Miami vs. Georgia Tech: Complete Game Preview
The Miami Hurricanes head to Atlanta to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this Saturday. It marks the 17th time the two teams will play each other.
The Yellow Jackets lead the overall series 10-6, but the Hurricanes have won the last three meetings.
Georgia Tech is 2-1 this year with the one loss coming to Virginia Tech in the season opener. The Hurricanes are also 2-1, but their only loss came courtesy of Kansas State in week two.
Here is the complete preview of Miami vs. Georgia Tech.
Miami Depth Chart
Position: Starter, Backup (as of Sept. 10, 2012—new depth chart for the Georgia Tech game has not been released at the time of this publication)
QB: Stephen Morris, Ryan Williams
FB: Maurice Hagens, Sean Harvey
RB: Mike James, Duke Johnson, Eduardo Clements
TE: Dyron Dye, Clive Walford, Asante Cleveland
WR: Phillip Dorsett, Davon Johnson
WR: Malcolm Lewis, Kendal Thompkins
WR: Rashawn Scott, Herb Waters
LT: Malcolm Bunche, Ben Jones
LG: Jon Feliciano, Jeremy Lewis
C: Shane McDermott, Jared Wheeler
RG: Brandon Linder, Jermaine Johnson or Daniel Isidora
RT: Ereck Flowers, Seantrel Henderson
DE: Anthony Chickillo, Jelani Hamilton
DT: Darius Smith, Earl Moore, Jalen Grimble
DT: Olsen Pierre, Corey King
DE: Shayon Green, Kelvin Cain or Tyriq McCord
OLB: Eddie Johnson, Thurston Armbrister, Gabe Terry
MLB: Denzel Perryman, Gionni Paul
OLB: Tyrone Cornelius, Jimmy Gaines
CB: Thomas Finnie, Tracy Howard,
CB: Brandon McGee, Antonio Crawford
S: A.J. Highsmith, Rayshawn Jenkins
S: Deon Bush, Kacy Rodgers II
P: Dalton Botts, Jake Wieclaw
FG: Jake Wieclaw, Matt Goudis
KO: Jake Wieclaw, Matt Goudis
H: Dalton Botts, Ryan Williams
LS: Paul Kelly
SS: Paul Kelly
PR: Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Lewis
KR: Phillip Dorsett, Duke Johnson
Out: Ramon Buchanan (season—knee), Sean McNally (season—lower extremity), Denzel Perryman (knee), and Raphael Kirby (knee)
Questionable: Curtis Porter (appendix surgery)
Probable: Vaughn Telemaque (knee) and Allen Hurns (concussion)
Georgia Tech Depth Chart
Position: Starter, Backup (as of Sept. 18, 2012)
QB: Tevin Washington, Synjyn Days or Vlad Lee
BB: Zach Laskey, Broderick Snoddy or David Sims
AB: Orwin Smith, Deon Hall or Tony Zenon
AB: Robert Godhigh, B.J. Bostic, Synjyn Days
WR: Darren Waller, Anthony Autry
WR: Jeff Greene, Jeremy Moore
LT: Ray Beno, Bryan Chamberlain
LG: Shaquille Mason, Errin Joe
C: Jay Finch, Catlin Alford or Nick McRae
RG: Omoregie Uzzi, Trey Braun
RT: Will Jackson, Tyler Kidney or Morgan Bailey
DE: Emmanuel Dieke, Euclid Cummings
DT: T.J. Barnes, Shawn Green
DE: Izaan Cross, Anthony Williams
OLB: Jeremiah Attaochu, Tyler Marcordes
ILB: Quayshawn Nealy, Anthony Harrell
ILB: Jabari Hunt-Days, Kyle Travis
OLB: Brandon Watts, Malcolm Munroe or Chris Crenshaw
CB: Rod Sweeting, Louis Young
CB: Jemea Thomas, Louis Young, Chris Milton
S: Isauah Johnson, Demond Smith
S: Jamal Golden, Coray Carlson
P: Sean Poole, Ryan Rodwell
PK: David Scully, Chris Tanner
KO: David Scully
H: Sean Poole
LS: Tyler Morgan, Sean Tobin
PR: Jemea Thomas, Orwin Smith
KR: Orwin Smith, Jamal Golden or Tony Zenon
*Note: Georgia Tech releases its injury report on Thursdays.
