WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. | A lot of Maryland players and coaches will suffer from nightmares featuring open receivers and easy touchdowns allowed stemming from a mid-October visit to BB&T Field.
They won’t all think of the same lowlights. After all, there were so many to choose from.
Wake Forest exploited a sievelike defense, scoring touchdowns on its first five drives en route to a 42-32 bruising before 32,780 that denied the Terrapins a substantial lead in the Atlantic Division just two games into its conference schedule.
Instead, a Maryland defense that made such massive steps in its previous two games regressed into the muddled mess vulnerable to anything in its season opener more than a month ago.
Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns and became the school’s career leading passer as the Demon Deacons (4-2, 2-1 ACC) took over the division lead thanks to the bumbling of the Terrapins (2-4, 1-1).
Wake Forest rolled up 516 total yards, the third-most in coach Ralph Friedgen’s nine-year tenure and the second time an opponent has soared past 500 yards this season.
Friedgen bemoaned for weeks his team’s penalties and turnovers. There were no giveaways until well after the game was decided and a modest three penalties in the first half, instead leaving the blame for this debacle on old-fashioned lousy play.
It was certain not long after kickoff the Terps could be two games clear of everyone in the Atlantic with a victory. Boston College and N.C. State were both drubbed earlier in the day, and Wake Forest would have suffered its second conference loss if Maryland could secure a victory in its conference road opener.
It wasn’t much longer before something else became blatantly clear: Maryland was fundamentally incapable to stop the Demon Deacons.
Statistically, it looked like a surgical dissection, the sort expected from a fifth-year senior like Skinner on a night he set a career high for touchdown passes. But he had some help, and not necessarily from his friends
For much of the first 30 minutes, the Terps demonstrated an aversion to pass coverage, with a holding penalty almost a sign of progress in that regard. Skinner ruthlessly picked on cornerbacks Cameron Chism and Anthony Wiseman, and quite often found no resistance seemingly in the same area code as his preferred targets.
When he connected with Anthony Parker for a 20-yard score to cap an efficient 35-point half, it was worth looking around to see if the Terps had 11 men on the field as the rules prescribe. Maryland allowed seven plays of at least 20 yards in the first half, or just one less than the entire rout at California.
Wake Forest rolled up 381 yards by halftime, and the line for the full night didn’t look better. The Demon Deacons converted nine of its 14 third-down attempts, picking up chunk plays with ease.
The Terps’ defenselessness gave little opportunity to learn just how much the losses of left tackle Bruce Campbell and tailback Da’Rel Scott hurt the offense. Maryland yielded four sacks, including one on a fourth down in the third quarter when John Russell roared through the left side and planted quarterback Chris Turner on the ground, but some of those could have occurred regardless of the big junior’s presence.
As for the rushing game, there was little way to gauge its effectiveness since Turner was forced to pass for most of the night. Davin Meggett had 21 yards on six carries, and redshirt freshman Gary Douglas didn’t have a rushing attempt until the second half. Turner led the Terps with 27 yards on 16 carries.
One of the Terps’ two true freshman tailbacks made an appearance. Speedster Caleb Porzel lost two yards on three carries, while D.J. Adams did not play.
Turner finished the night 24 for 44 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and a late interception, mostly avoiding mistakes while trying to keep Maryland relevant throughout. He found Adrian Cannon on a 2-yard fade to the right side of the end zone to pull the Terps within 35-17 in the middle of the third quarter, kindling some hope for Friedgen.
Trouble was, the defense had to go back on the field. It was promptly picked apart, Skinner issuing a reminder of his supremacy for the evening with another long drive. It was capped when Chris Givens juked Chism and then high-stepped through end zone, just one more image the Terps can only wish they’ll soon forget.