COLLEGE PARK -- Nick Novak kicked field goals of 43, 34 and 44 yards to help Maryland win last night, but he'll probably remember the first one a little longer than the others.
The 43-yarder made him the all-time leading scorer in Atlantic Coast Conference history with 328 points, surpassing Scott Bentley of Florida State, who scored 326 from 1993 to '96.
It came with 8:48 left in the second quarter and put the Terps ahead 10-2 en route to their 23-20 victory over Northern Illinois.
"After I made it, I realized what it meant," Novak said. "I barely made it because it kissed the pole. Records are nice but that's not my focus. I just want ... to focus on one kick at a time, and if I do that records will take care of themselves."
Novak added seven points to bring his career total to 335. His second field goal, a 34-yarder, came with 3:31 left in the third quarter and put the Terps ahead 20-9.
His final field goal, a 44-yarder, came with 10:33 remaining and proved to be the game-winner.
"This is great momentum to take against Temple next week," Novak said.
Twice as nice for Jackson
D'Qwell Jackson's two interceptions for 36 yards brought his career total to four. He returned one for a touchdown last season against Florida State by breaking a couple of tackles and almost duplicated that feat yesterday.
He went 70 yards to Northern Illinois' 15-yard line before being tackled. A penalty brought that back to the Maryland 34-yard line, however.
"All I saw was a pylon and Josh Wilson, our little defensive back, trying to block someone much bigger than him," said Jackson, a 6-foot, 231-pound junior linebacker. "We were in a cover-4 [defensive scheme] and my job was to stop the crossing routes, and thank God, he [Huskies quarterback Phil Horvath] threw it right to me."
Jackson called yesterday's game as memorable as his first as a freshman against Notre Dame two years ago.
"I'm trying to be the defensive emotional leader and turn in the big play," Jackson said. "You dream about making the big play to decide the game."
Davis catches on
Sophomore tight end Vernon Davis caught five passes for 72 yards, including one for 39 in the second quarter that led to Novak's record-breaking kick.
In his debut as a starter, the 6-3, 239-pound player carried tacklers as he picked up extra yards.
"Vernon is a multi-talented player," said coach Ralph Friedgen. "He's not only a good receiver, he's a good blocker, and he wanted to go in and cover kickoffs. He's really a joy to have on the team, because he likes to play football [and] he's very enthusiastic. He always has a smile on his face and he's really a team player."
Davis did miss a key block on Northern Illinois' Ken West, who hit quarterback Joel Statham just as he turned on a bootleg. Statham fumbled, and Jason Hawkins picked it up and went 85 yards for a touchdown that brought the Huskies within 23-20 with 5:34 to play.
"It was a young kid's mistake," Friedgen said.