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ACC: Terps feeling peachy after battering Wake

©Associated Press

December 1, 2002

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A terrific afternoon for Maryland ended just the way the Terrapins planned it: with an invitation to play in the Peach Bowl.

Scott McBrien threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as Maryland took a 27-point lead and cruised past Wake Forest 32-14 Saturday.

Moments after the final whistle, Peach Bowl representatives joined Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen on a makeshift platform at midfield and formally invited the Terrapins to play in the Dec. 31 bowl in Atlanta.

"Our team feels privileged and excited at being selected," Friedgen said.

It capped a regular season in which the Terrapins finished tied for second in the conference and recorded a second straight 10-win season for the first time.

Maryland blew a chance to play in a BCS game by losing to Virginia 48-13 last weekend.

"Either way, to have an opportunity to play in a postseason is an accomplishment for this team," said senior linebacker E.J. Henderson, who had 14 tackles and an interception in his final home game. "To go out the way we did was great for the team. I can't complain about being in Atlanta on the 31st. It's going to be great."

Wake Forest was left wondering whether its season was done. The Demon Deacons are bowl eligible, but the lopsided defeat did not help their bid cause.

"I think we're very deserving, but we're kind of at the mercy of the bowls," coach Jim Grobe said. "Hopefully, some of the teams that are also on the bubble right now get knocked off and we can slide in someplace."

Led by McBrien, Maryland amassed 383 yards in offense in going ahead 27-0 at halftime. The Demon Deacons got two touchdown runs from Tarence Williams during a rainy third quarter, but their woeful first half proved too much to overcome.

Wake Forest managed eight first downs and 140 yards before halftime, and James MacPherson and Cory Randolph threw interceptions.

"We really played poorly in the first half. It was a real team effort," Grobe said.

McBrien finished 17-for-28 for a career-high 275 yards and two TDs, and Nick Novak kicked three field goals to help the Terrapins to their ninth win in 10 games.

GEORGIA 51, GA. TECH 7: The Bulldogs may not get a spot in the national title game, but they sure played like champions.

Host Georgia built a 34-0 halftime lead and cruised, scoring their most points ever against the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia has its first 11-win season since 1982, the last time the school won a Southeastern Conference title. The Bulldogs get a chance to end that drought next weekend in the SEC Championship Game against Arkansas, right down the road at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Georgia also can expect to move up to third place when the BCS standings are released Monday, courtesy of Oklahoma State's 38-28 upset of Oklahoma.

That will be as high as Georgia gets unless Miami loses to Virginia Tech next weekend. Otherwise, the best the Bulldogs can do is a spot in the Sugar Bowl.

Georgia Tech doesn't have to worry about such lofty goals after its worst defeat since 49-3 to Florida State in 1996. The Yellow Jackets are eligible for their sixth straight bowl appearance, but they'll probably have to settle for a return to the Seattle Bowl.

Musa Smith ran for 121 yards and became the first Georgia back since Garrison Hearst in 1992 to reach 1,000 in a season.

David Greene completed 10 of 14 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown. Senior fullback J.T. Wall, normally a blocker, added two touchdown runs.

Before the game, the Bulldogs were inspired by the return of David Jacobs for senior day.

Jacobs was a Bulldogs defensive lineman when a near-fatal stroke ended his career late last season. He still has weakness on his right side, but he donned his No. 99 uniform and trotted onto the field to a thunderous ovation after the other seniors had been introduced.

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