Georgia Tech rallies late to edge MarylandOct 7, 2006 - 11:17 PM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Reggie Ball and Georgia Tech narrowly avoided Maryland's trap.
Ball threw a touchdown and ran for another and Tashard Choice raced for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter as No. 18 Georgia Tech rallied for a 27-23 Atlantic Coast Conference triumph over Maryland.
It was the fifth straight victory for the Yellow Jackets (5-1, 3-0 ACC Coastal), who have looked impressive since a season-opening loss to Notre Dame.
"This football team has a lot of character," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "I have all those coaching cliches you want - one at a time, you have to have each one, they all count. A game like that, it was a very emotional game."
With a showdown against 15th-ranked Clemson looming on the schedule, Georgia Tech looked sluggish early Saturday and trailed by nine points in the fourth quarter of a classic "trap game."
But Ball saved his best for last, rallying the Yellow Jackets for a pair of late scoring drives. The senior quarterback drew Georgia Tech within 23-21 after scrambling for an eight-yard TD with 11:33 remaining.
"I guess sometimes we've got to get it done the hard way," Ball said. "We're just fortunate that we stuck together as a team. That shows a lot about the character of this team."
Maryland helped its conference rival on the ensuing drive when Lance Ball fumbled an exchange from quarterback Sam Hollenbach. Linebacker KaMichael Hall recovered the loose ball at the Terrapin 17
"The hole opened up and from what I saw, it looked like he bobbled the ball a couple of times and he stumbled, and I just saw the ball on the ground," said Hall, who recorded a team-high 11 tackles and a sack. "My first instinct was to jump on it, don't pick it up and just get possession."
Choice gave the Yellow Jackets a 27-23 lead two plays later with a 15-yard TD run.
"We know what Choice can do," Reggie Ball said of the redshirt junior, who rushed for 105 yards and two TDs in last week's win over Virginia Tech. "He might have been down at the beginning of the season and he gets a little impatient sometimes. But I told him to be patient because we are going to need him in games like this."
Reggie Ball completed 13-of-25 attempts for 161 yards and ran for 84 yards on 15 carries, and Choice ran for a career-high 138 yards and two TDs on 26 carries.
"He ran for 100 yards last week against Virginia Tech," Gailey said of Choice. "He really ran for over 100 against Virginia, but we had a clipping call that brought it back under. To me, this is three straight games for him running the football."
Star receiver Calvin Johnson hauled in a career-high 10 receptions for for 133 yards and a TD for Georgia Tech, which has won seven of its last nine meetings with Maryland and is off to a 5-1 start for the first time since 1999.
Hollenbach went 16-of-24 for 190 yards and was intercepted once. Lance Ball ran for 116 yards for the Terps (3-2, 0-1 ACC Atlantic), who fell to 5-13 all-time against the Yellow Jackets.
"I'm real disappointed on this one," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I'm real disappointed for our kids and our fans. We're kind of low right now."
The Terps squandered a pair of chances to possibly reclaim the lead late in the fourth quarter. After leading Maryland into Georgia Tech territory with 7:47 left, Hollenbach threw a costly interception to cornerback Kenny Scott on a 4th-and-2.
Hollenbach nearly orchestrated a last-minute miracle, hooking up with Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 57-yard pass all the way down to the Yellow Jackets 7.
But the Terps stalled on their next two plays and after being flagged for intentional grounding on third down, Hollenbach was sacked by defensive end Michael Johnson on 4th-and-goal with 30 seconds left.
"It was an overall good effort," Michael Johnson said. "We stuck through it and showed we can fight."
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