Georgia Tech was 1-5 coming into this game. They were far and away the worst team in the conference. They were transitioning from an offense that they ran for 100 years. And they beat Miami in overtime in one of the worse losses this program has seen. And there have been a lot of them.
Here’s how it happened:
The Hurricanes chose to defer and for good reason — the defense came to play early on. They forced two three and outs to open up the game thanks to a really good tackle by Romeo Finley on a play that looked like it would move the sticks and a Trevon Hill sack that halted the Ramblin Wreck’s second drive.
But the Hurricanes opening drive on offense couldn't have gone worse. Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry was sacked in the end zone on what appeared to be a screen play and fumbled in the end zone and GT scored on the recovery to give them an early 7-0 lead.
The following drive was highlighted by a 17-yard pass from Perry to K.J. Osborn in between multiple defenders on 3rd and 11, which was the catalyst to the Hurricanes 11 play 64-yard scoring drive. N’Kosi Perry capped off the possession with a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven.
Failure to convert on third down has been detrimental to the offenses success and that play showed what could happen when you make big time plays like that.
A 51-yard punt return by Osborn following Hill’s sack led to a 13-yard touchdown reception by the redshirt senior that put Miami up a score late in the first quarter.
Deejay Dallas was also hurt and never returned in this game.
And while the Hurricanes defense continued to be dominant throughout the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets ran a fake punt and Miami CB D.J. Ivey did not move to cover Nathan Cottrell, who caught the 41-yard touchdown pass from punter Pressley Harvin. Cottrell had three catches for 12 yards throughout his entire career before that long reception. It wouldn't be the only blunder of the game for the sophomore corner.
But the Hurricanes defense continued to bring it as Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney got in on the action after a long punt by Louis Hedley pinned Georgia Tech deep in their own territory. A pressure by Quarterman forced Jackets quarterback James Graham to throw it away and Pinckey nearly forced a safety with a sack on the quarterback that could have gone either way.
Regardless, the Canes got the ball back went on a four play 32-yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a 19-yard screen to sophomore running back Cam’Ron Harris that put the Hurricanes up 21-14.
Soon after, as time winded down in the first half, Georgia Tech got the ball back and drove down the field on a 6 play 80-yard drive that lasted all off 53 seconds before James Graham hit Ahmarean Brown, who burned Ivey, for a 35-yard score to tie the game at 21 going into halftime.
And everything seemed to change after that.
On the first drive of the third quarter, Perry scrambled on an option route and took a shot from a Tech defender. He hurt his shoulder on the play and Jarren Williams came into the game for him. Williams took a sack for an 11-yard loss on third down that forced the Hurricanes to punt and Hedley, once again, pinned the Jackets deep in their own territory.
Overall third quarter was not a good one for the Hurricanes. They were out gained 97 to 39, allowed 4-5 third downs on defense, and Georgia Tech held the ball for over 10 minutes of the quarter.
N’Kosi Perry did come back into the game, but it didn't really result in anything.
The defense was constantly on the field, failing to make the big play needed to really shift the momentum in any way. Pinckney came out of the game due to injury and walk-on striker Ryan Ragone played a plethora of snaps in his absence, which was noticeable.
But finally, with 8:46 left in the 4th quarter, Quarterman caused and recovered by Yellow Jacket running back Jordan Mason. It drastically shifted the momentum in Miami’s favor...for the time being.
On the first play of the Hurricanes gained possession, Cam’Ron Harris took a run for 42-yards, the longest of the year for him, which put him over the 100-yard mark for the first time of his career. He finished the game with 136 yards on the ground and 31 yards receiving with a touchdown.
Perry then connected with Mike Harley for 17-yards, which put the Hurricanes into the redzone. On 2nd and 6 of that drive, Perry threw a pass up to Brevin Jordan, who was held, giving the Hurricanes a fresh set of downs and the ball on the 8, but the Hurricanes didn't go any further and Bubba Baxa missed a 27-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Hurricanes a three point lead.
And after a defensive stop, the Hurricanes got the ball back with 4:03 left in the 4th and Perry immediately connected with Dee Wiggins for a 50-yard gain, putting the Hurricanes in great position to finish this game on their terms.
Turner Davidson came into kick the potential game-winning 25-yard field goal with :37 seconds left in the game and it... gets blocked. The Hurricanes finished the game 0-3 on field goals — all from within 35-yards.
The Canes and Yellow Jackets headed to overtime and the Canes chose to go on defense.
Georgia Tech scored three plays later on three runs by Jordan Mason, including a 22-yarder that put them at the 1. There was just so many missed tackles on that play. It has been the story of the day.
Miami got the ball back and simply couldn't make it happen. Perry hit tight end Brevin Jordan for what was called as a first down, before being reviewed. It looked like he was short, but the review awarded him forward progress. After the referees measured, he simply didn't get enough on the play and that was that.
The Hurricanes are now 3-4 on the year and 1-3 in the ACC with virtually no chance at playing for anything of relevance this year. It was a humiliating loss to a struggling football team at a really crucial point of the year.
Miami travels to Pittsburgh next Saturday Oct. 26 to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers