Blog from Wayne Viener
I had to pick up the paper this morning to check again, yep – the Terps lost yesterday to NCSU at the buzzer. We missed a fg attempt, 32 yards away and the ball was dead center in the middle of that beautiful FieldTurf. Brad Craddock, the imported Australian kicker hit the left upright of the goal post and the ball bounced away with :02 seconds to go.
The crowd was electric yesterday. It was great, fantastic, vital, alive, wonderful and many other words we can’t print. The Terps were down to their 3rd and 4th quarterbacks. NCSU was coming off a victory over Florida State. We, the Terps, were working on a dream season and looking to be 3-0, undefeated in ACC play.
Our little broadcast team of Wayne, Mason and Jordan watched our improbable heroes (yet to be) start with a 3-0 lead. Then fall behind 10-3 towards the half. At that point, what seemed like disaster struck as our freshmen quarterback threw an interception that looked to be returned 70+ yards for an NC State touchdown. But wait… there was a penalty and it was against NC State.
Oh no, it got worse. Perry Hills the quarterback was crumpled on the turf with what looked like a bad knee injury. So no touchdown for NC Sate and no quarterback for Maryland. In comes little used (3 plays in his career) Devin Burns. He reminds one in stature of RGIII. He was sacked on his first play.
In the 2nd half, running what could best be described as a pure college run offense, the Terps ran the option wonderfully. Burns was electric and freshman Wes Brown started running as promised. Brown was a highly recruited back from Good Counsel in Olney, MD. He had his first 100 yard game as a Terp.
The crowd was in love, LOVE with this team. Maryland hangs in and ties the game, well it would have been tied if the extra point was good. We could call this foreshadowing as Craddock missed the extra point after a Wes Brown touchdown run and it is 10-9 NC State. Fourteen seconds later NC State strikes with the deep ball and State has the lead 17-9.
Burns continues to dazzle with his option qb play and Brown continues to run. Finally Maryland got close again 17-15 on a Burns two yard naked bootleg. The Terps go for a 2 point conversion and don’t make it. With 3:33 to go in the 3rd we really have a ballgame.
Again Maryland drives and Craddock makes a 48 yd kick, the Terps have the lead with 13:38 to go in the game 18-17.
And it stays that way through a tense 4th quarter as time and again NC State tries to get close and the the Terps defense turns away the Wolfpack. State goes for it on 4th down twice and the Terps come up big.
In trying to put the game away, there were some iffy offensive plays. Brown fumbled trying to run out the clock. On another series, the Terps had the ball near midfield with a little over 2 minutes to go and punted on 4th and 1.
However it ended up, NC State is driving with the clock running down. On a long pass to the left sideline, the State receiver looked out of bounds on the catch to the home crowd. But it was ruled good and State lined up for a 43 yard kick and it was good with 32 seconds left.
After all the drama, all the cheering and hope that our Terps had broken through with a win over a veteran NC State squad, it seemed over. Down 20-18, the Terps go to the bench for true freshman Caleb Rowe. He had never taken a snap, but here he was taking over with half a minute to go at his own 20 yard line and needing to score.
The change to Rowe was planned as he can throw the football better than Burns. He started the attack with a deep out to receiver Kevin Dorsey and after an interminable review, was called a catch. A few plays later Rowe ran for a first down and the Terps crossed midfield.
Then a pass to Nigel King down the right sideline got the Terps to field goal range. All the hopes of a miracle season were playing out. Everything that went wrong last year was going right. A kid came off the bench, never played one down of college football and the Terps were going to win!
Craddock missed the kick. It was as though Mighty Casey struck out. No joy in Mudville.
It was a great time at Byrd, it was (and still is as of this writing) a horrible, not so good and very bad way to lose a game.