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November 21, 2009

FSU runs past Maryland

Freshman Lonnie Pryor ran for a pair of touchdowns, including a 3-yard run with 32 seconds left, and Florida State beat Maryland 29-26 on Saturday to become bowl eligible for the 28th straight year.

Pryor's winning score was set up by a 48-yard punt return by freshman Greg Reid that gave the Seminoles the ball at the Maryland 44 with 1:35 left. Pryor also scored on a 50-yard run in the second quarter to give Florida State a 14-3 lead.

"I never thought as a freshman that I would get the winning touchdown so after that it felt really good," Pryor said. "I had to stretch out for it and got it in and it's just a good feeling."

The Seminoles (6-5, 4-4 ACC) handed Maryland (2-9, 1-6) its sixth straight loss.

Maryland's Davin Meggett scored his second touchdown on a 9-yard run with 4:29 remaining that gave the Terrapins a 26-22 lead.

Maryland's defense intercepted Florida State freshman EJ Manuel three times, the last one by Cameron Chism with 2:57 left that seemed to shut the door on the Seminoles.

But the Terrapins were unable to run out the clock and Reid, the ACC's leading punt returner, gave the Seminoles some momentum with his return to set up the winning drive. Reid returned three punts for 88 yards and now has 350 yards on 19 returns going into next week's game at top-ranked Florida.

"I knew when our defense got three and out, I had to make a big play then," Reid said. "They were going to get the ball on the ten or five yard line so I knew I had to make a big play then. We've been fighting it all year, you know, big plays. We're going to get better, we are going to get ready for the Gator game, I can tell you that."

Manuel, who was making his first start at home, completed 17-of-27 passes for 206 yards. He ran for 49, including gains of 15 and 20 yards on the final drive.

Maryland took its first lead at 19-14 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jamarr Robinson to Adrian Cannon early in the fourth quarter, but Florida State regained the lead when Bert Reed scored on a 42-yard end around.

The game turned around dramatically just before halftime when Maryland linebacker Alex Wujciak rambled 82 yards with Manuel's interception to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Meggett as the Terrapins pulled within 14-13 seconds before the break.

Wujciak stepped in front of Florida State's Beau Reliford at the Maryland 11 and ended up at the Florida State 7.

Robinson, a sophomore making his second start, completed 20 of 27 passes for 214 yards and was not intercepted.

Florida State finished its home season with a 3-3 record but became bowl eligible for an NCAA-best 28th straight year by earning a sixth win.

For the second straight game there were thousands of empty seats despite pregame activities honoring departing senior players and longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.

The 68-year-old Andrews was given a new garnet Ford crew cab pickup from his former players. He is retiring at the end of the season after 26 years at Florida State.

There was also a moment of silence in the pressbox before kickoff in memory of veteran Tallahassee Democrat sports writer Steve Ellis, who died Thursday at age 54. Ellis had covered the Seminoles since 1990 for the newspaper.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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