MIAMI — After previously unbeaten Georgia Tech lost its second consecutive game – and third in a row to Miami – Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson summed up Saturday’s 24-7 loss.
“Something we’re doing ain’t right,” he said.
Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) came into the game averaging 517 yards of offense.
The No. 20 Yellow Jackets got only 211 on Saturday, their lowest total since a loss to Iowa in the Orange Bowl after the 2009 season.
“It’s frustrating every time you lose,” said Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, who threw for 63 yards and ran for 36 more – a team-best. “All week long we had a good game plan to come out and get a victory. It’s frustrating for me because I feel I let the team down.”
Washington threw right to JoJo Nicholas on the Yellow Jackets’ first offensive snap of the game, a mistake that set Miami up at the Georgia Tech 46. It was doubly costly for the Yellow Jackets, with center Jay Finch going down with what appeared to be a knee injury and eventually getting carted off the sideline for evaluation.
The Hurricanes needed 12 plays to score from there, quarterback Jacory Harris extending the drive with a
13-yard pass to Phillip Dorsett on fourth-and-3 from the 39, and Mike James later capping it with a 2-yard run for a 7-0 Miami lead.
Then, with 10:17 left in the half, Georgia Tech’s Zach Laskey dropped back to receive a punt, the bouncing ball coming straight at him as he stood at the 9-yard line.
He tried to grab it as a horde of Hurricanes sprinted toward him, misplayed it and could only watch as the football kept going into the end zone. Nicholas dove on it just past the goal line for a touchdown that put Miami up 14-0.
“On that punt, my job is to get to the ball,” Nicholas said. “It just so happened the ball came to me.”
A 20-play, 92-yard drive for Georgia Tech on the scoreboard. Washington completed all three of his attempted passes during the marathon possession, plus rushed the ball nine times for 22 yards – including a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
“We never hit any big plays,” Johnson said. “We had a heck of a drive in the second quarter to get back in the game, then we give up the touchdown.”
That they did.
Travis Benjamin ran the ensuing kickoff back 48 yards, and Harris hit Tommy Streeter with a 32-yard gain on first down to get Miami to the Georgia Tech 14. Two plays later, Lamar Miller ran up the middle for a touchdown from there with 25 seconds left in the half, restoring the 14-point cushion and getting help from a block by guard Jon Feliciano.
It was a costly celebration. He was hurt jumping around after the score, leaving the game with a leg injury.