GA Tech unable to hold off Miami in road match

Written by Derek Robbie
Miami Gardens, FL – Coming into their ACC Coastal division matchup a lot was on the line Georgia Tech and Miami. The Yellow Jackets were rested up from a bye week, and sporting a three-game winning streak. The undefeated Hurricanes were riding high after their emotional come from behind victory over FSU. Miami was able to outlast Georgia Tech 25-24 to claim first place in the division and keep their unblemished record intact.

The Yellow Jackets won the coin toss and chose to defer. On first down, Miami quarterback Malik Rosier dropped back to pass, but the Georgia Tech defensive line caused Rosier to slip for a loss of 12 yards. Miami could not recover from the negative yards on first down and be forced to punt the ball away.

On the following drive, the Yellow Jackets struggled to put together positive plays. After rushing twice and quarterback TaQuan Marshall getting sacked they were forced to punt back to the Hurricanes.

As Miami received the ball to start their next drive, running back, Travis Homer broke free for two rushes consisting of ten-plus yards to bring them inside the red zone. Rosier then took a shot into the end zone, but his receiver, Mike Harley could not keep hold of the ball and were forced to settle for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead with eight minutes left in the first quarter.

Once Georgia Tech got the ball back, they seemed to have settled into the game. On their first few plays, the Jackets got two nice rushes from running backs Qua Searcy and Clinton Lynch. The following play Lynch took a handoff and rushed for 48 yards before being brought down inside the red zone. A few plays later, running back J.J. Green ran the ball in for a 5-yard touchdown. Green’s touchdown gave Georgia Tech a 7-3 lead with about four and a half minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Jackets forced Miami to go three-and-out once again and got the ball back with three minutes left in the first quarter. They had four big rushing plays from running backs Nathan Cottrell, and KirVonte Benson to take Georgia Tech inside the red zone. Once inside the five, Marshall dropped back to pass and found Green for a three-yard touchdown to take a 14-3 lead over Miami with just over 14 minutes left in the second quarter.

By the end of the first, Georgia Tech had already accumulated 137 yards on the ground on 16 rushing attempts. Furthermore, the Yellow Jackets were enforcing their will upon the Hurricanes with their dominant first quarter ground game.

Early in the second quarter, Miami pieced together a beautiful drive consisting of eight plays and lasting just over two and a half minutes. The most significant play of the drive came from Homer when he ran to his right for a huge 32-yard gain to bring the Canes inside the red zone. Unfortunately for Canes fans, Miami could not capitalize on their field position and was forced to kick a field goal. Kicker Michael Badgley’s 32-yard kick was good to make the game 14-6 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

The Hurricanes got the ball back on their own 25 with just under two minutes remaining in the half. Rosier finally started to find his rhythm on the final drive of the half. The drive-defining play came when the ball was snapped over Rosier’s head, and he had to scramble to pick up the ball. Once he secured the ball, Rosier rolled to his right and found receiver Dionte Mullins for 10 yards and the first. On second down inside the red zone, Rosier dropped back and saw Homer to his left whom brought the ball into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. Homer’s touchdown made the score 14-13 with just 12 seconds left in the half.

Right off the bat, Georgia Tech’s Lamont Simmons returned a squib kick 42 yards for a touchdown to give the Yellow Jackets a 21-13 lead. Miami got the ball back, and could not move the ball at all, so they had to punt back to the Jackets.

Georgia Tech got the ball back and had some success running the ball on Miami’s defense, as they had all afternoon. Once Miami had shown they were stacking the box, the Yellow Jackets took a gamble by throwing deep to receiver Ricky Jeune, and it was definitely worth the risk. Jeune brought the ball in for a 48-yard gain, also putting them in the red zone. Though, the Yellow Jackets had to settle with a field goal increasing their lead to 24-13 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

On the Canes’ ensuing drive, they gained most of their yards on one play. Rosier dropped back to pass and threw a bomb to his receiver, Jeff Thomas for a 70- yard completion. Thomas’ catch brought Miami inside Georgia Tech’s 10-yard line, but Miami could not exploit the field position and settled for a field goal. Badgley’s field goal made the score 24-16 with three and a half minutes left in the third.

On Georgia Tech’s following drive, Miami’s defense forced them to punt after only six plays. Miami got the ball back at the start of the 4th quarter and marched down the field gaining a decent number of yards on most of their plays. Eventually, the Canes handed the ball off to Homer who took the ball to the house on a 27-yarder. They went for two but could not convert making the score 24-22 with 13 and a half minutes left in the game.

Both teams traded possession of the football several times until the Canes got the ball with two and a half minutes left, and started driving downfield. Once the Hurricanes got inside the 50, the Yellow Jackets’ defense tightened up significantly. Their defense forced Miami into a 4th and 10, where Miami had no choice but to go for it with only 44 seconds left. Rosier dropped back to pass and threw it to his right towards his receiver, Darrell Langham. Georgia Tech’s defensive back Lamont Simmons tipped Rosier’s pass up in the air, but Miami’s Langham was in the perfect position to make a spectacular catch. Miami ran a couple of plays to run down the clock so that Michael Badgley could close the game off with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Badgley made his 24-yard field goal to give Miami a 25-24 lead which was their first lead of the game. Paul Johnson had this to say about Langham’s catch, “On 4th and ten their kid made a hell of a play.”

Georgia Tech received the ball on the kickoff and completed several laterals before a Miami player fell on the ball to end the game. Miami won 25-24 in an incredibly entertaining game at Hard Rock Stadium.

This game is a hard loss for the Yellow Jackets and their fans, but Paul Johnson and his staff know much more about this squad than they did before the game on Saturday. Though they lost, Georgia Tech fans now know they can compete with and beat the best of the best in the ACC.

Paul Johnson had this to say about Saturday’s loss, “Well, just really hurting and disappointed for our guys. It was a tough, hard-fought football game, and in the end, they made one more play than we did.”

Georgia Tech hosts Wake Forest next Saturday, October 21 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

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