RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Toney Baker had the go-ahead touchdown on a
1-yard leap over the pile, Marcus Hudson returned one of his two
interceptions 28 yards for a clinching score and North Carolina
State beat Maryland 20-14 Saturday to become bowl eligible.
Mario Williams tied his own school record with four sacks for
the Wolfpack (6-5, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who allowed a
total of minus-6 yards in the third quarter. They likely will
return to the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons under
coach Chuck Amato after missing out in 2004.
No such luck for the Terrapins (5-6, 3-5). They are staying home
for the second year in a row, done in by repeated turnovers and
other mistakes down the stretch. A week ago, quarterback Sam
Hollenbach was responsible for three turnovers -- two were turned
into TDs by Boston College -- and he continued to give away the ball
against N.C. State.
With Maryland trailing 10-7 in the fourth quarter, Hollenbach
tried to connect with Danny Melendez, but Williams forced him to
throw early. Hudson stepped in front of Melendez and ripped the
ball out of his hands, then sprinted up the sideline with his first
interception of the season.
That made it 17-7, and on the next possession, Williams sacked
Hollenbach and forced a fumble, with defensive tackle DeMario
Pressley recovering for the Wolfpack. When the Terps held, John
Deraney came on for a 29-yard field goal to increase the margin to
Hollenbach briefly bounced back. He led Maryland on a 75-yard
drive to pull within 20-14, finishing it off with a scoring toss to
tight end Vernon Davis that covered 15 yards. But N.C. State held
on for its fourth win in the final five games when Hudson
intercepted another one of Hollenbach's passes with 34 seconds
Now Hudson and his teammates can only hope for one more game.
The Terrapins completed their schedule losing four of the final
five. They played this one without starting wide receiver Derrick
Fenner, who didn't make the trip for unspecified reasons. Yet even
with him, they would have had a hard time solving the Wolfpack's
defense, which gave up 30 yards rushing and finished with seven
Hollenbach was 20-for-35 for 235 yards.
Maryland completely controlled the first half, yet led only 7-3
after Dan Ennis hooked two field goals wide left. And the only
points for N.C. State -- a 38-yard field goal by Deraney -- came
after Jo Jo Walker bobbled a punt into the hands of Hudson.
The Wolfpack needed to drive 13 yards to take a 3-0 lead, and it
was a good thing, too. They struggled offensively in the opening
half and finished with only 39 yards on 21 plays.