RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — C.J. Brown put Maryland on his back and carried the Terrapins right out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The quarterback rushed for a season-high 138 yards and three touchdowns and threw for two more, helping Maryland beat North Carolina State 41-21 on Saturday in its final ACC game.
Brown 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.
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.
The Wolfpack (3-9, 0-8) lost their eighth straight and haven’t dropped this many in a row in the same year since 1959 — also the last time N.C. State went 0-for-the-ACC.
“It has been a tough, long season,” first-year coach Dave Doeren said. “I knew when I came here there were going to be challenges. But we look forward to our recruiting process, which starts (Sunday).”
After taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession, N.C. State netted zero total yards on its next five drives while making a series of blunders that Maryland had little trouble turning into points.
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.
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.
“Everyone was flowing for the pitch,” Brown said, “and I was able to knife them up and take them in for the score.”
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.
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(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)