By Michael Cunningham
There’s something about facing Miami that makes the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets seem unlike themselves.
Suddenly those option pitches get smothered by swarming Hurricanes defenders at key times, and quarterback Tevin Washington is running from pressure. Now the small leaks in Tech’s secondary become gaping holes for Miami’s wide receivers and the Jackets can’t get any pressure on the quarterback.
The Jackets lost to Miami 42-36 in overtime Saturday at Bobby Stadium for their fourth consecutive defeat in the series. The Hurricanes are a young team, too, so many of their playmakers will be around for a while, and the poise they showed in winning Saturday figures to improve with maturity.
Miami roared to a 19-0 lead and then gave up 36 consecutive points. The Hurricanes came back to tie the score in the final minute of regulation after they missed a field goal and then held Tech on a goal-line stand in overtime.
The Hurricanes won the game when running back Mike James ran 25 yards for a touchdown.
“All game we tried to keep going,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “If you look at the momentum, you are not going to be happy. We hung in there.”
The Hurricanes appeared to be the more inspired team from the start. They raced to the 19-0 lead largely on the strength of big passing plays.
Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris completed 31 of his 52 attempts for 436 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was open all game long and finished with nine catches for 184 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown on the third play of the game.
“We had a great game plan,” Morris said. “We knew a lot of things we wanted to attack. There were a lot of things in Georgia Tech’s defense that left some hole for us, some crossing routes and over routes and things like that. I just felt like our passing game was really sound. Everybody knew where to be and I trusted my receivers.”
It helped that Miami’s pass protection was so sound. In spite of starting four sophomores along the offensive line, the Hurricanes didn’t allow a sack, and Morris wasn’t pressured often.
Tech’s rally from 19 points down actually was sparked by an unusual penalty: an unsportsmanlike-conduct foul against Golden that led to a first down at the Tech 36. Up to that point, Tech had managed only 39 yards on 12 plays; the Jackets eventually would pile up 419 yards, including 314 passing, but Miami made lots of key stops.
The final one came in overtime, when linebacker Eddie Johnson stopped Washington for no gain on fourth-and-1 at Miami’s 2-yard line.