By Matthew Barakat
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - In his first career start, Chris Turner threw for 255 yards, and Lance Ball ran for three touchdowns as Maryland barely held on for a 28-26 victory Saturday over Georgia Tech.
Travis Bell sent a 52-yard field goal attempt wide right with 54 seconds remaining. Andrew Gardner was whistled for holding on the previous play, knocking the Yellow Jackets back 10 yards and preventing them from lining up for what would have been a 40-yard try.
Turner had three passes of longer than 40 yards in the first half, including the first touchdown pass of his career, a 78-yard strike to Jason Goode. He cooled off in the second half but finished 10 of 17 for 255 yards and a touchdown.
Ball carried 16 times for 86 yards and three touchdowns.
Maryland (4-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) had leads of 21-3 and 28-17, but Georgia Tech closed to 28-26 with 8:21 left in the game on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Bennett to Demariyus Thomas. The Yellow Jackets' two-point conversion try fell short when linebacker Dave Philistin stuffed Tashard Choice on a direct snap.
Philistin ended with 21 tackles.
In a matchup of the top two rushing offenses in the ACC, the teams combined for more than 550 yards through the air, compared to 263 on the ground.
Georgia Tech (3-3, 1-3) moved the ball consistently against the Terrapins, gaining 484 total yards and crossing midfield on every possession except its first. But the Yellow Jackets failed to capitalize on several drives, in part because of a lost fumble and two missed field goals.
Saturday's victory was Turner's second straight impressive performance. He replaced injured Jordan Steffy late in the second quarter earlier and led the Terps to a 34-24 road upset over then-No. 10 Rutgers.
Steffy, who suffered a concussion against Rutgers, did not dress Saturday. Nor did the team's leading tackler, Erin Henderson, who has a bad knee.
Maryland scored first on Turner's pass to Goode, then extended its lead to 21-3 early in the second quarter on TD runs of 7 yards and 1 yard by Ball.
The Yellow Jackets managed only three points on offense in the first half, thanks to a missed 47-yard field goal and a fumble by Tashard Choice at the Maryland 28.
On one of the drives, Choice took a direct snap from his own 40, broke through the line and appeared to be on his way. But he pulled up lame and ran out of bounds at the Maryland 32, and the drive stalled on Bell's missed field goal.
Bennett finished 22 of 34 for 309 yards and a touchdown. Choice had 32 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia Tech's first touchdown came with less than a minute in the first half, when Turner, under pressure, was hit by Vance Walker and fumbled. Defensive end Darrell Robertson picked it up and ran 32 yards for the score.