The Maryland Terrapins came into their season finale matchup against the North Carolina Tar Heels with their shot at the postseason gone, but the Terps put up a fight, ultimately falling to North Carolina, 45-38.
With Maryland's imminent move to the Big Ten, this would be one of the last times the two teams would meet on the gridiron. The Tar Heels came into the matchup leading the overall series 35-33-1 with Maryland winning their last game in 2008, 17-15. The Tar Heels also had a 17-11-1 series lead when playing at home in Kenan Stadium.
Tar Heel quarterback Bryn Renner passed for 305 yards and five touchdowns while Maryland's Shawn Petty passed for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception. North Carolina's Giovani Bernard had 163 rushing yards and a touchdown while Maryland's Brandon Ross rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown. Maryland's Stefon Diggs had eight receptions and 82 yards while Nigel King had four catches for 72 yards. North Carolina's Quinshad Davis led all receivers with nine receptions, 135 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tar Heels only needed 42 seconds to put the first points on the board, with Renner going 75-yards in three plays, capped off by a 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron. Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty was picked off on third down by North Carolina's Darien Rankin who returned it inside Maryland's 5-yard line. Three plays later, Renner found Quinshad Davis for a 2-yard touchdown, giving the Tar Heels a quick 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The Terps would answer with their own scoring drive with Petty leading the Terps on a 10-play, 66-yard drive. On a first-and-10 on the Tar Heel 20-yard line, redshirt freshman Nigel King ran a reverse route for 19 yards, setting up redshirt freshman tailback Brandon Ross for a 1-yard touchdown dive, his first of his college career. Brandon Ross would later rip off a 71-yard run in the second quarter, the longest run of the season for the Maryland Terrapins. The run would set up Petty's 2-yard touchdown scramble to tie the game up at 14 points each halfway through the second quarter.
The Tar Heels would respond with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Renner to A.J. Blue to retake the lead late in the second quarter. The Terps would not be content going into halftime trailing though. On a 3rd-and-14 on the Terps' 21, Petty found King for a 43-yard completion to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, Petty found King again for a 21-yard gain down to Carolina's 11-yard line. Two plays later, the Terps decided to run a trick play, with freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs passing the ball to senior tight end Matt Furstenburg for an 8-yard touchdown to tie the game up. But the Terps were not done yet. North Carolina fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Petty found senior wide receiver Kevin Dorsey for a 28-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the first half, giving Maryland a 28-21 halftime lead.
Maryland would not stop scoring, opening the second half with Diggs taking the kickoff 99-yards for another touchdown, the third Maryland touchdown in 34 seconds of game time. Renner and the Tar Heels would respond, finding Davis for a 50-yard touchdown answer to cut Maryland's lead to one score not even one minute into the third quarter. The Tar Heels would tie the game up with a 3-play, 56-yard drive capped off with Renner hitting Erik Highsmith for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Tar Heels would take a lead after the Terps held North Carolina's offense on the goal line, resulting in Thomas Moore kicking a 22-yard field goal to take a 38-35 lead halfway through the third quarter. The Tar Heels would find the end zone again in the third quarter with running back Giovani Bernard taking the ball across the plane for a 1-yard touchdown run. The Terps would get another three points but they would not be able to catch up.
For the Terps, this game capped off a disappointing season that started off with high hopes. The Terps lost their last six games and lost a chance to play in a bowl game, but at least the Terps did not bow out without a fight.