Taulia Tagovailoa connected with Octavian Smith Jr. for the only touchdown of the game to give Maryland a 16-12 victory over No. 23 NC State in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Friday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.
Tagovailoa completed 19 of 37 throws for 221 yards with two interceptions, reaching 665 career completions to set a program record. Roman Hemby ran for 65 yards for Maryland (8-5), which had its first eight-win season since 2010 and earned bowl wins in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-03.
It marked the second straight winning season for the Terrapins’ Mike Locksley, who agreed to be dumped in a celebratory “mayo bath” as the winning coach.
NC State’s Christopher Dunn, the 2022 Lou Groza Award winner as the top placekicker in college football, went 4-for-4 on field goals to account for all of his team’s points. The Maryland defense held the Wolfpack to just 27 rushing yards on 18 attempts.
NC State (8-5) took over with 2:34 to play and no timeouts, but Jakorian Bennett intercepted Ben Finley on the first play of the drive to put the game on ice. Finley went 22-for-48 for 269 yards and two picks.
The Terrapins reached the NC State 1-yard line on their opening possession, but they turned it over on downs.
Finley was intercepted by Fa’Najae Gotay on the Wolfpack’s first possession for great field position, but Tagovailoa floated a pass to the end zone that Cyrus Fagan intercepted.
NC State scored first on the ensuing drive via Dunn’s 38-yarder. Maryland responded with Smith’s 41-yard kickoff return after initially muffing the ball, and Chad Ryland tied the game 3-3 with a 42-yard field goal.
Tagovailoa hit a backpedaling Smith on third and long for a 19-yard touchdown, making it 10-3 Maryland with 8:07 before halftime.
The Wolfpack reached first and goal at Maryland’s 2-yard line but were kept out of the end zone. Dunn chipped in a 19-yarder and added a 38-yard field goal before the half to make it 10-9.
Ryland’s 33-yard kick on the Terrapins’ first possession of the second half pushed it to 13-9. The teams traded punts until Rakeim Ashford intercepted Tagovailoa in Maryland territory, leading to Dunn’s 26-yard field goal.
But Maryland went 48 yards in the next 3:47 and Ryland made it a four-point game again by drilling a 45-yarder.
–Field Level Media