After dropping two straight games following the bye week, Georgia Tech flew south to Miami in need of a win. Technically, Hard Rock Stadium is in Miami Gardens, 20 miles from the University of Miami, which is in Coral Gables... But you get the point...
After a promising kickoff return by Jahmyr Gibbs to open the game, the Tech offense sputtered out and was forced to punt the ball inside Miami territory. Miami took control for the next few drives, scoring 14 points, holding Georgia Tech to a three-and-out, and tallying 151 total yards while completing 6/9 passes on the Tech defense. Things looked bleak. However, not all hope was lost, as the third drive for the Yellow Jackets resulted in 7 points on a huge 71-yard TD run by Jordan Mason. Sloppiness ensued on the next three drives which saw three consecutive turnovers, 2 fumbles by the Hurricanes and an ill-advised throw by Jeff Sims that resulted in an interception. Somehow, the first quarter ended 14-7 in favor of Miami, but with Tech driving and slowly grabbing control of momentum.
Georgia Tech started the second quarter with a bang as Gibbs found the end zone from 29 yards out on the fourth play of the frame. 14-14. Two big runs, two TDs for the Jackets. A somewhat rare three-and-out forced by the defense gave Georgia Tech the ball back and a chance to score again. Unfortunately for the Jackets, a three-and-out of their own and a nice punt return by Miami gave the Hurricanes great field position with about ten minutes left in the half. Another big play through the air was followed by an impressive stand deep inside the red zone to hold Miami to three points.
A little bit of magic happened on the next sequence as Tech punted and then pretty quickly forced another Miami fumble. This time, Jaylon King would snatch it out of the air and sprint to the end zone to give Georgia Tech its first lead of the game. A missed FG by Miami and a time-consuming yet fruitless drive by the Jackets closed out the first half with Georgia Tech leading 21-17.
The second half started much like the first. Miami took very little time finding the end zone thanks in large part to an opening pass play of 60 yards. After 31 minutes of play, Miami’s backup QB Tyler Van Dyke had already thrown for 298 yards. The Jackets would throw a haymaker of their own on the following drive in the form of a bubble screen to Jahmyr. He followed some fantastic blocks, broke a tackle, and tight-roped down the sideline for 50-yards to find the end zone. Tech’s defense came up with a huge 4th down stop on the following possession, but unfortunately a Brent Cimaglia missed FG kept the lead at 4.
Miami’s next drive saw the end of the third quarter and another resilient performance by the Tech defense to hold the Hurricanes to three points inside the 15-yard line. A blindside block erased what would have been Gibbs’ second big kick return on the next play, and a quick three-and-out gave Miami the ball with a chance to take the lead in great field position. A pass defense that struggled all day allowed Miami to find the end zone 5 plays later, but Juanyeh Thomas intercepted the two-point conversion and ran it 100 yards the other way to bring Georgia Tech within three. If this game featured anything, it was a lot of highlights.
The Yellow Jacket offense went three-and-out, but would force Miami’s second turnover on downs on the following possession, giving Tech a chance to take the lead with just over six minutes remaining. A holding call on TE Dylan Leonard erased a first down conversion, and Tech couldn’t recover, punting on 4th & 22 with 2:47 remaining. The Yellow Jacket defense allowed a few first downs, but eventually got a stop and forced Miami to punt with less than a minute to go. A big first down play to Adonicas Sanders was erased upon review because Jeff Sims’ knee was down after he fumbled the snap. Georgia Tech failed to convert a 4th down, Miami took the knee with 13 seconds left and walked off the field victorious.
By my count, Miami averaged 9 yards on first down throughout the course of the game. Turnovers gave Georgia Tech a chance to win, but costly penalties, a makeable missed FG, and a non-existent pass defense were too much to overcome.
Up next - Boston College, Saturday 11/13 at 3:30 PM, Bobby Dodd Stadium. See you there. Go Jackets!