Crazy first quarter sets stage for game

By Michael Cunningham

The Miami Hurricanes topped Georgia Tech at the end in large part because the Yellow Jackets were so bad at the start.

The Jackets trailed 19-0 after a quarter, their largest first-quarter deficit in more than 30 years. They suffered from unforced penalties, mental gaffes, blown coverages and a general malaise.

The Jackets rallied with 36 consecutive points, only to give the lead back in regulation and lose 42-36 in overtime. Tech couldn’t finish after it struggled to get started.

The problems began on the third play of the game. Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris, unhurried by Tech’s anemic pass rush, found Philip Dorsett running free in the secondary for a 65-yard touchdown pass.

The Jackets looked ready to make amends when they quickly moved to midfield. But the Hurricanes stuffed Orwin Smith for a 7-yard loss on fourth-and-3.

The Jackets stopped Mike James for a 1-yard gain on second-and-3, but were too slow to substitute players against Miami’s no-huddle. The illegal-substitution penalty gave the Hurricanes a first down, and on the next play, Morris passed to Dorsett for 40 yards to set up Miami’s field goal.

Another Tech mental mistake gave the ball back to Miami.

Smith fielded the ensuing kickoff in the end zone and started to bring the ball out. He changed his mind but stumbled forward and touched his hand to the ground outside the end zone for a safety that extended Miami’s lead to 12-0.

Another illegal-substitution penalty on Tech gave the Hurricanes an extra down on second-and-goal. James scored on the next play to give Miami a 19-0 lead to end the opening quarter.

That was Tech’s largest deficit to end the first quarter since it trailed Purdue 21-0 in the 1978 Peach Bowl. The start of the second quarter didn’t go much better for Tech.

Smith was indecisive while running back the kickoff and was caught flat-footed. Miami’s Eduardo Clemens made a slicing tackle at the Tech 9-yard line.

Three plays later Smith broke free for a big run,but Miami’s Brandon McGee dragged him down 7 yards short of the end zone. It didn’t matter, though, because a holding penalty against Tech nullified the play.

After all of those miscues, the Jackets finally got on track. Less than 10 minutes later after the big deficit, they had their first lead against Miami since the first quarter of the 2009 meeting.

13 comments Add your comment

Johnson's gimmick offense

September 22nd, 2012
11:29 pm

Crazy first quarter? Is that what the young kids are calling it now….
I call it poor coaching and not being able to get your prepared.

Now Your Left with Goober Johnson

September 22nd, 2012
11:59 pm

After Paul Johnson gets fired, he can put on the beanie cap and change your oil and wash your windshield at the local gas station like Goober on the Andy Griffeth Show. Johnson is a joke just like Goober.


September 23rd, 2012
12:25 am

Both you guys are a joke!!! The offense didn’t loose the game the defense lost the game. Outside of the 4th and goal in OT, The offense clicked. The missed blocking assignment on the OT 4th down hurt.

[...] Crazy first quarter sets stage for game By Michael Cunningham. The Miami Hurricanes topped Georgia Tech at the end in large part because the Yellow Jackets were so bad at the start. The Jackets trailed 19-0 after a quarter, their largest first-quarter deficit in more than 30 years. They … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Road Scholar

September 23rd, 2012
8:45 am

The guy who threw down our offensive player by the facemask should have been thrown out of the game. Not only did he gain advantage by grabbing the facemask, he then turned to whip the offensive player to the ground. Blatant disregard by the refs. If you have to leave the game because your helmet comes off to reduce the likelihood of a concussion, then do we need someone to break his neck being manhandled and whipped to the ground by the facemask?

Oh and their offensive tackles held throughout the game…with no calls and Tech players repeatedly complaining to the refs!

Tech lost because they failed again in the second half to open up their offense. The defense lost the game, but were on the field forever the second half due to the offense being poor.

Jim 70

September 23rd, 2012
9:00 am

TW needs to be bencher, and we need to do something about the D – two loses when you have the lead with minutes left to play. Miami has a TO but didn’t even need it.

[...] a quarter, their largest first-quarter deficit in more than 30 years. They … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) This entry was posted in First and tagged Dame, Decade, first, Improves, Notre, Time by . [...]

Rooty Tooty

September 23rd, 2012
12:08 pm

Doesn’t bother me to loose when we get our butt kicked but I sure as hell hate to give the other team the game. That’s what we did yesterday. Either play some sort of defense or get off the field.


September 23rd, 2012
3:01 pm

We suck, NO HEART


September 23rd, 2012
3:01 pm

When the going got tough we got gone.

Island Jacket

September 24th, 2012
11:20 am

Johnson’s offense did the job…. The Defense is the problem. No pass rush gave Miami a chance. Not one blitz or anything. Morris was sitting in the pocket for way over 10 seconds with no pressure.

Washington also missed some key reads in the late 3rd quarter.


September 24th, 2012
12:33 pm

Johnson took his foot off the gas in the 4th quarter and worried more about running the clock than he did first downs. One or two more first downs for GT and it would have been a different story….

Charlie GT 1985

September 26th, 2012
11:07 am

The whole team failed to do their jobs. They were whipped at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. It didn’t help that Miami’s linemen held on almost every play. Some so blatant that I can’t believe they were not called. I’m not one to point to the refs but one on Tech’s sideline was clearly biased towards Miami. Towards the end of the game, the D-line was barely trying. There were several plays where linemen made no effort to get off their stunts/blockers and merely jogged in an effort to avoid the play. Not sure how they could have been so up for UVA and so down for UM.

I am not a big Tevin Washington fan but he has gotten better each week. I’d love to see more Vad but Tevin is not the problem. Orwin Smith looks like he is afraid of the ball and of being hit. He does not run with the authority he has in the past. His “confidence” problem led to the stupid safety. That was one of the stupidest plays I’ve seen a Tech player make in a LONG time. Inexcusable for a senior. I hope he is removed from the kickoff team. I’d rather have a hungry underclassman playing hard than anyone who is timid. A kick-returner simply cannot be timid. You go or you don’t. Period.

With all that said, this game is behind us and I hope Tech will proceed that way. We have a good team that is only going to get better. So let’s get behind them and support this good group of kids.