RALEIGH (AP) — Maryland wants a nice parting gift on its way out of the ACC.
The Terrapins play their final game in the conference they helped found today when they face slumping North Carolina State (3-8, 0-7) and try to move up the league’s bowl pecking order.
Maryland (6-5, 2-5) is already bowl eligible for the first time since 2010. A seventh win should help the Terps claim a more attractive bowl game.
Maryland — charter members of the conference when it was formed in 1953 — is leaving for the Big Ten next season and the ACC is bringing in Louisville as a replacement.
But the Terps aren’t feeling terribly sentimental about it — at least, not yet.
“Anytime it’s the last meeting and you’re a part of it, you’re part of history,” quarterback C.J. Brown said. “It’s something special you can look back on and talk about when time permits. We want to go out on a winning note and show our Maryland pride.”
N.C. State, meanwhile, just wants to end an awful first season under Dave Doeren with something to feel good about.
The Wolfpack have lost seven straight — their longest since a nine-game slide that included the final seven games of 2006 and the first two of ‘07.
They haven’t lost eight in a row in the same season since the 1959 team dropped its final nine while becoming the last N.C. State team to go 0-for-the-ACC.
All of which means the only thing on the line for the Wolfpack is pride.
“As hard as it’s been, we’ve grown very close as a team, and these guys want to see our seniors finish the season the way they want to finish it,” Doeren said. “Playing at home, playing an ACC team at home and playing in our last game with these guys is enough of a reason for these guys to want to play well.”
Five things to know about Maryland’s final ACC game:
A WILD SERIES: The Terrapins’ exit brings to an end one of the league’s most unpredictable series. The Wolfpack lead it 33-32-4, and 11 of the last 13 matchups have been decided by 10 or fewer points. Among the recent highlights: Maryland’s winning field goal hitting the upright last year, and N.C. State reeled off 42 straight points in the final 25 minutes to turn a 41-14 deficit into a 56-41 win in 2011.
UP-AND-DOWN TERPS: Maryland’s season has gone to extremes — from starting 4-0 and cracking the national rankings, to losing both key receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs and several games, to bouncing back with a win at Virginia Tech. “The thing that’s probably frustrating is the fact is the consistency part,” coach Randy Edsall said. “You see us do a lot of great things throughout the game and then there’s this ‘X’ number of plays where you kind of sit there and you scratch your head and say, ‘Where did that come from?’”
THE MITCHELL REPORT: At least QB Brandon Mitchell enters his final game at N.C. State on something of a positive note. Doeren says Mitchell — who missed nearly half the season after breaking his foot in Game 1 — is “the healthiest he’s been since the opening game of the year.” He had career highs in four stat categories, throwing for four touchdowns while going 28 of 44 for 312 yards last week in a 42-28 loss to East Carolina. “What I like was, he didn’t hurt us,” Doeren said.
BIG BROWN: Dual-threat Maryland QB C.J. Brown gives the Wolfpack’s defense plenty to worry about. Brown has six 100-yard rushing performances — the most among active ACC quarterbacks — and in six games this season he has both run and thrown for touchdowns, including last week’s loss to Boston College. That could be a problem for an N.C. State defense that has been gashed by both pass-first and rushing quarterbacks in recent weeks, and has given up at least 400 total yards in five of its last six games.
FOR KICKS: At least both teams can brag about their kickers. N.C. State’s Niklas Sade is 19 of 23 in field-goal attempts while Maryland’s Brad Craddock’s 17 field goals are the most by a Terp kicker since 2005.