COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In a few days, perhaps No. 21 North Carolina State will feel good about winning eight games and coming so close to playing for the ACC title.
Saturday night, however, the Wolfpack had absolutely no sense of accomplishment.
Danny O'Brien threw for a career-high 417 yards and four touchdowns, all to Torrey Smith, and Maryland denied North Carolina State a spot in the ACC title game — handing that spot to Florida State — by beating the Wolfpack 38-31. The Seminoles face Virginia Tech in Saturday's championship game.
Needing a win to win the Atlantic Division in a tiebreaker over FSU, the Wolfpack scored touchdowns on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. But the Terrapins rallied behind O'Brien.
"They're really crushed," Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said of his players. "I don't think they fully comprehend what a great year they've really had, when you look at eight wins, the history of our school and how many times it's been done."
That was of no consolation after such a devastating defeat.
"We had a chance to contend for the ACC title. We lost it," linebacker Nate Irving said.
Danny O'Brien, a redshirt freshman, went 33-of-47 in the first 400-yard game by a Terp since Scott Milanovich in 1993.
"The poise and the accuracy he had tonight, that's one of the better performances I've seen as a quarterback. Very impressive," coach Ralph Friedgen said.
Smith had a career-high 14 catches for 224 yards and set Maryland's single-game record for touchdown receptions.
NO. 13 VA. TECH 37, VIRGINIA 7: Ryan Williams and David Wilson scored two touchdowns apiece as the host Hokies won their 10th consecutive game and seventh in a row over Virginia.
"I think there were a couple of big stops there that got the game going in a different direction," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. His team became the only Division I-A program to have won at least 10 in each of the past seven seasons.
BOSTON COLL. 16, SYRACUSE 7: Andre Williams ran with his chance. Starting in place of injured star Montel Harris, the freshman rushed for 185 yards on a school-record 42 carries and scored a touchdown for the visiting Eagles, who won their fifth straight. Syracuse closed the regular season with consecutive home losses. "We weren't able to send our 21 seniors out the right way," Orange coach Doug Marrone said.
NORTH CAROLINA 24, DUKE 19: T.J. Yates threw for 264 yards and a score for the visiting Tar Heels, who beat the Blue Devils for the 20th time in 21 years. Duke got the ball back for a final drive with 43 seconds left at its 24 but didn't get near the end zone.