"We didn't have as many guys rotating up front (on defense) and they were on the field quite a bit," said Maryland coach Randy Edsall. "I thought they played hard and did everything that they possibly could, but they might have got a little bit worn down."
The defense also got let down by the offense in the first half. Maryland's first two drives ended on Wake's side of the field, the first stymied by a motion penalty when the Terrapins were going for it on a fourth-and-2, and the second ending in a missed field goal.
To their credit, though, the Terrapins wouldn't go away in this one until their own miscues mounted to fatal levels in the 31-10 loss. Maryland was 4-of-16 on third downs offensively, failed to score on four trips into the red zone, had a touchdown called back, missed two field goals and had the now-usual allotment of missed tackles, dropped passes and mental mistakes.
"We had a touchdown called back, and then we missed the field goal which would have made it (17-13)," lamented Edsall. "I think that took a little steam out of us even though we didn't want it to. You just want to battle back even more."
After nine victories and a bowl berth last season, Maryland has little but pride on the line these days as a disastrous 2011 season winds down. The Terrapins' final game is 12:30 p.m. Saturday at NC State, a team looking for a sixth win and bowl eligibility as the banged-up, beat-down Terps come to town.
Many members of this team remember the dismal 2009 season when Maryland slogged to a 2-10 record, the worst campaign in school history. Now the Terrapins, after so much optimism to start the year, find themselves on the precipice of the same finish.
"I've been a part of that and 2-10 is not a number we want again," said senior cornerback Trenton Hughes last week.
Of course, those Terps also remember that the following season the team bounced back to win nine games and go bowling.
"Everybody wants to go out and have a good taste in their mouth for next year and send the seniors off on a good note," said junior defensive tackle Joe Vellano. "Go out and play as hard as you can. There's no reason not to."
-- Wake Forest rang up 514 total yards against Maryland, becoming the fourth team to register more than 500 yards against the Terps in the last six weeks. In 10 years under previous coach Ralph Friedgen, Maryland allowed that much yardage just four times total. Of course, Friedgen never started four and five freshmen on defense as this year's team has on several occasions. During the seven-game losing streak, opponents have averaged 485 yards versus Maryland's young defense.
-- A factor that kept the Terrapins in the game Saturday was the team's improved ability to run the football. Maryland rushed 34 times for 229 yards, a season-high average of 6.7 yards per carry, aided by C.J. Brown's skills in the read-option game. The contest marked Maryland's third time over 200 yards rushing this season, joining efforts against Georgia Tech and Clemson.
-- A factor that kept the Terrapins from further challenging, though, was Maryland's continuing inability to move the chains on third down. The Terrapins were just 4-of-16 in those situations, and continue to rank at the bottom of the ACC, converting at just a 35.9 percent clip on third downs.
-- Sophomore C.J. Brown, moved in as the full-time starter at QB with Danny O'Brien out with a broken arm, passed for a career-high 186 yards, completing 20-of-42 passes, both figures also career highs. Brown had a 31-yard touchdown pass to Justus Pickett at the end of the first half to tie the game, and had a sure touchdown dropped in the end zone late by TE Matt Furstenburg. Brown also rushed for 110 yards, his third 100-plus rushing performance this season.
-- Nine different receivers made catches against Wake Forest, matching a season-high for Maryland. Kevin Dorsey's eight grabs for 77 yards led the way but Dorsey had a rough day with a key drop, a second-half fumble and a costly motion penalty that called back Davin Meggett's scoring run.
-- Wake Forest became the third team to reach six-win bowl eligibility against Maryland, joining Georgia Tech and Virginia. NC State, with five wins against FBS foes, looms on the schedule next week.
-- Maryland still leads the all-time series with Wake Forest by a wide 42-17-1 mark, including a 21-9-1 edge in games played in Winston-Salem. The Terrapins have won nine of the last 13 meetings but have dropped three in a row on the road to the Deacs.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DT Andre Monroe -- He had a season-high 2.5 sacks at Wake Forest and the high-motor freshman leads the team with 5.0 sacks this year. His effort Saturday was the most for a Maryland defender since Shawn Merriman had three sacks against North Carolina in 2002.
Monroe benefits from the double teams Joe Vellano gets in the middle but credit to the youngster for making plays, something in short supply on the Terrapin defense.
LOOKING GOOD: RB Davin Meggett had 91 yards at Wake, his best total in the last three games. Meggett's season-long 47-yard run in the first quarter sparked the Terrapins though they couldn't cash in. Meggett now has 2,338 yards rushing in his career, eighth all-time in Maryland history. Da'Rel Scott's seventh place mark of 2,401 yards is in his sights.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Maryland pass defense, often overshadowed this year by how porous the Terrapins have been against the run (ranked 114th nationally), has given up two or more TD passes in each of the last seven games. Including three to the Demon Deacons. In fact, during the seven-game losing streak, Maryland has allowed 21 scoring aerials.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "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 puts you up, it makes it very, very difficult to win. 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. We had too many missed opportunities in order to win the ball game." -- Maryland coach Randy Edsall after the Terps' loss to Wake Forest.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
-- QB C.J. Brown, making his first start in a month, rushed for 110 yards on 13 carries, upping his season total to 497 yards on the ground, a new Maryland mark, passing Mark Mange's 1976 record of 448.
-- LB Lorne Goree, back in the starting lineup Saturday, had 10 tackles and is averaging 7.1 per game in his seven starts.
-- LB Demetrius Hartsfield had a team-high 14 tackles at Wake, his sixth time in double-digit stops in his eight games this season.
-- RB Justus Pickett, back as Davin Meggett's top reserve, had 30 yards on eight rushes but also caught his first touchdown pass on a 31-yard reception from C.J. Brown late in the second quarter.
-- RB D.J. Adams, who led the team with 55 yards on the ground against Notre Dame, had two carries for -2 yards against Wake.
-- PR Tony Logan, who ranked third in the nation with an 18.1 punt return average and had two touchdown returns last year, is averaging 6.6 yards this season. His long is 24 yards and he has just 14 total returns, team's kicking away from him and Maryland's defense unable to force many punts.
-- DE Marcus Whitfield, who has taken over for suspended David Mackall at one defensive end slot, had just one tackle against the Deacons but it was a big play for a seven-yard loss on a reverse.
-- K/P Nick Ferrara had a rough day in Winston-Salem, missing two field goals (32, 36) before hitting a 42-yarder. He also had a couple of shanks punting, finishing with a 35.3-yard average on six punts.
-- LB Alex Twine missed the Wake Forest game with an undisclosed injury.
-- LB Lorne Goree moved into the middle and Demetrius Hartsfield shifted over to start on the weakside in LB Alex Twine's absence, a change of an announced plan to leave Hartsfield in the middle and take a look at freshman Cole Farrand on the weakside. Farrand played sparingly.
-- C Sal Conaboy made his first career start with Bennett Fulper out with an undisclosed injury. Conaboy became the eighth different freshman to start for Maryland this year.
-- OT R.J. Dill made his team-high 29th consecutive start.