Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson sacked Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach on third and fourth down and helped secure a win for the Yellow Jackets 27-23. The Terps had first and ten at the Yellow Jacket 5 yard line before the Jacket defense stuffed 2 runs and then watched as Johnson twice penetrated the Maryland backfield and wrapped up the quarterback and the game in one fell swoop.
The Yellow Jackets got on the board first with a 10 play 79 yard drive capped off by a patented Reggie Ball to Calvin Johnson fade pattern - this time for 10 yards. Maryland rebounded quickly with Josh Wilson returning the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a Terp TD. Coach Ralph Friedgen's team siezed the momentum and rattled off 10 points. First, Dan Ennis connected on an 18 yard field goal. Then, Calvin Johnson fumbled deep in Georgia Tech territory and set Maryland up on the 8 yard line. The Terps quickly took advantage to add a touchdown and build a 10 point lead.
The Jackets did respond to cut the lead to 3 with a Tashard Choice touchdown, but Maryland's Dan Ennis again connected on a field goal - this one a career-long 46 yarder. The Terps then added yet another field goal by Ennis to give them a 9 point lead.
Chan Gailey noted after the game, "This team has a lot of character." And, it was at this point of the game that the Yellow Jackets showed their mettle. First, they put together a 62 yard touchdown drive to pull within 2. Then, the defense stepped up and Tech LB KaMichael Hall recovered a fumble by Terp RB Lance Ball on the 17 yard line. Three plays later and the Jackets were back in the end zone and also in possession of the first lead of the game since their opening drive.
But, the Jackets still made it interesting. On the ensuing Maryland drive, the Tech secondary let Terp WR Darrius Heyward-Bay loose and only a game-saving tackle on a pure hustle play by Tech S Avery Roberson kept the Terps from the end zone. With first and goal on the Jacket 5 yard line, the Tech defense stiffened on first and second down - holding the Terps to just 3 yards on 2 running plays. It was then that Michael Johnson stepped in and decided that the Terps would get no further. And, they didn't.
The Jackets generated most of their offense in this game on the ground and were led by Tashard Choice's 138 yards on 26 carries. Calvin Johnson was his usual spectacular self reeling in 10 catches for 133 yards and 1 touchdown. Reggie Ball had a quiet but efficient day both throwing and running by hitting 13 of 25 attempts through the air for 161 yards and one touchdown and also adding 89 yards on 13 rushes.
The Terps were led by Lance Ball's 116 yards on 23 carries and Hollenbach's 16 of 24 passing for 190 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.
Jackets Sprint Past Turtles
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