Although the season is not over, the Miami Hurricane’s have almost certainly closed the doors on their chances of claiming the Atlantic Coast Conference gold with a 30-23 loss to Georgia Tech.
“We’re sick and tired of losing,” Wright said, “but we’re the only ones who can do anything about that.”
On the first play of the first series, defensive end Calais Campbell got to Yellow Jacket quarterback Reggie Ball, causing him to fumble. A few seconds later, linebacker Glen Cook picked up the football and took it to the house, putting Miami up 7-0.
Running back Javarris James broke out for a 49-yard run on Miami’s first offensive possession. The drive ended on a 38-yard field goal by kicker Jon Peattie, increasing the score 10-0.
Georgia Tech answered with a 43-yard reception by wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The catch helped set up a 39-yard field goal by kicker Travis Bell.
Two Miami possessions later, Kyle Wright hooked up with wide receivers Sam Shields and Lance Leggett for 15-yard passes, setting up a Peattie 36-yard field goal.
Ball connected with wide receiver James Johnson for a 46-yard touchdown reception, tightening the score to 13-10.
“I was mad, hurt, and frustrated,” Ball said. “But I’ve been down before. I had to keep everyone up, keep pushing.”
Miami came out looking to put some more points on the board before halftime, but Wright was intercepted at the Miami 46. The interception was followed by a Miami defensive pass interference penalty, instrumental in setting up the equalizing 38-yard field goal by Bell.
After jumping to a quick start, Miami was forced to take a 13-13 tie into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, Miami’s offense looked like they would establish their dominance in the second half, but penalties and an eventual fumble by Lance Leggett thwarted their efforts.
After the Yellow Jackets could do nothing with the gift, Miami’s offense marched down field on the shoulders of Javarris James, who set Peattie up for a 25-yard field goal.
Ball guided his team down field, allowing Bell to tie the game on a 39-yard field goal.
On their very next possession running back Tashard Choice and fullback Mike Cox set up a two-yard touchdown grab by Calvin Johnson, putting Georgia Tech up 23-16.
“We knew this was our moment,” Calvin Johnson said. “If we wanted to get to the ACC championship game, we had to win this game.”
Feeling the game slip, the Hurricanes tried to get the offense rolling, but their aspirations fell as Wright was sacked for a fumble.
Two plays later, Choice broke off a 24-yard touchdown run, putting the Yellow Jackets up 30-16.
Tight end Greg Olsen secured a 41-yard touchdown, making the score 30-23.
Miami’s defense was able to stop Georgia Tech, but they were only able to persevere 29 seconds on the game clock. Punt returner Rashaun Jones fumbled away the ball and the game.
The loss almost certainly takes Miami out of the contention for making it to the ACC Championship game, and it sets up Georgia Tech as a major front-runner to win the ACC Coastal division.
“We are just glad to get out of this stadium, our home stadium, with a win,” Ball said. “We persevered to win.”
Pravin Patel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.