Miami Sports Day

ACC: No. 14 Miami Uses Defense to Stop Georgia Tech

The Miami Hurricanes converted two fumbles into scores sparking  a 35-21 win over Georgia Tech in their ACC opener.

“Without those, who knows what would be happening right now,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “You saw what they were doing on offense, how they controlled the ball and took every second off the clock between plays. It’s so true that you’d better maximize your opportunities when you can. It just turned out it was on defense.”

Richt improves to 14-2 all-time against Georgia Tech. Richt also moves to 20-3 all-time against teams from the ACC. He becomes the fourth Hurricane head coach in program history to win his first four games. Howard Buck, Dennis Erickson and Larry Coker are the only other Hurricane coaches to win their first four games.

Miami (4-0, 1-0 ACC) went ahead 14-7 on Mark Walton’s 14-yard run with 6:42 left in first half.

Then Hurricanes’ freshman Shaq Quarterman picked up a loose ball and returned it 17 yards for a TD with 5:50 left. Fellow freshman Joe Jackson ran 18 yards for a score off the second fumble.

“Those two turnovers hurt us,” said Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas who fumbled twice . “That was pretty much the turning point of the game.”  The two-minute blitz gave Miami a 28-7 lead.

Miami was led by QB Brad Kaaya, who competed 13 of 19 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown. The Hurricanes had 355 yards in total offense.

Joe Yearby had a UM-best 63 yards on just six carries and one touchdown in the first half. He finished the game with 65 yards rushing on nine carries.  Yearby’s 27-yard first quarter touchdown run was just the second rush over 20 yards that Georgia Tech has allowed this season.

Miami sophomore running back Mark Walton scored his 18th career touchdown and the 17th rushing touchdown of his career in the second quarter, as he dashed in from 14 yards out. Walton finished the game with 44 yards on 15 carries.

Stacy Coley caught  in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Kaaya. Coley’s touchdown reception was the fourth of the season and the 15th of his career. His 15 career receiving touchdowns are tied for eighth all-time with Brian Blades.

“I thought we came back and got back in the game in the third quarter, then to their credit they came back and, boom, they scored,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.

Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-2) was led by fresman Dedrick Mills, who carried 19 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns and caught one touchdown pass. Thomas completed 11 of 19 passes with one interception for 94 yards and one touchdown.

The Yellow Jackste scored before the half on a 9-yard pass from Thomas to Mills and drew to within 28-21 when Mills scored on a 1-yard run with 5:01 left in the third quarter.

“They had the two turnovers, which were gifts to us,” Richt said. “Without those, they’re probably still playing. There’s a possibility that we’re in overtime.”

Miami hosts Florida State Saturday.

DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING:  Miami freshman linebacker Michael Pinckney recorded a sack in the second quarter. He now has 2.5 sacks on the year. He finished the game with four tackles and recorded his first career interception….senior safety Jamal Carter posted a career-high nine solo tackles.

GAME NOTES: Miami scored on its first offensive possession of the game for the third time this season…the Hurricanes outscored Georgia Tech 7-0 in the first quarter. Miami has outscored its opponents 42-0 in the first quarter through four games this season…the Hurricanes held a 28-14 lead at the half. The Hurricanes have never trailed at any point this season…Miami finished with 8.0 tackles for loss as a team and was penalized a season-low four times for 39 yards. It is the first time in 2016 that the Canes committed less than six penalties.

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