COLLEGE PARK -- During three of the first five weeks, University of Maryland quarterback Scott Zolak was the hero in last-minute comeback victories. Yesterday, he heard boos as he walked off the field at halftime.
And there was a lot of cheering when backup quarterback Jim Sandwisch replaced Zolak with 7 minutes, 17 seconds to play in the game.
Zolak has thrown eight pases that were intercepted in the last three games. He was charged with only one yesterday, but was intercepted three times in a Maryland drive late in the first half. Two were disallowed because of Georgia Tech penalties, including one that was run back for a touchdown.
"It really doesn't bother me," said Zolak, a senior, who completed 16 of 33 passes for 192 yards yesterday.
"There were a lot of factors involved in my performance," Zolak said. "I thought their secondary did a great job of covering our receivers, and their pass rush was great. Sometimes I ate the ball [10 of Tech's 11 sacks], but I was not trying to force things."
Georgia Tech coach Bobby Ross said: "We had a good team coverage. There's no one thing we try to do on defense. We just try to mix things up and keep them off balance. I think a lot of the sacks were due to pass coverage. We did a good job of covering."
* No. 23 Georgia Tech was the fourth ranked opponent Maryland has played in the past six weeks, and it's starting to take its toll on the Terps.
Starting cornerback Scott Rosen, who has been playing with a badly bruised shoulder most of the year, suffered a mild concussion yesterday in the first quarter, but returned late in the second period.
Terps No. 2 H-back, Chad Wiestling, suffered a fractured left clavicle yesterday and could be out for quite a while. Starting tight end Bret Boehly and H-back Frank Wycheck were slowed yesterday because of injuries suffered in the Michigan game last Saturday.
"It's [injury] starting to become a factor," said Maryland head coach Joe Krivak. "In the secondary, we're already into the second team and starting on the third."
"Lawrence Taylor can play hurt, but we're not Lawrence Taylor," said Maryland linebacker Scott Whittier.
* Georgia Tech quarterback Shawn Jones completed 15 of 25 passes for a career-high 271 yards yesterday. He said his receivers were open all day.
"They just kept begging me for the ball," said Jones. "Last week I was a little off, this time I tried very hard to get them the ball."
* Both teams looked at yesterday's game as critical, but Ross suggested it would be hard for a team with two conference losses to win the title. Krivak, however, disagreed.
"There's still a lot of games remaining, and there still could be a lot of shuffling with wins and losses," Krivak said. "Any team could knock off the other."
Ross said: "As far as we saw it, Maryland was still very much in the picture. I think a team with one loss can still win the league so we saw it as a pivotal game. We felt we had to prove some things on the road."
* Georgia Tech nose guard Kevin Battle said after the game that some of Maryland's pre-game comments had ticked off some of the Yellow Jackets.
In particular, Battle had read a comment from a Maryland player about last year's 28-24 Georgia Tech win, which started the Yellow Jackets on their streak of 11 victories in 12 games.
"I don't know who it was -- I think one of their linebackers -- but he said, 'We started this monster and now we're going to stop it,' " said Battle. "It added more emotion to the game for us. There was some personal vengeance."
* It has been four years since Ross left Maryland, but the Georgia Tech coach still has a lot of friends and some family members left in the area.
Asked if the victory had any significance because it came against the Terps, Ross said: "It feels good, but only because we're 2-0 in the conference. If we had beaten anyone else in the league, I would feel the same way."