N.C. State caps winless ACC season with 41-21 loss
Dave Doeren lost only one conference game during his time at Northern Illinois.
He'll have to wait until Year 2 at North Carolina State for his next shot at his first ACC victory.
The Wolfpack polished off their 0-for-the-ACC season on Saturday with a 41-21 loss to a Maryland team on its way out of the conference.
Brandon Mitchell ran 3 yards for a TD and finished 21 of 31 for 200 yards with a 3-yard score to Tyler Purvis and a 5-yarder to Rashard Smith.
N.C. State (3-9, 0-8) lost its eighth straight and hasn't dropped this many in a row in the same year since 1959 — also the last time it failed to win an ACC game.
"It has been a tough, long season," said Doeren, who was 23-4 overall and 17-1 in the Mid-American Conference in two seasons at Northern Illinois before he was hired at N.C. State last December.
"I knew when I came here there were going to be challenges," he added. "But we look forward to our recruiting process, which starts (Sunday)."
What doomed the Wolfpack in this one was a five-possession stretch in which they netted zero total yards while allowing Maryland to turn a 7-0 deficit into a 27-7 lead.
C.J. Brown put on a show, rushing for a season-high 138 yards with for three touchdowns and throwing for two more for the Terrapins.
He ran for touchdowns of 49, 2 and 3 yards and was 13 of 25 for 259 yards passing with TDs of 53 yards to Nigel King and 27 to Albert Reid.
"We came out with the mentality that we weren't going to be denied," Brown said.
Maryland (7-5, 3-5) scored on its first six possessions to go up 34-7, and cruised from there to claim its first seven-win season since 2010. The Terrapins are leaving the ACC for the Big Ten next season.
"To come down here and finish it like we did today, I think, puts an exclamation point on who these kids are and what they're all about," coach Randy Edsall said.
Brown became the first Terrapins player to rush for three touchdowns since D.J. Adams in the Military Bowl victory over East Carolina in 2010.
"Everyone was flowing for the pitch," Brown said, "and I was able to knife them up and take them in for the score."
The Terps all but ended this one at halftime by reeling off 34 points in a row. Brad Craddock kicked the first of his two 33-yard field goals before Brown's long TD pass to King — a Raleigh native who outjumped cornerback Jack Tocho, who had him blanketed.
Brown then ran 49 yards through the heart of N.C. State's defense to make it 17-7 with 2:42 left in the first quarter.
"With what we do, (Brown) reads it, does the things the defense gives him and executes," Edsall said. "For whatever reason, it seemed like they wanted to take away the running back, and gave him the opportunities, and he took advantage of them."
Then, a snap that sailed over the head of N.C. State punter Wil Baumann's head for a 21-yard loss gave Maryland a short field at the Wolfpack 14 and set up a Craddock field goal.
"Everything changes with field position," Doeren said. "We had that snap over the punter's head that gave them good field position."
Baumann shanked his next punt 24 yards and — after Terps tight end Dave Stinebaugh inexplicably beat four N.C. State players to his teammate's fumble at the Wolfpack 4 — Brown added his short TD run to make it 27-7 with just under 9 minutes before halftime.
Brown then tacked on his third scoring run to make it 34-7 with 3:23 left in the half.
By that point, N.C. State's short-lived lead — on Mitchell's flip to Purvis on a fourth-and-inches — was merely a distant memory.