Burns' third possession of the second half resulted in a 48-yard Craddock field goal to give Mayrland an 18-17 lead.
"Probably the worst thing that happened to us was that we knocked the quarterback out of the game," O'Brien said. "You get ready for a little bit of option, but you don't get ready for a lot."
Burns, who had taken only three previous snaps at quarterback this season, said he was not nervous. He had little time to ponder his situation because he entered the game so quickly.
Plus, he said, "I'm pretty much cool, calm and collected."
Burns "was not scared to tuck the ball and run, and he was very shifty and fast," said freshman running back Wes Brown, who returned from a shoulder injury and reinvigorated Maryland's running game with 121 yards on 25 carries. Maryland netted minus-2 rushing yards in beating Virginia a week earlier.
Craddock is now 8-for-13 on field-goal attempts and 15-for-17 on extra points. Most of the players and fans will remember only his final attempt of the night.
"I was just not looking, but praying and hoping for the best," said N.C. State receiver Bryan Underwood, who caught a touchdown pass for the seventh straight game, extending a school record. "We heard the bang and it was just a great feeling."
Said Maryland defensive lineman Joe Vellano: "I wouldn't want to be in that situation, to be the kicker. It is what it is."