Miami Hurricanes face Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in final home game of season

Deon Bush (2) and Jermaine Grace (5) take down a Nebraska running back during Miami’s 36-33 win in September. Hallee Meltzer // Photo Editor

This year didn’t go according to plan. The goal was the ACC Coastal and unfortunately, the Miami Hurricanes fell short of it. However, just because the team didn’t reach its goal doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play for.

As the Canes wrap up their 2015 home slate with a game against the Yellow Jackets, both teams will be looking to end the season on a high note after falling short of expectations.

One who claims that Miami’s drop-off has been horrendous clearly hasn’t followed the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this season.

After starting the year ranked No. 15 and winning the first two games of the season, Paul Johnson’s squad has lost seven of its last eight games. Amazingly, the Yellow Jackets’ only win in that stretch came against Florida State, and it came on a blocked field goal return as time expired.

Despite Georgia Tech’s struggles, the Hurricanes will certainly have a tough matchup on their hands this Saturday against the triple option of the Yellow Jackets.

Miami (6-4, 3-3) has struggled all season with containing mobile quarterbacks operating out of the option offense. Just last week, North Carolina senior quarterback Marquise Williams gashed the Canes for 108 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. Against Georgia Tech, the Canes will only see more of the option in a much more complex system to defend.

Last season, against the undefeated Yellow Jackets, the Hurricanes gave up 318 yards rushing and even more astonishingly allowed Georgia Tech’s time of possession to reach 40:45. If you allow any team to possess the ball for two-thirds of the game, the defense will certainly wear down and the offense won’t have much time to put up points.

So far this season, Georgia Tech (3-7, 1-6) hasn’t had as much success with the option but still averages 256 rushing yards a game, which is good for sixth-best in the country. If the Canes can stop the option, the Yellow Jackets will be in for a long day on offense.

On the offensive end, the Hurricanes will look to rebound off of what was a sluggish offensive performance last Saturday. The Canes need to pound the ball early to open up room for sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya and his playmaking wide receivers, who should be able to exploit the Georgia Tech secondary.

In Georgia Tech’s seven losses this season, the Yellow Jackets have allowed at least 23 points in those games. In their three wins, the Yellow Jackets have allowed 16 or less in those games.

Maybe if there are some selfish seniors who don’t care about the program, then the rest of these games may not mean anything besides draft stock. For those who do care, winning these last two games and the bowl matchup could lead to some much-needed positive momentum heading into the offseason.

With a new coach coming on board and a program looking to find its way back to the national stage, this Miami program needs all of the momentum it can get.