Miami-Florida (2-1) at Georgia Tech (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 3:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: Raycom Sports Net. Home Record: Miami-Florida 1-0, Georgia Tech 2-0. Away Record: Miami-Florida 1-1, Georgia Tech 0-1. Neutral Record: Miami-Florida 0-0, Georgia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Miami-Florida 1-0, Georgia Tech 1-1. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads, 10-7.
GAME NOTES: In an important early ACC Coastal Division matchup the Miami Florida Hurricanes head north to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Al Golden's squad is already 1-0 in ACC play this season and after a 38-10 win over Bethune-Cookman last weekend, is 2-1 entering this contest. Sandwiched in between those two wins was a 52-13 lopsided loss on the road to a nationally ranked Kansas State squad. In his second season, Golden already has the Hurricanes off to a better start than last season when the squad began 1-2.
Georgia Tech also enters play with an overall record of 2-1 but the Yellow Jackets are 1-1 in conference play. The Yellow Jackets lost 20-17 in overtime to Virginia Tech in the season-opener but have since posted two blowouts wins with the most recent victory a 56-20 rout of ACC foe Virginia. Including a 59-3 win against Presbyterian, the Yellow Jackets are the second highest scoring team (44.0 ppg) in the ACC this season.
Last season Miami-Florida downed the Yellow Jackets 24-7 at home to earn its third straight win in the all-time series. Georgia Tech still holds the lead in the series though with 10 wins in 17 previous matchups.
Miami-Florida is near the middle of the ACC in terms of offensive production this season averaging 372.7 yards per game, including the fourth best rushing total (478 yards) in the conference Those numbers got a hefty boost in the win over Bethune-Cookman as the Hurricanes racked up 426 total yards of which 215 came on the ground.
Duke Johnson and Mike James were the main ball carriers in the game. Johnson had team-highs in carries (14), yards (94) and also scored a pair of touchdowns. Johnson also returned a kick 95 yards for a touchdown and finished the day with 246 all-purpose yards. James had a solid game with 77 yards on nine carries for an impressive 8.6 yards-per-carry average.
Since the Hurricanes were able to run the ball so effectively, quarterback Stephen Morris didn't have to do much. Morris completed 20-of-35 passes for 211 yards and a score but was also picked off once. Morris is completing passes at a 63.2 percent clip this season and has also been called on to throw more often with 106 attempts on the season.
No receiver has really established himself as Morris' go-to guy this season with Allen Hurns (10 receptions, 113 yards) the only Hurricane pass-catcher in the top 25 in the ACC in receiving. Hurns did not catch a pass against Bethune Cookman and it was Phillip Dorsett (six receptions, 49 yards) who led the team. Johnson's 57 receiving yards led the team.
Defense was the key to Golden's success at his previous head coaching gig at Temple but thus far with Miami-Florida he has struggled to find consistency on that side of the ball. The Hurricanes are currently ranked second to last in the ACC in yards (463.3) and points (31.3) allowed per game.
Even against an FCS opponent like Bethune-Cookman the Hurricanes still surrendered 355 total yards, while also allowing the Wildcats to convert on 7 of-19 third down attempts. The success of the defensive unit was in its ability to bend but not break, as the Hurricanes played only two series in the red zone, while also forcing a pair of turnovers.
Shayon Green was the lead tackler in the game with eight takedowns. Tyriq McCord was a force on the line recording a pair of sacks to go with five total tackles.
For the second straight week, Georgia Tech rode an offensive surge and posted 50-plus points in the win over Virginia. The Yellow Jackets are an old-school team that relies on a run-option attack, meaning getting yards on the ground is a major priority. So far the Yellow Jackets have been successful in that area, leading the nation in rushing yards (1,122) through the first three weeks of the season.
Against Virginia, Georgia Tech ran the ball 50 times for 461 yards which accounted for the majority of the team's 594-yard offensive output. The team also got 17 of its 22 first downs on the ground as well as seven touchdowns. Orwin Smith was the lead rusher on the day in terms of total yard as he racked up 137 yards and a score on only six carries.
Quarterback Tevin Washington had 11 carries for 93 yards and three scores and is the current leader on the squad with 253 yards on the season. Washington has been efficient as a passer as well this season, completing a solid 67.6 percent of his pass attempts. Against Virginia he completed 6-of-8 passes for 125 yards and a score. Zach Laskey caught that touchdown, a 70-yard play, for his only reception.
Other than Florida State, Georgia Tech has been the best defense in the ACC in terms of points allowed, giving up only 14.3 per game so far this season. The Yellow Jackets are also third in the conference in yards per game allowed (288.7). Against Virginia the Yellow Jackets gave up 297 total yards, including only 98 yards on the ground.
Quayshawn Nealy led the way with nine total tackles, while Isaiah Johnson finished with a pair of tackles for loss, including a sack.
Georgia Tech does two things extremely well, as the team plays defense and run the ball. Those are two things Golden is trying to accomplish at Miami-Florida but right now the Hurricanes don't match up as well as they would like against the Yellow Jackets.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 31, Miami-Florida 17
09/19 11:36:53 ET