Game Preview: Miami vs Georgia Tech

Jubilant Big Men And Sad GT Fans - Joe Robbins

Miami finally gets into ACC play this week when the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets come to town on Saturday. It's been a few weeks since Miami fans have had to worry about the outcome of a game; so what better way to dip your toe back in the water than with an ACC Coastal foe who runs a gimmick offense that can score at the drop of a hat.

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History - While Miami comes into this game with a four game winning streak against Georgia Tech, it's important to remember that GT still holds the overall lead in the series - winning 10 of the 18 games played. Some quick math and... damn... we were 4-10 against GT as recently as coming into the 2009 season. Now Tech did a lot of their damage in the 70's, but still, we have winning records against historical powerhouses, so you wouldn't figure GT would be a team Miami struggled against. One reason Miami may have had some trouble is that out of 18 games, only five were held in Miami. Even at home UM is only 3-2. With the record the way it is, why is it not a bigger rivalry? Well in the 80s and 90s the teams only played once in a bowl game, and it wasn't until 2004 that the two started playing annually in ACC play.

For those who started watching Miami in, say... 2009, you may not see the trouble with playing GT. For those who watched the 2008 game (a game I still randomly think about and get real sad over) they know exactly why. It was a ranked Miami team going in as winners of 5 straight. The defense looked good the week before, and they were looking to get a piece of the ACC Coastal lead. I went to a friend's house to watch it. A lot of things happened that night; and I think I fainted because of the carnage. But I can report assignment football was not played. Something like 472 yards were given up on the ground, and that was well before Miami started giving up that many rushing yards. I think like 3 GT players had 100 yard games - one of which got it in the first half. Something good came from the loss, with Miami not losing since, but what I am trying to say is: FEAR THE OPTION. Talented defenses have (and will) look silly because of it.

Georgia Tech - GT is 3-1 (2-1 in the ACC) with wins over North Carolina and Duke, and their one loss coming to Virginia Tech. While the offense gets most of the attention, the GT total defense is ranked 9th and their scoring defense is ranked 8th. Dating back to the 2012 season, the Tech defense has only given up 10 second-half points in the last six games. They have 13 pass break ups and four picks that they have returned for a combined 180 yards and two touchdowns this season.

It's Georgia Tech's running game that cause people bouts of IBS, though ranking 10th nationally with a 291 yard per game average. They have three backs with 18+ carries that average over 5 yards a run. They have four players with about 140 or more rushing yards, with the QB leading the team with 265 yards. Since Paul Johnson took over as coach at GT six seasons ago, they've run for 12.3 miles (21,527 yds) on offense. Because of the attention that needs to be paid to that running game, it opens up the  deep passing game for GT. They are averaging nearly 20 yards a completion, with 7 touchdowns through the air this season. Now option quarterbacks usually are not the best passers, even though you will always hear that the most current one " adds another dimension"  to the offense. This year it seems to somewhat true. QB Vad Lee (awesome name) is about 50% with 562 yards passing and an efficacy rating of 148.1%.

MIami- Credit needs to be given to the defensive line. Last season was a historically bad season for the group, giving up 1,128 yards  rushing in the first 5 games. This season, through four games, they have only given up 493 rushing yards; a huge improvement that will be put to the test against a team that has over 22 one play scoring drives since Paul Johnson took over. Golden and company have preached no free-lancing, and the importance of everyone doing their job. It will be crucial that Miami does just that, because GT thrives off of a single player being out of position. The defense will have to deal with being cut by the GT line, another reason GT is always fun to play. Golden spoke about players not only being where they are supposed to be, but also paying attention, so they don't end up just another defender on the ground.

The offense for Miami is coming in a bit banged up, with QB Stephen Morris dealing with a bone bruise and RB Eduardo Clements dealing with a hamstring injury. They do get center Shane McDermott back from injury this week though. Everybody will be looking to see how this group preforms against a normal ACC opponent. With the bi-polar talent level of the schedule until now, it's been hard to gauge just how good this offense is. The defense has improved, but we've seen Tech put up points against good teams before, so the offense needs to be able to put up points if needed.

Player To Watch - For Georgia Tech it's Vad Lee, as QB of an option offense he does it all. Lee has about 77 more rushing yards than our second leading rusher Gus Edwards, and 60 less passing yards than Stephen Morris. Yes, the wings on their offense are dangerous, but Lee at QB has the ability of throwing Miami off balance with the deep pass. Lee has accounted for 10 touchdowns this season, 3 rushing and 7 passing. On defense LB Jabari Hunt-Days has accounted for 18 total tackles: 0.5 a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception and pass break up. You also need to keep an eye on DE Jeremia Attaochu - last season he was responsible for 10 sacks. He only has 1 sack this season and 2 tackles for loss, but Miami needs to keep Morris (and his sore foot) as comfortable as possible back in the pocket, so they cannot afford Attaochu to have a big game.

Should We Worry - Yes...you never know when you're gonna have a game where the spread makes you look foolish.  The defense has come miles from last year and has experience along the line - both good things. Miami has looked good against GT in the recent past, and while they won last year, they didn't exactly shut Tech down. I think the run defense will continue to impress and the offense will be able to more than make up for any broken play given up on defense. But I was also pretty optimistic in 2008...

Prediction: UM 42 GT 24

BROADCAST INFORMATION courtesy of UM

October 5, 2013 • 3:30 p.m. ET • Miami Gardens, Fla. • Sun Life Stadium (74,916)

Series History: GT leads 10-8, but Miami has won last four meetings ... Miami 4-2 vs. GT when ranked.

ESPNUAnish Shroff, Play-by-PlayKelly Stouffer, AnalystNiki Noto, Sideline Reporter
WQAM 560 AM • Joe Zagacki, PXP • Don Bailey Jr., Analyst • Josh Darrow, Sideline Reporter
RADIO CARACOL 1260 AM • Roly Martin, PXP • Pepe Campos, Analyst • Joe Martinez, Analyst
WVUM 90.5 FM • Chris Wittyngham • AJ Ricketts • Neil Dwyer 
Satellite Radio • Sirius 85 • XM 85


Below is Miami’s latest ACC Injury Report heading into Saturday’s conference opener against Georgia Tech. The next report will be released Monday.

OUT

Nate Dortch – lower extremity

Eduardo Clements – lower extremity

Rashawn Scott – upper extremity

Danny Isidora – lower extremity

SURGERY / OUT FOR SEASON

Hunter Knighton – upper extremity



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