ATLANTA -- Quarterback Jim Sandwisch played poorly and was benched in the fourth quarter. His receivers dropped a lot of passes, and the running backs failed to pick up blitzes. The defense was just as bad, especially the secondary, which gave up several long passes and two touchdowns. There were also six penalties for 68 yards.
At least it was a total team effort for Maryland.
The Terps were blown out for the second time this season yesterday, losing, 34-10, to Georgia Tech in an Atlantic Coast Conference game before 42,011 at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
The Terps (1-4, 1-1 ACC) looked almost as bad as they did a month ago, when they lost to West Virginia, 37-7. After that game, Maryland coach Joe Krivak said he was embarrassed and apologized for the effort.
Maryland players were in a similar mood yesterday.
"Right now, we're as low as we have been all season," said Sandwisch, who frequently overthrew receivers and completed only 11 of 25 passes for 99 yards.
Terps inside linebacker Mike Jarmolowich said: "We're only one loss away from losing as many as we did last season. And with NTC our schedule, that's scary."
It won't get much better for Maryland, especially offensively. The Terps lost sophomore halfback Mark Mason, the team's leading rusher who is third in the conference, for the season yesterday after he suffered a non-displaced fracture of a bone in the right leg.
Mason, 5 feet 8 and 180 pounds, who entered with 378 yards rushing on 65 carries and had 74 yards on 17 attempts yesterday, went down with 11:24 left in the third period after getting blind-sided by outside linebacker Marlon Williams on a screen pass.
Mason, whose fumble on the play was recovered by Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2) at the 34, is expected to spend the next six weeks in a cast.
"I think we suffered a big letdown after he left," said Sandwisch. "Besides being our leading rusher, he's an emotional leader."
After Mason left, Georgia Tech, which had 429 yards of total offense, scored on its next four possessions, including touchdown passes of 49 and 82 yards from junior quarterback Shawn Jones to wide receivers Jason McGill and Keenan Walker. The 82-yarder to Walker, the third longest in Yellow Jackets history, put Georgia Tech ahead by 34-3 with 14:16 left.
"They did the thing we sort of dreaded," said Krivak, who has had to patch up his secondary. "They took a couple shots deep at us, and beat us deep twice, and boy that really made it easy."
Actually, the 82-yard touchdown was just one of two plays that turned the game in Georgia Tech's favor.
The other came with 5:05 left in the half, Maryland ahead by 3-0 and the ball on the Yellow Jackets' 29-yard line as the Terps prepared to kick a 47-yard field goal.
But after Sandwisch took the snap, his pitch to kicker Dan DeArmas, who had an open lane wide left on fourth-and-seven, fell short and the ball, after being handled and kicked by several players, was recovered by Georgia Tech at the Maryland 39.
Three plays later, Georgia Tech fullback David Hendrix ran off left tackle for an 8-yard touchdown with 4:02 left in the half to give Georgia Tech a 7-3 lead.
"It was a pretty good football game for about a quarter and a half," said Krivak, who four plays earlier was successful for a first down on a faked punt on fourth-and-seven at the Georgia Tech 44. "We had it blocked perfectly because they send six people inside and they leave one outside. I thought when we fell down on the fake field goal try that was our big chance.
"We felt like we had to win, and when you have to win you've got to take some chances and take some risks. It backfired. We were 50-50."
DeArmas said: "We practiced it all week and it was there. It never crossed my mind that I would slip on the turf with my kicking shoe because we practice on grass, and I've never had to worry about cutting before. But I slipped and Jimmy never saw me. He pitched it, and it was just out of reach."
The trick plays were Krivak's latest attempt to put some life into his offense, which had only 251 total yards, 37 below its already poor average.
Besides the fake punt and field goal, Krivak ran a fake reverse. He went to the shotgun formation, and even used a power formation, two H-backs and two tight ends.
If the Terps had had any kind of offense in the first half, they could have made big trouble for Georgia Tech. Jones, who has the flu, was 1-for-7 in the first quarter for minus-2 yards and was replaced periodically by junior Jeff Howard. The only points Maryland could get in the first half was a line-drive, 28-yard field goal by DeArmas that was partially blocked.
"I don't know what we can do to get some consistency in this offense," said Sandwisch. "Every week we work on finding a solution. I played badly today, pretty close to my worst performance of the season. Myself and a couple of others are pressing, trying to make something happen. I guess we have to stop."
After staying on the field most of the first half, Maryland's defense wilted in the second. Jones, besides the two long touchdown passes, also completed passes of 28, 26 and 16 yards during the game as he helped set up Scott Sisson field goals of 27 and 30 yards.
"Where do we go from here? On to Wake Forest, that's about it," said Jarmolowich.