Hostile ground

Miami will have its first road test of the season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Saturday.

Georgia Tech enters the game 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets opened with a win against Samford before upsetting Clemson on the road. However, last week, five turnovers plagued the Yellow Jackets’ offense as they got walloped in Chapel Hill by North Carolina 34-13.

The Yellow Jackets boast a mobile quarterback in Reggie Ball, who had 80 yards rushing last week against North Carolina. Ball has thrown five interceptions in three games and accounted for four of Georgia Tech’s five turnovers last week.

Georgia Tech also has a very solid running game led by P.J. Daniels. Daniels has recorded 324 yards on just 61 carries; good for a 5.2 yards per carry average and two touchdowns on the season.

G-Tech is averaging over 200 yards a game on the ground and through the air. Entering the game against Miami, Tech averages 203 yards on the ground and 205 yards passing. However, its defense gave up 284 yards on the ground to a North Carolina team that had to use its backup running back after the starter got injured.

The good news for the Hurricanes is that their strength on offense is running the football, and that is where Georgia Tech has struggled. Tyrone Moss had 148 yards on the ground last week and has 222 yards on the season, good for a 6.9 yards per carry average. Frank Gore has chipped in with 158 yards and a 4.4 yards per carry average. The two have combined for seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

Miami will likely struggle passing the football. Brock Berlin threw for just 99 yards against Houston, prompting Head Coach Larry Coker to criticize his starting quarterback. Coker told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Berlin has to improve.

“Yeah, no doubt about it . . .This is major college football. When you have people open, you have to make the plays,” Coker said.

Georgia Tech will be the first of several road tests for the Hurricanes. On Oct. 23 Miami travels to North Carolina to take on an N.C. State team that beat Virginia Tech last week. Also, on Nov. 13, Miami will take on the currently undefeated Virginia Cavaliers in Virginia. These tough ACC road games will be combined by home games against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Louisville still to come.

If Miami is going to be successful in its first road test of the season, it will have to run the football and not make mistakes on offense. Defensively, Miami has been rock solid, allowing just one offensive touchdown all season, which came last week against Houston. Georgia Tech’s balanced offense will test the Hurricanes’ defense and the key to success for Miami will be its ability to contain the Tech offense and force mistakes from the defense, which is prone to commit turnovers

Miami is currently ranked fourth in the country behind USC, Oklahoma and Georgia. A win against Tech will secure that spot or move them up if one of those three teams loses.

Darren Grossman can be contact at