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Georgia Tech Post Game Wrap Up

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Hopefully you weren't set back too harshly in the wallet buying a new remote after the 2nd quarter. Surely your dog cleaned up that mess you made throwing your rum and root onto the wall during the 3rd quarter. And by all means, you better have bought that random stranger standing next to you at the bar a drink after you bear hugged him off the ground during the last three drives. And did you know, in the great state of Georgia, 12 men on the field is all good as long as he's running toward the sideline? Thrashers be damned, hockey rules making a comeback in the ATL!

Well, that sure was fun, wasn't it?

9/22/2012 - Miami 42, Georgia Tech 36 (OT) - 3-1 (2-0 in ACC)

If you frequent this fine site on a regular basis, you saw plenty of impending doomsday scenarios going into Atlanta. And honestly, why not? The horrendous Miami defense had given up 200+ yards rushing to their last two opponents, one of them a 1-AA school. In comes a hybrid triple option wishbone rushing attack, with thoughts of lulling you to sleep before dropping a couple 80 yard touchdown bombs over top of you? Thoughts of 2008 rang true in our heads.

The consensus in beating any run heavy offense, especially an option based one, is to get the lead early and force them out of their comfort zone and into passing the ball. Which is exactly what Miami did. On their third play from scrimmage from their own 35 yard line, Stephen Morris hit Phillip Dorsett down the right sideline for a 65 yard wheel route touchdown. Georgia Tech's first drive went 25 yards before Jimmy Gaines blew up their 4th down conversion attempt on Miami's 43 yard line. After a couple punts back and forth, Miami was able to drive down the field for a Jake Wieclaw field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, Georgia Tech's deep return man took some bad advice from his up man and took a knee in the endzone after crossing the plain. Two points for a safety and Mike James first touchdown later, and the (1st quarter) rout was on! Unfortunately, Miami couldn't pack up and hit the nearest Taco Mac for some onion rings. They had to play another three quarters.

You really couldn't imagine a better start for Miami. Up 19-0 after 15 minutes, GT making dumb mistakes, their vaunted rushing attack contained on their first two possessions. GT got on the board with a 91 yard drive, but Miami looked ready to answer and potentially put this game away for good with a 26-7 lead. Morris hit Dorsett again across the middle for a 35 yard gain, but Dorsett didn't protect the ball and Brandon Watts knocked it loose for a Tech recovery. Two minutes later Georgia Tech had scored again, and all the road momentum Miami had accomplished in the 1st quarter was a distant memory. Malcolm Lewis went down with a gruesome ankle injury, All-ACC punter Dalton Botts as well, and it really felt like the wheels were coming off in full force. In a vacuum, Miami going into halftime down only three points on the road as 14 point underdogs would be considered a positive. In the noise of reality, it sucked.

Georgia Tech picked up right where they left off in the 3rd quarter, and a new rout was on. One could have mistaken this for a Heat game with all the scoring runs. Miami the first 19, Georgia Tech the next 36, and well, I think we know who went on the final run. Miami stopped the bleeding with a Wieclaw field goal, and closed within 7 points early in the 4th quarter, but just couldn't manage to tie the game afterwards. An 88 yard drive to the GT four yard line that resulted in no points looked to be the end against a time consuming offense such at GT. But the Canes got the ball back with 2:06 remaining, and Stephen Morris, already having played the game of his life, drove the team down the field without even using a 3rd down. Overtime? Overtime.

Miami won the toss, deferred to play defense first, and in two plays Georgia Tech was at the 6 yard line. Two defensive stuffs later and it was 4th and 1 at the 2. Miami coaches were deciding strategy on the fly.

"Do you want to call time-out when we see the formation?" Golden asked defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio.

"I got it, I got it," D'Onofrio said.

Then Eddie Johnson happened.

One Mike James untouched TD run later (his 4th (!!!) of the game), and the Hurricanes had completed an improbable, damn near impossible given the youth of this team, comeback for the ages.

Stephen Morris finished 31 of 52 with 436 passing yards, one of the best games in program history. Mike James showed he can carry the team on his back, rushing for 89 yards at a 5.9 per carry clip. Phillip Dorsett (9 catches for 184 yards) and especially Davon Johnson (7 catches for 107 yards) stepped up big time as Allen Hurns was still coming back from missing the previous 1.75 games for concussion like symptoms. Even the much maligned defense came up huge when it was needed. This was a major stepping stone for the program under Al Golden. This team is still very young, and will probably get blown out inexplicably another time this year. The overall depth is still a major issue. Injuries are piling up. But to go on the road, in a feathered bangs hostile environment, without your best defensive player and losing a top three receiver early, shows tremendous growth for this team. Hopefully we can all look back at this week as the program turning point for when it all started clicking.

Local takes:

Sun-Sentinel - Game recap and Rally confirms program is on the rise

Palm Beach Post - Al Golden's restless night

Miami Herald - Come from behind win proves team has heart

Atlanta Journal Constitution - Georgia Tech tries to regroup after loss and Paul Johnson's offense no longer works


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