Jackets swarm ‘Canes at home

The Miami Hurricanes’ ACC hopes took a serious hit on Saturday.

Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice rushed for a career-high 204 yards as the Yellow Jackets erased a 7-0 point halftime deficit to come away with a 17-14 victory.

For the third straight season, the Yellow Jackets dealt the Hurricanes a pivotal ACC loss.

Travis Bell’s 39-yard field goal with 7:34 left gave the Yellow Jackets the lead for good. Georgia Tech controlled the football for the final 5:32 of the game, not allowing the Miami offense an opportunity to make a comeback.

“We are going to run these guys tougher because we don’t accept losses – not as coaches, not as a staff, not as players,” Head Coach Randy Shannon said. “We believe that we can win games, and we are going to continue to believe that we can win games.”

The Yellow Jackets pounded the football in the second half and scored on their first two drives. Choice had a key 54-yard run, and quarterback Taylor Bennett capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, a bootleg to the left
corner of the end zone.

Georgia Tech would take advantage of a Miami miscue on their next possession.

‘Canes cornerback Glenn Sharpe committed a holding penalty on second-and-19 to give the Yellow Jackets life. On third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Bennett ran to the end zone to put Georgia Tech ahead.

Miami tied the score at 14-14 early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Kyle Wright connected for a 3-yard score with receiver Sam Shields on a fade pattern to the corner of the end zone.

But the Hurricanes would just run three plays on offense the rest of the way.

Miami was unable to stop the run in the second half and were unable to convert on third downs.

The Miami offense just managed 12 first downs and struggled throwing the football. The Hurricanes took several chances down the football field, but were unable to execute all game.

“I thought Kyle would throw the long ball better this week,” Shannon said. “We had opportunities and we just got to make those throws. It could have been a different game.”

Wright finished just 8-for-17 for 56 yards. Miami’s leading receiver was tight end Chris Zellner, with only three catches for 23 yards.

Miami freshman running back Shawnbrey McNeal stepped up for the Hurricanes in the loss.

McNeal rushed for 48 yards and scored his first career touchdown. McNeal’s 39-yard scamper came on a fourth-and-one fake punt to give Miami a 7-0 lead. He also helped the Hurricanes even up the score early in the fourth quarter on another fourth-and-one when he converted for a key six-yard pickup.

The Hurricanes will look to salvage their hopes of competing for the ACC title as they travel to rival Florida State on Saturday.
“We’ll get better,” Shannon said. “I believe that and I’m not just saying that to say it. I just can’t accept the things that we’re getting done right now.”

Alex Kushel may be contacted at a.kushel@umiami.edu.