RALEIGH, N.C., SEPT. 26 -- Plain and simple, the University of Maryland's football team got whipped.
North Carolina State, which came into tonight's game 0-3, controlled the line of scrimmage both ways and easily rolled over Maryland, 42-14, in front of 44,300 at Carter-Finley Stadium.
"We got a real good, old-fashioned butt kicking," Maryland Coach Joe Krivak said. "It was of the worst experiences I've ever had in my coaching career."
After a season-opening loss to Syracuse, the Terrapins had progressed in their last two games. "It didn't happen this week," said guard Richard Nelson.
"I think we took a step backward," said tackle John Sorna.
The Terrapins are now 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and will have two weeks to try to figure out what happened before they play nationally-ranked Miami in the Orange Bowl. By the way, the Hurricanes routed Arkansas, 51-7, today in Little Rock.
"It will be a character-check to see if we can come back," said Maryland quarterback Dan Henning.
For North Carolina State, which last year ended Maryland's 19-game ACC winning streak, the victory was something of a relief.
"I thought they played with a lot of emotion tonight," Coach Dick Sheridan said of his crew. "We hadn't really let it out in our previous game. We had been tight."
Each team's first possession told a good part of the story of this game.
North Carolina State, with redshirt freshman Preston Poag making an outstanding debut as a starting quarterback, took the opening kickoff and moved 75 yards to score. The Wolfpack mixed runs and passes and threw in some razzmatazz. Split end Danny Peebles took a reverse option pitch that caught most of the Maryland defense going the other way. Cornerback Mike Hollis did stay home but he was buried under a block and Peebles vaulted over the pursuing tacklers near the goal line. In very crisp fashion, North Carolina State led, 7-0, with 10:53 left in the first quarter.
Maryland started at its 27-yard line. Bren Lowery carried for four yards but that was nullified by a holding penalty. Henning was then sacked for a loss of seven. Lowery gained nine yards, but it too was nullified by a motion penalty. That left Maryland with second and 26 from its 9.
Lowery then gained eight and this time it counted. But after an incomplete pass, it was fourth down and the Terrapins were still only at their 17 -- 10 yards in the wrong direction from where they started.
"It's hard to say what happened," Nelson said. "The first couple plays we had those penalties and we seemed to be playing catch-up after that."
The Wolfpack scored touchdowns on its next three possessions. And they did it the old-fashioned way: they earned it. Only the fourth touchdown came about because of a Terrapins turnover. The rest came from stopping Maryland cold and then pushing the ball up the field.
North Carolina State outrushed Maryland, 240 to 19, in the first half, which ended with the Wolfpack ahead by 35-7. For the game, the Wolfpack had 376 yards on the ground to 80 for Maryland.
"Unbelievable," said Maryland offensive line coach John Zernhelt.
Maryland's defense was without captain and nose guard Bob Arnold, who strained ligaments in his knee. It seemed strange that his replacement, Mike Kiselak, would get the Terrapins' only interception. They then lost linebackers Kevin Walker in the first series and Richie Petitbon later in the first half. Both sprained ankles and will be X-rayed Sunday.
"That's no excuse," Krivak said. "It didn't make that much of a difference when we lost Petitbon and Walker, because when they were in there they were knocking us back four or five yards a crack."
North Carolina State had balance between run and pass, and balance in who did each. Poag, who was 15 of 21 for 116 yards, one touchdown and one interception, completed passes to 10 receivers. No one gained more than Chris Williams' 86 yards, but six players had more than 30.
"When you rush for that kind of yardage, you have to look at the offensive line first," said Sheridan. "But both of our lines did a much better job."
Mal Crite's 42-yard run up the middle set up Bobby Crumpler's three-yard run that gave North Carolina State a 14-0 edge. After the Terrapins got off three plays, the Wolfpack moved 71 yards, with Peebles catching an eight-yard touchdown pass from Poag for a 21-0 lead. North Carolina State got the ball right back when Keith Bullock fumbled a high, short kickoff. Three plays later, Crumpler (71 yards on 12 carries) scored from four yards. That made it 28-0 and there were still 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
"It was like an avalanche," Sorna said.
Lowery's four-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 28-7 with 8:07 left in the half. Any emotional lift generated by that was negated when Williams ran the ensuing kickoff back 63 yards. Kicker Dan Plocki -- probably irritated at having to chase people -- turned on what speed he has and tackled Williams. It only delayed what seemed like the inevitable. Eight plays later Poag sneaked over from a yard out for 35-7 halftime lead.
Though Henning passed to Lowery for a two-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter, the last 30 minutes of this game were meaningless. It was at the start that this one was decided and the Terrapins were not ready.
"We came back and played a little tougher in the second half," said Krivak. "But sometimes kids don't realize that, when you step on the field at this level of competition, you had better be ready to play. If you're not, you'd better hold onto your shoes, because somebody's going to knock your boots off. And that's what happened to us tonight."
Maryland 0 7 7 0 14 N. Carolina St. 28 7 0 7 42
N -- Peebles 27 run (Carter kick)
N -- Crumpler 3 run (Carter kick)
N -- Peebles 8 pass from Poag (Carter kick)
N -- Crumpler 4 run (Carter kick)
M -- Lowery 4 run (Plocki kick)
N -- Poag 1 run (Carter kick)
M -- Lowery 2 pass from Henning (Plocki kick)
N -- Williams 1 run (Carter kick)
A -- 44,300 Maryland N.C. State First downs 16 25 Rushes-yards 28-80 61-376 Passing yards 215 116 Return yards 5 23 Passing 20-44-2 15-21-1 Punts-average 7-40 3-42 Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-1 Penalties-yards 9-73 5-40 Time
RUSHING -- Maryland: Lowery 15-54. N. Carolina St.: Williams 11-85, Crite 10-78, Crumpler 12-71.
PASSING -- Maryland: Henning 20-44-2, 215 yards. N. Carolina St.: Poag 15-21-1, 116.
RECEIVING -- Maryland: Spinelli 4-44, Lowry 4-18. N. Carolina St.: Peebles 3-32.