The Teams: Georgia Tech (3-5) vs Maryland Terrapins (4-4)
The Site: Byrd Stadium. College Park, Maryland
The Time: 12:30 PM Kickoff
TV, Radio, Internet: ESPN3 (Internet), ESPN 980 (Radio)
The Coaches: Randy Edsall (6-14, second season at Maryland) and Paul Johnson (34-19, sixth season at GT)
The History: Georgia Tech has the advantage 14-6 all time against the Terrapins
Well the Caleb Rowe era ended almost as quickly as it began, and Maryland now finds itself in the unenviable position of having to head into this game against Georgia Tech without a quarterback. Or rather, they have a quarterback, but he wasn’t that the previous week, and so what was once a promising season now becomes one in which the Terrapins hopes hinge upon a linebacker who can kind of throw. Luckily for the Terrapins, the Yellow Jackets aren’t very good this year, and it’s more than likely that whoever takes snaps under center is going to be at least moderately successful.
Key Questions and Storylines
1.) The man of many hats, Shawn Petty
I won’t be the first ever to say that I am legitimately curious to see how a quarterback-turned-linebacker-turned-quarterback again will fare against a DI football school, even one as woeful as Georgia Tech. I wish I could tell you a whole lot about this kid, but the fact is that no one really can, which may end up being a good thing for the Terrapins. The element of surprise is an underrated one, and Shawn Petty is the Terrapins Trojan Horse, so to speak. Georgia Tech has likely been scouring over his YouTube highlight clips in the same manner that Maryland fans have, looking for his strengths and weaknesses.
From those, it is fairly obvious that Petty is far from a competent passer. In high school (he went to Suitland), he did throw, but let me tell you that even on those highlight reels that arm is cringe-worthy. If you thought Perry Hills had a bad motion, wait till you get a load of Franken-arm, because I assure you it’s going to make you gasp. Maryland may end up throwing around 10 times this game, so expect a very strange outcome indeed.
If the Terrapins run the option, similar to what Georgia Tech employs, fans are going to feel like they are in a time vortex and start wondering where the leather helmets are, because this is going to be old school football. Either way, I’m excited for what could very well be a competitive game simply because Georgia Tech, quite literally, has no clue what to expect.
2.) Will Georgia Tech run this city?
An even bigger question here is going to be whether or not the vaunted Maryland defense is capable of stopping the fourth best running team in the NCAA. Between Tevin Washington, Orwin Smith, and Zach Laskey, the Yellow Jackets have three backs who have combined for 1,347 yards on the ground and 19 touchdowns. The crazy part is, their backfield goes even deeper than that, as they have eight players who have had at least 20 carries this season. Think about that for a second, and consider how painfully annoying that is to game plan for.
Maryland will be facing it’s toughest ground test to date, and I fully expect them to have some problems at first. There are so many facets to the option offense, and it is difficult to grasp in one week. But, it can be stopped, as Georgia Tech was shut down big time by both Virginia Tech in the beginning of the season, then BYU last week. The Terrapins are going to be one of the better defenses the Yellow Jackets face all year, and that will hopefully deter them from gouging another team.
3.) Wes Brown Breakout Game
Of course it comes down to one thing: can Maryland score enough points to keep up with Georgia Tech? That begins with Wes Brown, honestly. The Terrapins are going to be running the ball a whole lot, and Wes Brown needs to be the catalyst behind that. Brown has been solid this season since taking over the starting job, but he is going to need to be even better this week. Ideally, he has to break off some very big runs consistently against Georgia Tech to keep the offense moving. Rather than be a ground and pound guy as he was against Boston College, he needs to be the absolute machine he was against North Carolina State, where he had 121 yards and averaged a shade under 5 yards a carry.
Big runs from Brown, and whoever else gets the ball, for that matter, will be paramount to Maryland being successful.
The Terrapins will win if:
A.) Wes Brown rushes for over 100 yards on the ground
B.) Stefon Diggs gets the ball 10 times
The Terrapins will lose if:
A.) The defense cannot stop Tevin Washington
B.) Shawn Petty cannot complete at least 50% of his passes
- Tevin Washington is two touchdowns away from becoming the ACC’s all-time quarterback leader in rushing touchdowns.
- Maryland lost to Georgia Tech last year 21-16, but defeated them in 2007 28-26 at home
- Georgia Tech’s leading receiver, Jeff Greene, has 12 receptions on the year for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns