Nov. 3, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Playing his first college game at quarterback, converted linebacker Shawn Petty was far better in the second half than before halftime.
Unfortunately for Maryland, a 20-0 halftime deficit proved to be too much to overcome, as they fell 33-13 to Georgia Tech on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (4-5, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) amassed 370 yards on the ground against the nation's fourth-ranked defense against the run. That was just about the last thing the Terrapins could afford to happen, given that they weren't expecting to produce a whole of points with Petty calling the signals.
"We knew it was going to be tough going into the game," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "We also knew that we were going to have to play great on defense to keep it a very low-scoring game. We weren't able to do that."
It was 27-0 late in the third quarter before Maryland finally scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Petty to Stefon Diggs. Petty also threw a 23-yard TD pass to Diggs on the game's final play, but the injury-depleted Terrapins (4-5, 2-3) dropped their third straight.
Maryland has lost four quarterbacks for the season with injuries, so Edsall turned to Petty, a true freshman recruited as a linebacker. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound left-hander ran for 24 yards on 17 carries and completed 9 of 18 passes for 115 yards. He also fumbled twice and threw an interception.
"The speed of the game was something that it took him a little time to get used to," Edsall said of Petty. "You can't go out there and line up at this level after only seven practices and think that everything is going to happen the way you hope it will. Once he got settled in, we could see what we could do with him."
Maryland had 61 yards in offense in the first half and 198 after halftime.
"You just have to get used to the speed of the game," Petty said. "That's the biggest difference. Playing my first college game when I was playing linebacker before this, the speed of the game was much faster so it took me a while to get up to speed."
After that, he settled in.
"I started feeling more comfortable in the second half," Petty said. "In the first half I was a bit antsy and the speed of the game was much faster then. I calmed down and played faster and let the game come to me."
Someone asked the former high school quarterback his thoughts on playing the position again.
"I always thought that I could play at the D-1 level," Petty said. "Now I have my chance and I have to go prove it."
The Yellow Jackets finished with 401 total yards - all but 31 on the ground. After building a 20-0 lead at halftime, the Yellow Jackets attempted only one pass over the final 30 minutes.
"The way the game was going, there wasn't any need to throw," coach Paul Johnson said. Georgia Tech backup quarterback Vad Lee ran for a pair of 2-yard touchdowns and starter Tevin Washington also rushed for a score, the 34th of his career _ one short of the school and ACC record for quarterbacks held by Joshua Nesbitt. Lee and Washington both went 1 for 2 through the air.
Georgia Tech took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter when Washington capped a 12-play, 69-yard drive with a 1-yard run. Orwin Smith kept the march alive with a 17-yard run on a fourth-and-3 from the Maryland 35.
The Yellow Jackets capitalized on a Petty fumble to make it 13-0 early in the second quarter. After Jeremiah Attaochu recovered the loose ball at the Maryland 33, Smith scored from the 5. Another three-and-out by the Terrapins followed, and a 17-yard punt provided Georgia Tech the ball at the Maryland 49. Seven plays later, Lee scored for a 20-0 lead.
At that juncture, the Yellow Jackets had a 170-22 advantage in total yardage and Maryland still had not yet picked up a first down.
The Terrapins finally moved the chains for the first time with 6:38 left in the half when Georgia Tech was called for roughing the kicker on a punt.