Preview: Georgia Tech at Miami
by Dave Congrove
Playing Georgia Tech has been a nightmare for Miami. The Ramblin' Wreck have taken 8-of-10 dating back to 1970, and recent games have repeatedly altered the course of Miami's season.
The Hurricanes entered last year's Thursday night game in late November in control of their own destiny for the Coastal title, but allowed 470 yards as Georgia Tech cruised 41-23. The game wasn't even as close as that sounds as the Yellow Jackets built a 41-10 lead through three quarters. The victory was the fourth straight for the Yellow Jackets over the Hurricanes, and snapped Miami's 5-game winning streak.
In 2006, a loss at Georgia Tech derailed a 6-1 start by the 'Canes and began a 4-game Miami losing skid while the Jackets went on to play Wake Forest for the conference championship. And in 2005, Georgia Tech halted Miami's 8-game winning streak, clearing the path for Virginia Tech and Florida State to play for the ACC title.
The Hurricanes have had an extra week to prepare for this game after rallying for a 38-34 win at Florida State on Labor Day Monday. A late goal line stand preserved that victory.
Miami was the computer's underdog in each of the last three games against Georgia Tech, so 'Canes fans will be happy to hear that the computer gives the nod to them this time around, albeit by a slim 3.40 points. While both teams enjoy Top 25 rankings in the Coaches' and AP Polls, the computer ranks Miami 29th and Georgia Tech 30th.
Georgia Tech is 2-0 despite blowing a 24-0 lead at home against Clemson last week. The Yellow Jackets won 30-27 on a 36-yard field goal with 56 seconds left.
Head coach Paul Johnson is 11-4 at Georgia Tech after just a little more than one season at the helm. He is 118-43 overall, having compiled a 43-19 record in his last five seasons at Navy. His triple option offense helped him lead Georgia Southern to consecutive 1-AA championships (now known as FCS) in 1999 and 2000.
Georgia Tech ranks 4th nationally in rushing with 636 yards in two games. Last year's ACC Player of the Year, Jonathan Dwyer, has 80.5 yards per game. QB Josh Nesbitt leads the team with 92 yards per game, and Anthony Allen is averaging 75 yards per contest after going for 127 yards on just 5 carries vs. Clemson.
QB Jacory Harris was the star of Miami's opening week win over FSU as he threw for 386 yards and 2 TD's. His 4th quarter heroics led to 21 Miami points and included a TD pass to Craig Cooper and another TD rushing.
Though Cooper's 3-yard run proved to be the game-winner, Miami's rushing attack was barely existent. As a team, the 'Canes totaled just 90 yards on the ground.
Miami head coach Randy Shannon is just 13-13 overall at Miami, and only 7-10 in the ACC.
The Thursday night game will be televised nationally on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.