7:45 PM ET, November 25, 2006
Byrd Stadium, COLLEGE PARK, MD
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Wake Forest had just defeated Maryland to advance to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, and it was time to celebrate with a couple of thousand of their most faithful followers.
Running to the far corner of the end zone, the players serenaded the black-and-gold clad fans with the school fight song -- a fitting conclusion to yet another successful foray on the road for the surprising Demon Deacons.
Kenneth Moore ran for 165 yards and a touchdown, Kevin Harris scored twice, and freshman quarterback Riley Skinner went 10-for-13 for 125 yards and a touchdown to lead No. 20 Wake Forest to a 38-24 victory Saturday night.
Wake Forest (10-2, 6-2) will be seeking its first ACC title since 1970 next Saturday against Georgia Tech in Jacksonville. The teams did not face each other this season.
"It feels really good," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. "These guys have even exceeded my expectations. They've done some cool stuff."
The final game of a crazy ACC regular season matched two of the league's biggest overachievers met for the Atlantic Division title. Wake Forest handed Maryland (8-4, 5-3) its first home loss behind an offense that was virtually unstoppable.
"They ran up and down the field on us. I'm really disappointed how we played defensively," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We couldn't stop them at all."
Wake Forest became the first team in ACC history to go 6-0 on the road.
"We had a lot of tough road trips, but I thought this would be the toughest of all," Grobe said. "Maryland had a lot to play for. To come in here and get the win, I couldn't be more proud of our players."
It was Wake Forest's first victory in eight tries against Maryland since 1998. The Demon Deacons were 13-40-1 against the Terrapins and had scored as many as 38 points against them only twice before.
"It doesn't get any bigger, going to the championship game," said Skinner, who happily skipped to the locker room after a post-game interview. "It's what our goal has been the whole entire year. Obviously, a lot of people didn't think we could do it."
Wake Forest went up 28-14 with an 80-yard touchdown drive to start the second half. Moore had runs of 15 and 23 yards and Skinner went 3-for-3 for 35 yards before Harris scored from the 3.
Maryland's Keon Lattimore then accounted for all the yardage in a 49-yard drive that produced a 26-yard field goal by Dan Ennis, but the Deacons answered with a field goal to restore the 14-point cushion.
Maryland closed to 31-24 when Sam Hollenbach threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Williams with 12:54 left. But Wake Forest responded with a 10-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Rich Belton on a gutsy fourth-down call by Grobe.
All that was left after that was the celebration.
"The support has been great, to see everybody with us, traveling and pulling through with us," safety Josh Gattis said.
Lattimore rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown, only the third player to reach the 100-yard mark against the Demon Deacons this season. Hollenbach was 14-for-26 for 125 yards, but threw three interceptions.
"You can't turn the ball over three times and expect to win," Friedgen said.
The Terrapins will still be going to a bowl game, no small accomplishment for a team coming off two straight 5-6 seasons. But Maryland had its eye on the Orange Bowl, and that's not going to happen.
"It's disheartening," Friedgen said. "We had a chance to do something special tonight and didn't get it done."
Wake Forest yielded 215 yards in the first half, but benefited from Hollenbach's turnovers in taking a 21-14 lead.
Both teams scored touchdowns on their opening drives. Lattimore ran in from the 12 before Harris concluded a 13-play possession with a 2-yard run.
Next came an exchange of turnovers. After Riley Swanson took an interception 30 yards to the Maryland 16, an apparent touchdown run by Moore was erased by a holding call. On the next play, Skinner threw his first interception on the road.
Terps cornerback Isaiah Gardner unwisely chose to run it out of the end zone and was tackled at the 4. A short punt gave Wake Forest the ball at the Maryland 38, and a 19-yard touchdown run by Moore made it 14-7 early in the second quarter.
The Terrapins' next two drives ended in interceptions by Alphonso Smith. After the latter turnover, Skinner threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Willie Idlette for a 21-7 lead.
Maryland then got a 1-yard touchdown run by Lance Ball.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Wake Forest was able to answer a Maryland score with a 10-play, 76 yard touchdown to put the Deacs up 14 points.
Gameball goes to... Kenneth Moore. The Wake Forest running back ran for 165 yards and a score on 27 carries.
Stat of the game... One. Wake Forest picked up its first win vs. Maryland in eight tries since '98 and will going for its first ACC title since 1970.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-11||4-9|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-1|
|TD||10:16||KEON LATTIMORE 12 YD RUN (DAN ENNIS KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||6:11||KEVIN HARRIS 2 YD RUN (SAM SWANK KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||14:20||KENNETH MOORE 19 YD RUN (SAM SWANK KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||7:42||WILLIE IDLETTE 49 YD PASS FROM RILEY SKINNER (SAM SWANK KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||4:40||LANCE BALL 1 YD RUN (DAN ENNIS KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||10:03||KEVIN HARRIS 3 YD RUN (SAM SWANK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||6:37||DAN ENNIS 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 49 yards.
|FG||0:21||SAM SWANK 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 53 yards.
|TD||12:54||ISAIAH WILLIAMS 5 YD PASS FROM SAM HOLLENBACH (DAN ENNIS KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||7:21||RICHARD BELTON 1 YD RUN (SAM SWANK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 76 yards.