CLEMSON, S.C. - Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has sweated out several games at Death Valley - he's usually celebrating when they're over.
Dan Ennis kicked a 31-yard field goal as time ran out, lifting the Terps to a 13-12 victory Saturday over No. 19 Clemson and extending their winning streak to four games. Maryland (7-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) remained very much in the hunt in what's become a crazy conference championship chase.
The Terrapins came into the weekend tied for the Atlantic Division lead, and they'll stay that way after handing the Tigers (7-3, 4-3) a second consecutive loss.
Friedgen told his players that as Georgia Tech's offensive coordinator, the Yellow Jackets victories at Clemson in 1998 and 2000 were decided on the last play.
"So it's been a lot of times in this stadium where it comes down to the end," Friedgen said.
This time, it looked like Friedgen and the Terps would leave disappointed. Clemson overcame a sluggish performance with a fourth-quarter rally - thanks to a key reversed call from the replay booth - that led to Jad Dean's fourth field goal and a 12-10 Tiger lead with 2:25 left.
But Sam Hollenbach drove Maryland 54 yards to Clemson's 12 - converting a fourth-and-inches with his sneak - to set up Ennis' game winner.
"We've been in that situation before at practice," Hollenbach said. "We just tried to do what we did a hundred times before."
The Terps jumped and hugged Ennis in celebration.
"I thought Dan was going to be sick, so I thought I'd talk to him later," Hollenbach said, smiling.
Ennis knew the kick was good when he hit it. "I gave it a little extra," he said.
Maryland's winning streak has come by a total of 12 points. As the victories increase, so do the stakes.
"I told the team they just won the first round of the playoffs," Friedgen said.
If Maryland keeps winning - which isn't a given with Miami, Boston College and Wake Forest left - it could wind up in the ACC title game in Jacksonville, Fla., in December.
A victory there would put the Terps in the Bowl Championship Series, something they figured to watch on TV after early losses against West Virginia and Georgia Tech.
Hollenbach led the Terps, completing 23 of 34 passes for 247 yards.
He hit on 11 consecutive throws during one stretch, including Maryland's only touchdown play - a 7-yard scoring pass to Danny Oquendo in the second quarter.
Clemson trailed 10-9 midway through the final period when quarterback Will Proctor had the ball ripped from his hands at the end of a run near Clemson's 10. Tailback C.J. Spiller chased the ball back to the goal line and slid into the end zone as he collected it. When Maryland linebacker David Holloway fell on Spiller, officials gave Maryland a safety.
But after a lengthy review, Spiller was ruled down on Clemson's 1.
Two plays later, Proctor completed a 71-yard pass down the middle to tight end Thomas Hunter to Maryland's 28.
Clemson appeared to put the game away when James Davis rushed for a touchdown. That play, however, was nullified by an illegal procedure call and the Tigers settled for Dean's kick.
For the second week in a row, Clemson's powerful tailback tandem of Davis and Spiller was held in check.
The two combined for 332 yards on the ground two weeks ago to beat Georgia Tech, a victory that lifted the Tigers into the top 10. In this one, Davis had 90 yards - 42 on one run - and Spiller 41.
"Me personally, I think the running backs for Florida State were better than the Clemson backs," Holloway said. "So this was nothing new for us."
The Tigers had the country's top scoring offense two weeks ago. But they have managed only 19 points the past two weeks.
"I'm disappointed. I think we all are on this offense," Proctor said.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said the loss was difficult. "We are struggling on offense right now and we have to find a way to generate some touchdowns," he said.
Davis has rushed for 1,081 yards this season. He became the first Tigers running back with 1,000 yards since Travis Zachery in 2000.
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