RALEIGH, N.C. — On his first possession Saturday against North Carolina State, C.J. Brown received zero carries and Maryland kicked a field goal. This season, the team’s success has been inextricably linked to its quarterback, and as Brown goes so do the Terrapins. “The numbers that he’s put up … I feel like his play has been big throughout all the games we had this year,” wide receiver Nigel King said.
On the second drive, on second down, Brown lofted a deep jump ball down the right sideline toward King, a Raleigh native playing in his home town. King had two inches on his defender, and twisted his body to catch the football. He landed on his feet and scampered into the end zone, a 53-yard touchdown that put the Terps up 10-7.
The next several possessions were a blur, dominated almost exclusively by Brown. He had topped 100 rushing yards and scored three more touchdowns by intermission, and was the primarily reason Maryland rolled to a 41-21 win over North Carolina State here on Saturday afternoon.
For whatever reason, the Wolfpack keyed on running backs Albert Reid and Brandon Ross, focusing on halting the option pitch rather than the keeper. Brown responded with seven rushes of at least six yards, and scored both from distance – a 49-yard burst that made it 17-3 – and on the goal line, twice plunging into the end zone from within the 5-yard line.
“Just executing the game plan,” Coach Randy Edsall said. “That’s all. With what we do, he reads it, does the things that the defense gives him, and executes. For whatever reason, it seemed like they wanted to take away the running back and gave him the opportunities, and he took advantage of them.”
Brown, who finished 138 yards rushing, now holds five of the program’s 10 best rushing performances by a quarterback, three of which have come this season.
>> This week, inclement weather forced the Terps to seek help for practice locations, and they found it through both local NFL teams. On Tuesday, the Terps drove to Ashburn and practiced at the Washington Redskins’ indoor facility, then did the same in Owings Mills, Md., at the indoor home of the Baltimore Ravens.
“It was cold and rainy last week, so it was nice to be indoors, not catch a cold, have a solid practice in the pro, indoor stadium,” Matt Robinson said. “It wasn’t really sloppy. We were able to get some good work in, didn’t have to wear long sleeves, anything like that.”
During his opening statement, Edsall thanked the two programs and said, “I’ll tell you what, that was key to the preparation we had this week.”
>> King, who attended Oak Ridge Military Academy for his senior season after transferring from Wakefield High School, said he knew several Wolfpack players from home. His touchdown catch came over cornerback Jack Tocho, a freshman cornerback from Charlotte.
“I honestly don’t remember. I was in the moment when it happened,” King said. “It was a good feeling to come home and do that. I was playing against all my friends I played in high school.”
>> If Maryland indeed returns to the Military Bowl, the site of its last postseason appearance in 2010, just three players who appeared in that victory over East Carolina are still around: linebacker Matt Robinson, linebacker Bradley Johnson and offensive lineman Nick Klemm. Brown was also on the roster, as were tight end Dave Stinebaugh, offensive lineman De’Onte Arnett, center Sal Conaboy, linebacker L.A. Goree, offensive lineman G.T. Harraka, cornerback Jeremiah Johnson, cornerback Dexter McDougle, defensive lineman Andre Monroe, defensive lineman Clarence Murphy, long snapper Greg Parcher, kicker Michael Tart, defensive lineman Alex Walker, offensive lineman Jake Wheeler and linebacker Marcus Whitfield, but none of them played.
>> Will Likely averaged 37 yards on two kickoff returns, including a 51-yarder. He finishes his freshman regular season averaging 27.04 yards per kickoff return, which ranks fourth all-time.
Stefon Diggs set Maryland’s freshman record last season with a 28.52 average. John Schultz holds the all-time mark at 31.00 yards per return in 1975.
>> Maryland exits the ACC having tied its series with North Carolina State at 33-33-4.