Thanks to a dominating defensive effort, Wolfpack Head Coach Chuck Amato finally picked up his first win against Maryland.
"The defense played their tails off," Amato said following the game. "It's a good Atlantic Coast Conference win, I can tell you that right now."
Reggie Herring's crew limited Maryland to just 91 yards of total offense, the best effort by the Wolfpack all season. Maryland had a mere 24 yards through the air, and just 67 yards on the ground. Perhaps the most amazing defensive stat was that the Wolfpack held the Terrapins to just 44 yards after their initial drive of the game.
That first drive wouldn't have materialized if safety Troy Graham didn't commit a "foolish" personal foul that kept the drive going after the defense forced Maryland to three-and-out. The Terrapins drove down the field before kicker Nick Novak missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
The Wolfpack opened the scoring on a 32-yard field goal by John Deraney, and was solid on offense despite not having starters Jed Paulsen, Chris Colmer, and T.A. McLendon. McLendon and Colmer left the game following the first series and never returned.
The ‘Pack's lone touchdown of the day came in the second quarter on a 1-yard plunge from tailback Reggie Davis. Davis's score was set up by Tramain Hall's nifty reverse, a play that has gained chunks of yardage for the Wolfpack this season.
In the second quarter the Wolfpack's defense was perhaps at its best, holding Maryland to negative eight yards for the quarter. Behind this type of effort, the 'Pack entered the half ahead 10-0 with plenty of momentum.
NC State's offense would put three more points on the board in the third quarter on Deraney's 49-yard field goal, giving the 'Pack a 13-0 lead heading into the fourth period.
With the defense playing great and the offense converting third downs, you would think most NC State fans would be feeling good about a 13-0 lead entering the fourth period. That's not the case because against Maryland anything can happen. Amato entered the game 25-5 when leading at the half, but was 0-4 against the Terrapins.
It looked like the collapse had begun early in the fourth period after Dovonte Edwards muffed a punt that was recovered by Maryland at the Wolfpack's 28-yard line. However, the NC State defense again came up big, limiting Maryland to just a Nick Novak 40-yard field goal on the drive and keeping the Wolfpack ahead 13-3.
From that point on, NC State was able to manage the clock on offense and allow the defense to prevent Maryland from getting anything going when they had the ball.
After defensive end Manny Lawson recorded his sixth sack of the season, Maryland tossed in the towel by punting to NC State on fourth and 18 from their own 20.
Quarterback Jay Davis would take a knee to secure the win, a 13-3 victory for the Wolfpack.
Davis finished the day 13-for-30 for 208 yards, and 7-for-13 for 108 yards on third down. He seemed to convert several third downs to keep the chains (and the clock) moving.
Reggie Davis led the way on the ground for NC State, totaling 45 yards on 14 carries and his second touchdown of the season.
Seven players had receptions for the Wolfpack, and flanker Richard Washington paced them with four catches for 46 yards.
Maryland's rushing duo of Josh Allen and Sammy Maldonado were held in check, finishing with just 81 yards on 27 carries between them.
Where the Terrapins really struggled was through the air, as neither Joel Statham or Jordan Steffy could get comfortable against a fierce Wolfpack pass rush. They completed just 7-of-18 passes for 27 yards on the day, and were sacked five times.
NC State (4-2 3-1 ACC) now must prepare for its toughest test of the season, a home matchup against the Miami Hurricanes (5-0 2-0 ACC).
Maryland (3-3 1-2 ACC) has to get ready for a road game against the Clemson Tigers(1-4 1-3 ACC).