Baltimore County

Terps unravel in second half, fall to Wake

For nearly three quarters Saturday at BB&T Field, a young and undermanned Maryland defense kept the Terrapins from continuing their two-month freefall. And, for a few seconds at the end of the first half against Wake Forest, the offense seemed to come to life, too.

It didn't last.

The defense got tired and the offense made a crucial mistake — an illegal shift penalty against junior wide receiver Kevin Dorsey that negated what would have been a 17-yard touchdown run by senior tailback Davin Meggett that could have put the Terps into the lead.

Placekicker Nick Ferrara then missed a 36-yard field goal, and things unraveled from there as the Demon Deacons went on to a 31-10 victory before an announced crowd of 30,112. It was the sixth time this season Maryland lost by at least 10 points.

"When you have scoring opportunities and you don't take advantage of them, and you have a touchdown called back because of a penalty that makes it very, very difficult to win," first-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "Defensively we played very, very well in the first half and in parts of the second half we gave up some big plays that hurt us."

The victory broke a three-game losing streak for Wake Forest (6-5, 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) and made the Demon Deacons bowl-eligible. The defeat, the seventh straight for Maryland (2-9, 1-7 in the ACC), marked the fifth straight league game that the Terps had lost by at least 10 points.

Maryland finishes the season next Saturday at North Carolina State.

After redshirt freshman Andre Monroe led his team's best defensive performance of the season with three first-half sacks of Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price, Maryland tied the game at 7 with 12 seconds left in the half on a 31-yard pass from C.J. Brown to freshman tailback Justus Pickett.

Trailing 10-7 midway in the third quarter, the Terps had a chance to take the lead when Brown's 30-yard run helped get the ball to the Wake Forest 17-yard line. But Dorsey was called for the illegal shift as Meggett ran through the Demon Deacons' defense into the end zone. Ferrara missed his second field goal of the day.

After falling behind 24-10 early in the fourth quarter, the Terps had a chance to get back in the game when they blocked a punt deep in Wake Forest territory. Again, the offense stalled and on fourth-and-goal from the 8, Brown's pass to Dorsey was broken up. The Deacons then sealed the game with a 91-yard scoring drive that ended with a 35-yard pass from Price to Chris Givens with 7:48 to go.

Asked if his defense was tired in the second half, Edsall said, "We didn't have as many guys rotating up front, and they were on the field quite a bit. I thought we played hard and they did everything they possibly could, but they might have got a little bit worn down."

Brown, starting in place of an injured Danny O'Brien, finished 20 of 42 for 186 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Terps in rushing with 110 yards on 13 carries. Meggett finished with 91 yards on 11 carries. Price was 20 of 32 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, while Givens had eight catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.

The last time the Terps lost their last six by double digits came under Ron Vanderlinden. Edsall and his players will be looking to avoid a couple of dubious marks when they play the Wolfpack.

Edsall will try to avoid joining Vanderlinden as the only coach in Maryland history to lose six straight ACC games by double digits — previously done over the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The Terps will try to avoid joining the 2009 team as the only other team in school history to lose 10 games in a season.

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