also was a sweet way to end the season after being embarrassed by Virginia 48-13 last week. The Terps had won eight straight before the blowout by the Cavaliers.
"Last week was tough for a lot of us around here," receiver Scooter Monroe said. "We had an opportunity [to win a share of the conference title] and we didn't capitalize on it. The only way to get that taste out of our mouths was to play well today. We did that, and ended the season on a good note."
Wake Forest's season likely is finished. The Demon Deacons (6-6, 3-5) are bowl eligible but unlikely to receive an invitation. Wake was playing without All-ACC defensive end Calvin Pace, who suffered a broken leg last week.
The Terps pulled away with a dominant second quarter that saw their 3-0 lead mushroom as they scored on their final four possessions before halftime as McBrien completed 15 of 20 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. The Terps had a six-minute time of possession advantage, only one penalty and no punts before the break.
"Scott McBrien was on target," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who took advantage of extra defenders in the box with short passes. "He was sharp. He read his keys. He got the play-action in the game going, and then we got our run going."
McBrien said a week of lighter practices helped reinvigorate the team. The quarterback, who had four touchdowns passes and five interceptions over the past two games, was comfortable from the start.
"I felt more confident today than I did all year," said McBrien, who also had eight carries for 42 yards. "I don't know why. It was weird. I just had that feeling. Once I got the first passes completed, I kind of got in a rhythm, and I kind of stayed in that rhythm."
Maryland went ahead 10-0 following a 1-yard scoring plunge by 270-pound fullback James Lynch. The 73-yard drive was set up by Dennard Wilson's interception after a deflection by defensive tackle Randy Starks.
McBrien completed all three of his pass attempts in the series, including a 32-yard out to Jafar Williams.
The Terps had another 73-yard drive on their next series in four plays. The drive was capped by a 38-yard touchdown pass to Chris Downs, who caught a screen on the left side and stumbled before using several downfield blocks to make a shifty run into the end zone.
"We just tried to use a lot of play-action and were able to make plays," Friedgen said. "We were just getting chunks of yardage."
Maryland went ahead 24-0 after Rich Parson's 11-yard scoring catch with 2:42 left in the half. Nick Novak's 38-yard field goal, his second of the day, made it 27-0.
Downs finished with 15 carries for 78 yards, and led the ACC in rushing this season with 1,113 yards. Bruce Perry contributed 85 yards on 19 runs.
The Demon Deacons rallied in the third quarter despite heavy rains and wind to cut Maryland's lead to 27-14 on a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs by Tarence Williams (108 yards). The second came with 3:47 left in the period and one play after a 78-yard pass from Cory Randolph to Jax Landfried, who beat safety Curtis Williams at midfield.
However, the Terps reasserted command following Wake Forest's onside kick attempt. Novak's 28-yard field goal gave Maryland a 30-14 lead with 12:54 left in the game.
Henderson's safety as Randolph tried to scramble out of the end zone was the crowning moment with 4:20 left. The linebacker had a towel draped over his head as he watched the final moments before slowly walking off the field one last time. As he made his way to the locker room, fans surrounded him. They were chanting his name, asking for autographs and taking pictures with one of greatest players in Maryland's history.
"I felt like a superstar," said Henderson, who came off with tears in his eyes.
Notes
Novak made all three of his field goal attempts, giving the All-ACC kicker 21 of 25 for the season. The sophomore also set a Maryland scoring record with 113 points. Friedgen set a record for wins by a second-year coach in the ACC, with a 20-5 overall mark. Wilson left the game in the second quarter with back spasms and did not return.


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