Terps Struggle in Petty's QB Debut, Fall to Georgia Tech 33-13

Rob Carr

Shawn Petty's debut at quarterback was messy, Maryland's defense was poor, and the Terrapins fell to Georgia Tech at home.

It's pretty safe to say that Maryland's grand quarterback experiment - starting linebacker Shawn Petty under center after four season-ending injuries claimed every signal-caller on the Terps' roster - was unsuccessful. Hosting Georgia Tech and needing a win, the Terps' offense was understandably hapless, their defense was often porous, and the Yellow Jackets profited with an easy 33-13 win.

That it didn't work out for Maryland is hardly a surprise. It was unfair to expect much of Petty, who was in line to be redshirted at linebacker before moving to QB just two weeks ago in an emergency measure. And despite showing a public face to the contrary, It seemed as if Maryland's players were worn down emotionally and mentally - especially the defense, which showed all the fortitude of a wet paper towel against a theretofore-struggling Yellow Jacket triple option.

The plan on offense was seemingly to try to protect Petty's arm, but Maryland's running game, which totalled only three yards per carry, wasn't good enough to move the ball on Georgia Tech's defense. And Petty's arm looked more or less exactly as you'd expect it to. He improved later in the game as Georgia Tech rested their starters and started to play off the line of scrimmage, but it was an adventure early on.

That hurt Maryland's defense, which had a strong opening drive and then began to seriously struggle with Tech's triple-option. They seemed fatigued - not just physically, but mentally as well - and ever-so-slightly confused by the trip-op. Georgia Tech went for 370 rushing yards, and it was by far the worst we've seen this defense all year long.

This is just one of those games where there's not much to take from it. Petty improved, but not enough to make you think Maryland will stand a chance against Florida State or Clemson, and certainly not enough to make you think he'll be in the conversation at quarterback next year, so the experience he picked up probably isn't significant. Everyone else on both sides of the ball didn't look competitive until late in the third quarter, at which point GT had probably largely switched off. As far as take-aways go, aside from "Maryland didn't look good," I just don't know how many there are.

Oh, except one: Stefon Diggs is still absurdly good. The clock is ticking for Maryland with Diggs; they can count on two more years of him in College Park, and they need to take advantage of it while they can.

The Stock Report will be up tomorrow, but there isn't much to say. It was just one of those days. And with a linebacker at quarterback, there wasn't much license to expect anything else.

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