CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Taulia Tagovailoa threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Octavian Smith, Chad Ryland kicked three field goals and Maryland outlasted No. 25 North Carolina State 16-12 to win the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Friday.
Tagovailoa finished 19 of 37 for 221 yards with two interceptions. Roman Hemby ran for 65 yards rushing on 24 carries for Maryland (8-5), which won its second straight bowl game.
Jakorian Bennett, who helped seal the win with a late interception, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. The Terrapins’ defense held N.C. State to 27 yards rushing on 18 carries and kept the Wolfpack out of the end zone.
Ben Finley, one of four different starting quarterbacks for North Carolina State this season, completed 22 of 48 passes for 269 yards with two interceptions and couldn’t find the end zone. All of N.C. State’s points came off the leg of All-American kicker Christopher Dunn, who converted field goals of 38, 19, 38 and 26 yards.
Redshirt freshman Billy Edwards Jr., who had only thrown 45 passes all season for Maryland, got the start at quarterback for Maryland over Tagovailoa. But he only lasted one series before giving way to the Terrapins’ regular-season starter.
Maryland took a 10-9 lead in the second quarter when Tagovailoa found Smith in the back left corner of the end zone for the game’s only touchdown.
North Carolina State (8-5) certainly had its chances, penetrating the Maryland 25-yard line four times, but was forced to settle for field goals each time.
The biggest opportunity to seize momentum came in the fourth quarter when Rakeim Ashford intercepted Tagovailoa at the N.C. State 35. But the Terrapins defense answered with a third-down stop and forced a field goal.
N.C. State had one last chance to win it when they got the ball back with 2:34 left in the game at their own 25, but Bennett’s leaping interception clinched the victory.
GETTING HIS KICKS
Dunn won the Lou Groza Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best kicker, and finished the season converting 28 of 29 field goal tries and all 30 extra-point attempts for the Wolfpack.
Maryland: The Terrapins have a lot of players who opted out of the bowl game, including three wide receivers who declared for the NFL draft. They’ll need to replenish that position, although Smith looks like a keeper.
NC State: Quarterback is going to be an issue the Wolfpack will need to address this offseason. With Devin Leary transferring to Kentucky, there’s no solid answer. Finley struggled with his accuracy and leading the offense. It didn’t help that North Carolina State’s running game was nonexistent.