Perhaps the new motto of Hurricanes football should be, ”home sweet home,” as once again Miami left the confines of Sun Life Stadium and lost a game. Miami went up to Atlanta to play ACC-Coastal rival Georgia Institute of Technology (5-0, 2-0 ACC) and lost 28-17, just about knocking the Canes (3-3, 1-2 ACC) out of contention in the division.
All around it was a disappointing game for the Hurricanes, who started out firing, scoring on their first possession and taking a 14-7 lead into the second quarter before getting outscored 21-3 the rest of the game.
Miami’s defense was unable to make any stops against Tech’s triple option offense as the Yellow Jackets ran for over 300 yards and held the ball for over 40 minutes. The Canes were unable to force any turnovers as Georgia Tech pounded the ball down their throats all game. When the Hurricanes needed stops the most, they were once again unable to get them.
The Yellow Jackets finished the game nine of 14 on third down conversions and two of two on fourth down conversions, including a fake punt executed to perfection.
In comparison, Miami’s third down problems continued as they went one of five. The Canes struggled on third down in their previous two away games as well, going one of 13 against Louisville and four of 10 against Nebraska. Overall, the offense did not have a bad game, but had only eight possessions. To put that in perspective, Georgia Tech finished the game with 69 plays on offense, while the Hurricanes ran only 35.
Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya looked like a seasoned veteran in the first quarter before throwing two key interceptions later on that ended great scoring opportunities, including one in the end zone with 71 seconds left that just about sealed the game. Kaaya finished 16 of 25 for 245 yards with one touchdown and those two aforementioned interceptions.
The running game looked like Miami of old, albeit in limited action, on Saturday night, with Duke Johnson gaining 100 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. The team finished with 19 carries for 107 yards, about 5.6 yards per rush.
The result of this game shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For years Miami has been an inconsistent team, so after last week’s strong defensive showing against Duke, another defensive letdown should have been expected. That being said, the triple option is incredibly hard to prepare for, and Georgia Tech was coming off a bye, meaning they had extra time to prepare.
Regardless, as the Canes continued to struggle while away from Sun Life Stadium, the spotlight must grow brighter and brighter on defensive coordinator Mark D’onofrio and head coach Al Golden.
With Miami finally clear of the NCAA cloud, 3-3 will not cut it for a team that used to regularly win 10-plus games and national championships. With tough road games left at Virginia Tech and Virginia, Miami needs to start winning on the road, or both coaches’ seats are only going to get hotter and hotter.
Miami next hosts Cincinnati at noon Saturday at Sun Life Stadium before traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on the Hokies in a game that will determine if the Canes have any life left in the ACC this season.
Alexander Green is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and marketing.