Oct 11, 2001
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – Nick Novak kicked a 26-yard field goal in overtime and No. 22 Maryland remained unbeaten when Joe Burns fumbled for 15th-ranked Georgia Tech, giving coach Ralph Friedgen a 20-17 victory over his former school Thursday night.
Novak, a redshirt freshman, forced the extra session with a career-long 46-yard field goal on the final play of regulation for Maryland (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). He had earlier missed a 32-yarder and was just 4-of-11 before making the biggest kick of his career.
Georgia Tech (4-2, 1-2), playing its second overtime game in 12 days, won the coin toss and elected to put Maryland on offense first. The Terrapins picked up one first down before settling for Novak’s short field goal.
The ball went over to the Yellow Jackets at their 25. On second-and-7, Burns took the handoff on a simple run up the middle but appeared to hit one of his own lineman as he tried to cut. The ball popped loose, safety Randall Jones fell on it for the Terrapins and the game came to a shocking end.
Friedgen, who was the offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech for nine years, has already ensured Maryland of a winning season – just its third since 1985.
Burns’ fumble was his second of the game and sixth turnover of the game for the Yellow Jackets, who still managed to overcome a 14-0 deficit. Luke Manget kicked a 39-yard field goal with 6:33 remaining to put Georgia Tech ahead for the first time, 17-14.
With Maryland out of timeouts, Burns made another critical mistake by running out of bounds on third down. The Terps got the ball at their own 20 and drove to the Georgia Tech 46, where Shaun Hill faced third-and-10 with 15 seconds left.
The senior quarterback hooked up with freshman Rich Parson on a 17-yard completion, Maryland downed the ball after the chains were set, and Novak booted the longest field goal of his career as time ran out.
Georgia Tech, considered the front-runner in the ACC after Florida State lost to North Carolina, has lost twice in overtime. Clemson beat the Yellow Jackets 47-44 on Sept. 29.
After a dismal first half, Georgia Tech abandoned its running game and managed to get the lead.
Burns recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter, George Godsey threw a 25-yard touchdown to Jonathan Smith on the first play of the fourth period and the Yellow Jackets finally got the lead with a 68-yard drive.
Maryland went ahead on Georgia Tech’s first possession. With third-and-1 at the Terrapins 42, Burns fumbled while taking a handoff from Godsey. The ball was kicked loose from a scrum of players, Henderson scooped it up at the 36 and ran the other way for a touchdown less than three minutes into the game.
The Terrapins made it 14-0 in the second quarter after another Yellow Jackets turnover, only this time the offense had plenty of work to do. Randall Jones intercepted Godsey’s pass at the Maryland 31, launching an eight-play, 68-yard drive that culminated with receiver Jafar Williams scoring on an 11-yard reverse.
Friedgen used to run the same play with Georgia Tech’s star receiver, Kelly Campbell.
The Yellow Jackets’ most dismal series came after they had first-and-goal at the Maryland 6 late in the first half. After an incompletion, Godsey was sacked by E.J. Henderson for a 6-yard loss, then the Yellow Jackets were penalized for two straight false starts.
Now facing third-and-goal from the 22, Godsey couldn’t find a receiver and had to scramble for 2 yards. Friedgen called his final timeout before the field-goal attempt, and the freeze tactic worked: Manget missed a 37-yarder to end the half.
The momentum shifted when Georgia Tech overcame another mistake. Godsey threw a 13-yard pass to Will Glover, who lost the ball as he stretched for the goal line.
But Burns, trailing the play, fell on the fumble in the end zone to cut Maryland’s lead in half.