Oct. 9, 2004
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Georgia Tech ended No. 23 Maryland's 13-game home winning streak in stunning fashion, blanking the Terrapins through three quarters and forcing out quarterback Joel Statham in a 20-7 victory Saturday.
Reggie Ball threw for 197 yards and a touchdown to help the Yellow Jackets (3-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snap a two-game losing streak. It's been an erratic season for Georgia Tech, which has also defeated then-No. 18 Clemson but lost to lowly North Carolina.
The Terrapins (3-2, 1-1) were undefeated at home since September 2002 and 21-1 at Byrd Stadium since coach Ralph Friedgen took over the program in 2001.
Statham, who came in leading the ACC in total offense, received complete support from Friedgen despite his seven interceptions and propensity to fumble. But Friedgen removed the struggling quarterback in the third quarter with Maryland trailing 20-0.
True freshman Jordan Steffy directed a scoring drive that made it 20-7 with 11:28 left, but that was the extent of the damage that Maryland could inflict on a defense that was surrendering an average of 23 points per game.
Statham went 6-for-14 for 36 yards. Steffy was 5-for-9 for 38 yards and showed enough poise to at least warrant consideration as a starter next week.
The Terrapins mustered just over 100 yards in offense, and their defense had no answer for Ball, whose starting job was believed to be in jeopardy after he threw three interceptions last week in a 27-3 loss to Miami.
Ball completed 11 of 21 passes, ran for 43 yards and coolly directed an offense that did not commit a single turnover.
He received ample support from P.J. Daniels, who ran for 91 yards on 26 attempts. Daniels gained 51 yards on three carries and scored from the 12 during a 65-yard drive that made it 17-0 with 10:06 left in the third quarter.
A 26-yard pass from Ball to Nate Curry set up a field goal by Travis Bell for a 20-0 lead.
Maryland senior Steve Suter set the ACC record for career punt return yards (1,212). He returned three punts for 24 yards to pass Ledel George of North Carolina State, who had 1,191 yards from 1990-93.
Georgia Tech ran up a 201-66 advantage in offensive yardage and took a 10-0 lead at halftime.
Allen ran for 28 yards on Maryland's first play from scrimmage, but the promising drive ended with Nick Novak missing a 44-yard field goal try.
Neither team threatened again until early in the second quarter, when Bell kicked an apparent 45-yard field goal. But Georgia Tech was called for an illegal shift and subsequently punted.
On their next series, however, the Yellow Jackets took a 7-0 lead. Ball used two completions to Devon Thomas totaling 50 yards to set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Curry.
Georgia Tech made it 10-0 late the half when Bell kicked a 19-yard field goal after freshman Calvin Johnson made a sensational catch for a 44-yard gain to the Maryland 6.