There is a hurricane watch that has the nation’s eyes on South Florida, but it has nothing to do with the weather.
In their first conference matchup of the season, the Miami Hurricanes (5-0, 1-0 ACC) defeated Georgia Tech 45-30 Saturday.
The Canes have won the last five meetings with the Yellow Jackets (3-2, 2-2 ACC).
Georgia Tech found the end zone on its opening drive, but Miami quarterback Stephen Morris responded in 32 seconds. His 40-yard touchdown pass to junior Philip Dorsett concluded the two-play drive.
Morris recorded his fifth career 300-yard passing game. He finished 17-for-22 with 324 yards and three touchdowns.
“Gutsy,” said coach Al Golden, describing the senior’s performance. “You can tell he’s not 100 percent, but these nine days coming up are huge.”
Miami plays on the road at North Carolina on Oct. 17.
Morris threw two interceptions to seemingly wide open Georgia Tech defenders, but Golden was pleased with his poise.
“He threw an interception, saw it wrong and again, he’s not an excuse guy. He came right over and said, ‘I thought it was too high, I made a mistake,’ and we just moved on,” Golden said.
The Hurricanes turned the ball over four times, including a fumble by sophomore Duke Johnson and a dropped punt by Dorsett.
Golden said earlier in the week that the Canes could not expect to beat the Yellow Jackets if they made mental errors or turned it over.
“We have to get those things fixed,” he said after the game. “We had some untimely penalties – one before the half cost us four points. We had a couple of fumbles and the dropped punt, which we have to get cleaned up. We absolutely have to get it cleaned up. We have nine days, and we’re going to go to work hard here on that.”
Johnson made up for his fumble with 184 rushing yards, and he surpassed 300 all-purpose yards for the second time. In two career games against Georgia Tech, Johnson has 460 combined all-purpose yards.
Senior Allen Hurns posted his first career 100-yard receiving game. He took a short pass from Morris 69 yards down the sideline for a touchdown, and Hurns also got his first rushing attempt, which went for 13 yards.
“That is a smart football player,” Golden said of Hurns. “Whatever you ask him to do, he is smart, he studies the game, he spends a lot of time on it. He timed it up, and he had a little tempo there and used the block and made a touch. Great effort by Phillip [Dorsett], too.”
Still on a hot scoring streak, sophomore running back Dallas Crawford posted two more rushing touchdowns.
And in a true test of the Miami defense, the Hurricanes adjusted to the triple-option and forced three turnovers. Junior linebacker Denzel Perryman recorded 11 tackles, with 10 in the first half alone.
“We’re obviously more explosive. We’re getting more guys around the ball. They’re all the same guys as last year, they’re just playing with a quiet mind. They’re playing so much faster,” Golden said.
The Canes’ winning streak is now at seven games.
“That team we just played, they give you all you can handle,” Golden said. “All you ever want to do against that team is win. There’s no qualitative analysis here. It’s just straight win or lose, and it was a good win for our guys.”
Looking ahead, Miami’s Oct. 17 game in Chapel Hill will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.