"Barnette is a super player," said Cowsette. "He and [wide receiver] Torry Holt are even better than I thought they were going to be. Their offense was better than Florida State's. I see why they have the best offense in the ACC."
Cowsette caught up with Barnette and his teammates 10 times but it wasn't enough to stop the Wolfpack from rallying in the second half to turn back Maryland, 35-21, before 21,589 at Byrd Stadium.
It was the final game of the season for the Terps (3-8, 1-7) and was basically a rerun of many of their losses this season.
They played well enough to win against a more talented team but found a way to lose because of a couple of big plays, a few critical mistakes and some dropped passes. The setback dropped Maryland into a season-ending tie with Clemson for last place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Sophomore Maryland tailback LaMont Jordan said, "We need to grow up next year. We made a lot of stupid mistakes over and over again this year. My opinion is we could have won 10 games this season if we had grown up and I believe the coaches feel the same way."
Jordan carried the ball 20 times for 109 yards yesterday to finish with 906 this season and 1,595 in his career. He is six yards short of Ed Modzelewski, who stands 10th on the all-time Maryland rushing list.
For N.C. State (7-3, 5-2), which is most likely headed to the Peach Bowl, Barnette didn't have one of his better days this season but he still completed 22 of 39 passes for 241 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Barnette started slowly, completing 4-of-10 in the first quarter and throwing two interceptions in the second quarter, helping Maryland build a 7-6 lead at halftime.
But he came out in the second half and led his team 80 yards in 20 plays on the opening drive of the half for a touchdown and he scrambled into the end zone for two points and a 14-7 lead with 5: 17 left in the third quarter.
The drive ate up 9: 43 and kept Maryland freshman quarterback Randall Jones and Jordan off the field for most of the quarter.
The long drive marked only the second time this season the Maryland defense was picked apart so consistently. West Virginia, in the third game of the season, was the only other team to dominate the Terps' defense in a 42-20 loss.
Holt also didn't have one of his top games this season, but he caught eight for 86 yards and established the ACC single-season reception record with 79, breaking the old mark of by Maryland's Geroy Simon in 1994. Holt has 3,199 career receiving yards, leaving him 120 yards short of breaking the ACC all-time mark of 3,318 by Duke's Clarkston Hines.
The Barnette-Holt show prevented Maryland's two gifted senior linebackers, Eric Barton and Kendall Ogle, from ending their careers on a positive note.
Barton led all tacklers in the game yesterday with 15, and Ogle had 14, but both were disappointed by the loss.
Barton said, "I'm very upset. I wanted to go out with a win. I gave these guys all I had all season, and we still didn't win a lot of games, but I think the groundwork is laid for the future."
Barton said Ogle was too crushed to talk to the media.
Jordan answered the Wolfpack's long march with a 21-yard run to the N.C. State 38 and pumped life back into the Terps.
However, a controversial penalty against Maryland's Jones on the next play left the home team facing a second-and-24 at the Maryland 48.
Jones was under a heavy rush and threw the ball out of bounds to avoid a loss, but the officials called intentional grounding, setting off a tirade by Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden and leaving Jones shocked.
"I just threw it out of bounds like I'm supposed to," said Jones. "They said I threw it too far out of bounds."
Vanderlinden said: "I think that was a good move by Randall Jones. That was a huge call. We had a good drive going. It was the turning point of the game."
The turning point because the Terps attempted a 57-yard field goal after the penalty -- and it was blocked and returned for a touchdown and a 21-7 N.C. State lead.
Vanderlinden said he sent Brian Kopka out to attempt the long field goal because he had "been consistently hitting them from 60 in practice with the wind at his back [14 miles per hour]."
However, long snapper Scott Rudolph got off a high snap to holder Russ Edwards, and Kopka hesitated before kicking the ball.
N.C. State's Bobbie Cotten blocked the kick, and it was caught )) in the air by Lloyd Harrison, who weaved in and out of Maryland would-be tacklers 57 yards for the touchdown.
Vanderlinden said, "If I had it to do over, I would have punted."
Kopka's longest field goal of his career is 46 yards.
It was the second tough decision of the day that went against Vanderlinden. He decided to start Ken Mastrole at quarterback over Jones, and Mastrole threw an interception on the first play of the day for the Terps.
N.C. State took advantage of the interception for a 27-yard field goal by Daniel Deskevich for a 3-0 lead.
Vanderlinden said, "Randall deserved to start off his performance last week but he has played better coming off the bench. So I decided to use that past performance as the reason for starting Kenny."
5+N.C. State ... 3 ... 3 ... 15 ... 14 -- 35
Maryland ..... 0 ... 7 .... 7 .... 7 -- 21
Pub Date: 11/22/98