When the rainy Saturday had ended, it was the memory of Maryland's time-consuming final drive that stuck with coach Ralph Friedgen.
With the game tied at 24 against North Carolina State, the Terps took the ball on their 8 with 4:50 left in the game.
Maryland didn't surrender the ball until there were six seconds left. By then, the Terps had taken a 27-24 lead on a 20-yard field goal by Obi Egekeze after driving 89 yards in 15 plays.
"I thought the last drive we really made some big-time plays," Friedgen said in his weekly media conference call yesterday. "Maybe it's as good a fight as I've seen in our kids all year long."
With the victory, Maryland learned yesterday that it had cracked the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2006. The Terps came in at No. 25. "I think the rankings are a nice thing, but they really don't mean anything until the end of the year," Friedgen said.
Maryland owes the ranking and the victory to the final drive, in which it battled a steady downpour.
The drive wasn't elegant, but it was effective. It began with six straight rushes - an important statement for the Terps to make about their running game. Friedgen had worried in recent weeks that the running game was inconsistent, partly the result of ineffective blocking.
The coach said the offensive line "played the best it has so far" in the game.
But all the running might have come at a cost. Da'Rel Scott, who had 23 carries for 163 yards, appeared to aggravate a shoulder injury suffered in Week 3 against California.
"He's pretty sore. I'm concerned that he may be back to where he was," Friedgen said.
Freshman Davin Meggett filled in for Scott in the fourth quarter and caught a third-down screen pass that went for 31 yards.
"I have a lot of confidence in Meggett," Friedgen said. "I thought it was Da'Rel's best game, but I also thought Meggett played very well, not only from a run standpoint but from a pass-protection standpoint."
Meggett's highlight was the screen pass that took the ball to the Wolfpack 4. The play put the Terps in position for Egekeze's game-winning kick.
"I should have scored," Meggett said.
Maryland lost linebacker Dave Philistin, who left the game in the first quarter after making three tackles.
"It could be a rotator cuff. It could be a bruise," Friedgen said. The coach said he'll know more about Philistin's status after a magnetic resonance imaging. Philistin entered the game as Maryland's second-leading tackler, behind Alex Wujciak.
Friedgen is hopeful of getting linebacker Adrian Moten, who has a wrist injury, back for the Virginia Tech game on Nov. 6. Moten has been valuable as an outside linebacker and as a pass rusher. He also has been an asset on special teams with a blocked punt.
With the score tied at 24, defensive tackle Jeremy Navarre sacked quick N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson for a 12-yard loss, taking the Wolfpack out of field-goal range in the fourth quarter. "I know he's faster than me," a relieved Navarre said afterward.
Wilson seemed to stand in the pocket forever before suddenly taking off on a 20-yard fourth-quarter dash. Wilson also had a 27-yard run and was elusive all day.
The Terps (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) play on Nov. 6 at Virginia Tech, which lost, 30-20, to Florida State on Saturday. The Hokies lost quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon with injuries.
MARYLAND @VIRGINIA TECH
Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM