Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington (13) runs as David Sims (7) blocks Maryland linebacker Alex Twine (35) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct, 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Tech won 20-16 and remains undefeated. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
ATLANTA -- Late in a tough loss, Maryland may have found a new quarterback and discovered its offense.
Maryland's fourth-quarter comeback, led by sophomore backup quarterback C.J. Brown, came up short as the Terrapins fell to No. 13 Georgia Tech 21-16 on Saturday. Brown took over for Danny O'Brien in the second quarter after the starter went 1 of 6 passing for 17 yards and an interception.
Tevin Washington ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns for Georgia Tech, which led 21-3 before holding off the Terrapins.
"We're disappointed that we didn't win the game today but very pleased with how hard our guys played for 60 minutes," said Maryland coach Randy Edsall.
"I thought defensively we played extremely well. Offensively, we were inconsistent and we had a couple of breakdowns in the special teams."
Maryland left guard Andrew Gonnella was taken off the field in an ambulance after suffering a left leg injury in the fourth quarter. With most Maryland players standing or kneeling on the field, the game was delayed for about 15 minutes as medical personnel from each team worked in a circle around Gonnella, a senior.
"If he can't come back, he will be sorely missed," said Edsall, adding that Gonnella was taken to an Atlanta hospital. He had no details on the injury. "He's been a great leader for us and a guy who loves the game of football. Now we just need to take a piece of him with us and go back out there and play for him."
Maryland unveiled a bold uniform combination of mustard yellow, black and maroon. For three quarters the Terrapins were all dressed up with no place to go. Maryland managed only 176 yards and a field goal before the final quarter.
Then Brown showed his speed on a 77-yard touchdown run down the Georgia Tech sideline early in the fourth quarter for Maryland (2-3 overall, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Davin Meggett, who had 86 yards rushing, scored from the 1 with 7:33 remaining to cut the lead to 21-16.
But Maryland was stopped on a fourth-and-8 play from its 46 on Brown's incomplete pass with 2:31 remaining.
Brown was 4 of 17 passing for 36 yards and an interception. But he had nine carries for 124 yards.
"We needed something to give us a spark," Brown said. "They went to me and I tried to provide what I could. ... I tried to do what I could to spark the team."
Now will there be a quarterback controversy at Maryland?
"I just felt like we needed a little bit of a spark," said coach Randy Edsall of his decision to make the change. "I thought that (Brown) did give us a spark. We will watch the film and evaluate from there."
Brown remained in the game after he was picked off by Rod Sweeting in the end zone in the third quarter.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said the Terrapins "whipped our tail pretty good in the end."
Georgia Tech (6-0, 3-0) matched its wins total from 2010, when it finished 6-7. The Yellow Jackets averaged almost 52 points in their first five wins and began the day ranked first in the nation in rushing and second in scoring.
"We wanted to hold them to zero points," Edsall said. "But again, we played great team defense. When you play great team defense, you're able to do the things that we did today."
Johnson said his offense "never got any continuity."
"It was a myriad of things, and we will have to watch the tape, but we didn't do very many good things today," he said.
A season-high eight penalties for 63 yards and poor passing helped hold back the Georgia Tech attack. Johnson called the penalties, most called on the offensive line, "ridiculous."
Washington had scoring runs of 7 yards in the first quarter and 3 yards in the third. Orwin Smith had a 10-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
Maryland's only points in the first three quarters were Nick Ferrara's 30-yard field goal at the end of a 14-play drive on the Terrapins' first possession.
Washington completed only 6 of 19 passes for 114 yards and an interception.
"I think offensively we came out flat in the second half," Washington said. "On my part, I know I did a poor job in the reads in this game running the option."
Georgia Tech led 14-3 at halftime but wasted two second-quarter chances to stretch the lead.
Linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, making only his second career start, intercepted a pass from O'Brien to give the Yellow Jackets the ball at Maryland's 28. A false-start penalty helped stall the drive after one first down, and Justin Moore was wide left on a 34-yard field goal attempt.