Kenneth Moore gained 165 yards on 27 carries and scored one touchdown, as the 20th-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons clinched the ACC’s Atlantic Division and remained perfect on the road with a 38-24 victory over the Maryland Terrapins.
Kevin Harris rushed 13 times for 42 yards and two touchdowns, while Rich Belton also ran for a score for Wake Forest, which advanced to play in the ACC title game against Coastal Division champion Georgia Tech next Saturday in Jacksonville.
Riley Skinner completed 10-of-13 passes for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception for the Demon Deacons. Willie Idlette caught four balls for 64 yards and one score.
For the Terps, Keon Lattimore rushed 23 times for 119 yards and a touchdown. Isaiah Williams recorded three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown, and Darrius Heyward-Bey pulled in three balls for 37 yards for Maryland.
Sam Hollenbach struggled in the loss, throwing for 182 yards on 14-of-26 passing and one touchdown, but was picked off three times. Wake Forest upped its record to 6-0 on the road this season, while dealing Maryland its first home loss.
“We’re known for running the football,” Harris said. “I know people have been ragging on us the past couple of weeks saying we can’t run the football. But, we as running backs know that if the offensive line makes an opening for us, we’re going to take it.”
Maryland took possession first in the game and took a 7-0 lead on Lattimore’s 12-yard power run. The Terps picked up four first downs and Hollenbach was 3-of-3 for 41 yards on the nine-play, 70-yard drive. Wake came right back on the next possession, marching 59 yards on 13 plays, culminating with Harris’ lunge up the middle from two-yards out to tie the score at seven. Skinner led the way, completing three passes and rushing twice for 19 yards.
After each team traded interceptions, the Demon Deacons bridged the first and second quarters with a quick six-play drive that put them on top, 14-7. Wake Forest got excellent field position when Maryland’s Adam Podlesh shanked a punt, landing at the Terrapins’ 36. Moore then broke through the line for a 19-yard scamper on the first play of the second.
Maryland turned around and moved the ball 55 yards from their own 30, but Hollenbach was picked off again, missing his target in the end zone, finding Wake’s Alphonso Smith instead. The Terrapins defense held on that Wake Forest chance, but Hollenbach was picked off for a third time, again by Smith. Wasting no time, Skinner hooked up with Idlette for a 49-yard strike on the next play, to stretch the lead to 21-7 with 7:18 left in the half.
Snapped to attention, Maryland responded to make it a one-touchdown game at 21-14, going 65 yards in eight plays with 4:40 left in the half. Hollenbach hit Heyward-Bey twice and Jason Goode once to sustain the drive, before Lance Ball plunged in from the one. Both teams continued their hectic pace in the second half.
Wake Forest restored their 14-point margin on their first possession of the third quarter, as Harris went up the middle for a three-yard score. Skinner completed 3-of-3 passes for 35 yards, and Moore cut through the Terps defense for 39 yards on two carries.
Maryland responded with a march of their own, ending with a Dan Ennis 26-yard field goal, cutting the deficit to eleven, 28-17. Lattimore was featured in seven running plays, but the drive stalled at the Wake Forest nine, as Hollenbach’s pass to Joey Haynos fell incomplete.
Not to be outdone, Wake Forest responded on their next time with the ball. It was the Moore and Marion show on the ground, as they combined for 39 yards during an 11-play, 54-yard drive in 5:22 that ended when Sam Swank hit a 36- yarder from the right hash mark, giving the Demon Deacons a 31-17 lead with 21 ticks remaining in the third.
Once again, Maryland took control on the following series, marching 80 yards in just seven plays, getting back within a touchdown at 31-24 as Hollenbach rolled to the left and found Williams in the corner of the end zone with 2:06 gone in the fourth.
Wake Forest continued to work the ground game to take valuable minutes off the clock, wearing down the Maryland defense on a ten-play, 76-yard drive that burned 5:24. Belton went off tackle to the right to score on 4th-and-goal from the one, and it was a 38-24 lead with 7:21 remaining. Wake Forest held on Maryland’s ensuing possession, and then kept the ball on the ground to kill off the remaining time.
“You have to give Wake Forest a lot of credit,” Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said. “They played very well. I thought this would be a special game for us, and we had a heck of a shot, but I don’t think that we got them ready to play the way they are capable of playing.”
Wake Forest’s win broke a seven-game losing streak against the Terrapins. Skinner rushed for 30 yards on four attempts to aid his cause, while Hollenbach could only muster two yards on three carries. Wake Forest has not won an ACC title since 1970.