COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Ticker) -- The Peach Bowl will have a 10-win team for the first time in its 35-year history.
A week after a disappointing loss, 23rd-ranked Maryland accepted a berth in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve after a 32-14 victory over Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference finale for both schools.
Scott McBrien passed for 257 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone when the Terrapins (10-3, 6-2) built a 27-point lead en route to their 10th win, marking the first time in the 110-year history of the school that Maryland has won 10 or more games in consecutive seasons.
"I'm proud of what our players accomplished this year, winning 10 games for the second consecutive season and earning a spot in one of college football's traditional bowl games," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen. "Having lived in Atlanta, I know our players and fans are in for a great bowl experience."
Friedgen, a former assistant at Georgia Tech, improved to 20-5 and broke the record for wins by an ACC coach in his second year. Clemson's Ken Hatfield posted a 19-4-1 record in 1990-91.
Several Peach Bowl representatives gathered at midfield after the final whistle to issue a formal invitation to the Terps, who will play against a Southeastern Conference team at the Georgia Dome.
"This program has created something very special up here this season finishing second in the ACC and winning nine of its last 10 games," said Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan said. "We're privileged to have them in our bowl."
The Terrapins bounced back from a 48-13 loss last week at Virginia that cost them a chance at securing a berth in the Gator Bowl.
It was an especially painful defeat because Maryland learned at halftime that North Carolina State, which accepted the Gator Bowl berth, had beaten Florida State. That meant that a victory over Virginia would have given the Terrapins a share of the ACC title and kept them in contention for a BCS bowl berth.
On Saturday, Maryland took out its anger on the Demon Deacons, erupting for 24 points in the second quarter. McBrien hit running back Chris Downs with a 38-yard touchdown and connected with Rich Parson on an 11-yard scoring play to highlight the quarter.
"The first half was a great half, the receivers ran great routes, the line did a great job, we made great plays," said McBrien, who finished with a career-high 275 passing yards.
Maryland had 383 yards in offense in the first half compared to 140 for Wake Forest, which also committed two turnovers.
The loss likely cost Wake Forest (6-6, 3-5) a bowl berth. The Demon Deacons finished 6-5 with a 3-5 conference mark last year and did not receive a bowl bid.
"It's disappointing, but Maryland is real good," said Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe. "I thought they were real, real physical. We had a chance to compete a little better than we did. Unfortunately the mistakes we made today you can't make against a veteran, solid football team like Maryland and get away with it."
Tarence Williams rushed for 108 yards, including two touchdowns in the third quarter, for Wake Forest.
Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson, a finalist for the Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski awards, had 14 tackles, a sack of quarterback Cory Randolph in the end zone for a safety and an interception in his final home game.
"The first two years of my career we were mediocre. The second two years, we were a great team," Henderson said. "That is definitely the way to go out. I have no complaints."
Maryland rushed for 258 yards. Bruce Perry, who rushed for a career-high 276 yards against Wake Forest last year, had 85 yards on 19 carries. Downs added 78 yards on 15 carries.
Nick Novak kicked the first of his three field goals - a 36-yarder with 3:54 left in the first quarter - to give Maryland the lead.
Wake Forest appeared to be in position to at least tie the game, driving to the Maryland 29 late in the quarter, but safety Dennard Wilson intercepted a deflected pass and returned it five yards to the 27.
McBrien then completed three passes for 53 yards and ran twice for 10 yards before James Lynch scored on a one-yard run two minutes into the second quarter.
On Maryland's next possession, McBrien directed a four-play, 73-yard drive, starting it with a 31-yard pass to Parson. Downs capped it when he caught a screen pass and raced 38 yards for his 15th touchdown of the season, giving Maryland a 17-0 lead with 9:19 left in the second quarter.
After Wake Forest held the ball for nearly five minutes but punted into the end zone from the Maryland 39, McBrien completed 4-of-4 passes for 57 yards to highlight a 10-play, 80-yard drive which resulted in the touchdown to Parson with 2:47 left in the quarter.
Novak kicked a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the half after McBrien hit Perry with a 28-yard pass and gained 12 yards on a run up the middle.
"I was so proud of the way our kids played in the first half," Friedgen said. "I think that's the best we've played all year. We kind of went to sleep in the second half and didn't play as well. We didn't have the same focus. But we were able to get it back."
Williams scored on a pair of two-yard runs in a 2:53 span of a rainy third quarter to pull Wake Forest within 27-14.
Williams rushed for 43 yards on six carries in Wake Forest's first scoring drive and his second touchdown with 1:21 left in the quarter came after Randolph connected with Jax Landfried on a 78-yard pass to the Maryland 2.
Novak kicked his third field goal of the game - a 28-yarder - with 12:54 left in the fourth quarter and Henderson tackled Randolph in the end zone with 4:42 remaining.