The Miami Hurricanes will play host to the struggling Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday, November 6th at 12:30pm on ESPN3. The ‘Canes are 4-4 and have knocked off two ranked teams in a row in NCSU and Pitt. GT, on the other hand, has dropped games to UVA and Virginia Tech in recent weeks.
This summer, the Canyonero keys to victory over GT were:
1- Cut down on penalties. Miami doesn’t want to get into a sloppy game with GT. Don’t play down to an opponent that’s 20+ SP+ rankings below you.
2- Stop the run. This one is a major concern. The combo of Jeff Sims and Jahmyr Gibbs has the potential to knife through Miami’s bad DE’s and LB’s.
3- Special teams. Kicking wins championships. Do you want to know why Bill Belichick focuses so much on special teams? How about the times it’s won or lost Nick Saban a championship? This game will be about field position, keeping kick offs away from Gibbs, and who can make a clutch field goal or two.
The doppler (I felt this needed a pun)
The SP+ has Miami 25th overall, 15th on offense, 42nd on defense, and 39th in the kicking game. Bill Connelly’s nerdy math metric has Georgia Tech rated 58th overall, 55th on offense, 54th on defense, and 91st in the kicking game.
Tech is scoring only 28.5 points per game (73rd of 130 in FBS) and allowing 28.5 PPG (83rd of 130 in FBS). Miami is scoring 32.9 PPG (34th in FBS) and allowing 30.5 PPG (97th in FBS). In other words, Miami will once again look to use Tyler Van Dyke’s arm to outscore their opponent rather than stop them.
The GT offense
The GT offense is perplexing. One minute Jeff Sims looks like an All-ACC QB that’s backed up by an All-ACC type running back in Jahmyr Gibbs. The next minute Sims is throwing some ugly pass into triple coverage for a pick six and Gibbs can’t get back to the line of scrimmage.
In ‘21, Sims is averaging 8.5 yards per pass attempt, completed 61% of his passes, and has thrown 11 TD’s and six interceptions. Gibbs has rushed for 524 yards and only two TD’s while adding one through the air. Sims is GT’s second leading rusher with 380 yards and four TD’s (including sack yardage).
Malachi Carter and Kyric McGowan are the receiving threats to worry about for the ‘Canes defense. Carter averages 15.6 yards per catch, while McGowan has seven TD’s and 15.3 yards per catch. Sims doesn’t spread the wealth much, he only has two other receivers he relies on in Gibbs, and Andoicas Sanders. Gibbs is averaging 14.7 ypc while Sanders has three TD’s and 14.7 ypc, too.
Above- Do I worry about Sims in the QB draw run game? For sure. Sims is a better runner than Sam Howell and equally as willing to take a shot to pick up a first down, something I was a little disappointed in regarding Kenny Pickett from a coaching perspective.
Here, Sims reads the linebacker to the RB. When the LB runs to the swing, Sims runs. If the LB blitzed or sat- Sims would throw the swing. It’s a “pass run option.” Miami ran this with Malik Rosier more than D’Eriq King but also King enjoyed the fruits of the QB draw labor himself at times.
Above- Expect gap scheme running from GT vs. Miami. With the defensive ends coming so far up field, it just makes sense to use a guard to kick them out and a tackle to wrap to the LB. Hell, the tackle might wind up wrapping to the safety with how aggressive James Williams is and how bad the linebackers are.
Above- Another thing that works for GT’s run game is split zone. Again, and aggressive DE is kicked out by the TE and Gibbs has room to cut back and wiggle.
Above- Sims is turnover prone, he throws a pick and/or fumbles in just about every game he plays in. But he also has the ability to drop dimes likes this.
Above- Sims can hit on intermediate to deep balls, too. Expect Y-Cross and Shallow Cross to be go-to plays against the porous middle of the field for Miami.
Above- Here is where you see Sims’ faults. In an obvious passing situation he stares down his receiver and pays for it. Tyrique Stevenson and Williams can both come up with INT’s again on Saturday if Sims is this lazy about shoulder shrugging off defenders.
The GT defense
The Tech defense is also hit or miss. They hit big against Clemson and UNC, but have missed against Pitt and even Virginia Tech at times. They’ve been using more odd front and not bringing enough pressure from it, which Miami can pick apart if Van Dyke has time to throw like I think he will. If GT uses their UNC game plan this could be quite the battle as Howell struggled mightily against the Jackets this year.
GT’s clear best defender has been Charlie Thomas. Thomas has eight tackles for loss, three sacks and two interceptions. I would suspect he’ll line up all over the field to confuse Van Dyke and Miami OC Rhett Lashlee. Jared Ivey has six TFL’s and 1.5 sacks, while Jordan Domineck has forced three fumbles on the season.
Above- The GT cornerbacks are trash. Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley need to eat this week. Tyler Van Dyke should have time to throw, and these CB’s can’t hang with Miami receivers or if they’re stuck 1-on-1 with Jaylan Knighton.
Above- This isn’t even a good play design... a boot in the end zone with only one receiving threat. But it works against the GT bad cornerback play.
Above- Rhett Lashlee finally busted out some of the fun stuff he ran (Sonny Dykes ran) at SMU a week ago vs. Pitt. Let’s see some more plays that mess with the visual ability of the defenders. Make their eyes do some work!
Above- But if GT plays Miami like they did UNC, Van Dyke and Knighton could be in for a long night. Miami’s O-Line has looked vastly improved since the play calling has gotten more innovative, but, if Tech can send blitzes that get home they just might have a shot at beating Miami.
ESPN has Miami’s win probability at 80.9%, and Vegas has Miami as a 10.5 point favorite. Something to keep an eye on is GT’s improved kicking game. Brent Cimaglia is 24-of-25 on PAT’s and 10-of-14 on field goals. Compared to the previous two years that’s like having Carlos Huerta all of a sudden line up for the Jackets at placekicker.
Also, Gibbs is a dangerous kick returner if given the opportunity and we know Coach Patke’s history of coverage teams is piss poor at best. If I’m Tech I throw the kitchen sink at Miami regarding trick plays on offense, blitz packages on defense, go 100% at blocking punts, onside kicks, etc. What does Geoff Collins have to lose? Not much at 3-5.
Prediction: Miami by 7.