What Happened to the Hurricanes Last Week
The Miami Hurricanes beat Bethune-Cookman 38-10 last Saturday in Miami. Although the score shows it was a blowout, it truly wasn't since Miami's defense continued to struggle.
The Hurricanes defense gave up 233 yards on the ground to the Wildcats and 355 overall.
However, it was true freshman Duke Johnson that made sure the Hurricanes were going to avoid the upset.
Johnson led the Hurricanes in rushing (94 yards), receiving (57 yards) and returns (95 yards)—totaling 246 all-purpose yards. He would score four touchdowns on the day in three different ways—two rushing, one receiving and one on a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown.
While Johnson dominated, quarterback Stephen Morris struggled at times. He completed just 58 percent of his passes—most of them thrown over the head of the receivers.
Morris would finish completing 20 of 35 passes for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
What Happened to the Yellow Jackets Last Week
Georgia Tech racked up 461 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns as they blew out Virginia, 56-20.
Running back Orwin Smith led the charge for the Yellow Jackets with 137 rushing yards and a touchdown on just six carries.
There were an astonishing 10 Yellow Jacket players that recorded at least one rush in Saturdays game.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington mutilated the Cavaliers defense with four touchdowns (three rushing). He would finish the day completing six of eight passes for 125 yards while running the ball 11 times for 93 yards.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 594 yards of total offense.
What It Means for Both Teams
Anytime a team plays a conference game it's huge, and it's even bigger when both teams are from the same Coastal division.
The Hurricanes are 1-0 in the ACC, while the Yellow Jackets are 1-1.
If Miami can pull out the victory, it will give them sole possession of first place in the coastal division since Virginia Tech plays an out-of-conference opponent this weekend.
If Georgia Tech wins, they will have just as many division wins as Virginia Tech, but will be behind the Hokies since the Yellow Jackets lost to them earlier this year.
Either way, both teams need this win in order to stay in the hunt for a possible chance to play in the ACC Championship game in December.
Key Player(s) for the Hurricanes: Defensive Line
The Miami Hurricanes defensive line has been absolutely horrific so far this year, and the primary reason is poor play from the defensive line.
The Hurricanes are ranked No. 102 in the country in rush defense, giving up more than 206 yards per game on the ground.
The Hurricanes have defended the Yellow Jackets' triple-option fairly well over the last two seasons, but so far this season Miami has shown little resistance to any kind of offense they go up against.
This young defensive line will have to do everything in their power to slow down the run game, and if they can't, this game will get ugly in a hurry.
Key Player for the Yellow Jackets: Tevin Washington, QB
Quarterback Tevin Washington is by far the most important player on the Yellow Jackets team. He is Georgia Tech's leading passer (382) and rusher (253), and he also leads the team with seven touchdowns (four rushing).
Even though there have been eight different players that have scored a touchdown in way of the option, Washington is the glue that keeps it all together.
The senior quarterback struggled in the season opener against Virginia Tech, but over the last two games Washington has 190 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns.
If he keeps the offense rolling, Miami may be in serious trouble.
The Hurricanes Will Win If...
There are two big factors needed for the Hurricanes to win this game against the Yellow Jackets.
First, they have to slow down the Yellow Jackets' rushing attack. In the last two games, the Hurricanes haven't been able to do that, allowing 521 yards rushing to Kansas State and Bethune-Cookman.
The Hurricanes defense must play assignment football. They will need to stay committed to the quarterback or one of the pitch-men if they want to have any success at all.
Georgia Tech will get yards considering most of their plays will be on the ground, but if Miami can stop them from getting big plays, they'll have a chance.
The second factor for the Hurricanes will be how well the offense moves the ball. Miami's passing game needs to go vertical, especially if the defense fails in stopping the Yellow Jackets from scoring.
As good as running back Duke Johnson is, he can't win it himself like he did against Bethune-Cookman last week. Quarterback Stephen Morris needs to improve over last week's game and start the game with more accurate passes.
The Yellow Jackets Will Win If...
Georgia Tech's key to winning falls on running the ball effectively and stopping Miami's Duke Johnson.
If the Yellow Jackets can continue to run the ball like they did last week against Virginia, there is no way they lose this game—especially with the way the Hurricanes defense has looked so far this season.
On the other side of the ball, the Yellow Jackets must keep an eye on true freshman Duke Johnson. Johnson has the speed and quickness to beat anyone on the Georgia Tech defense.
If the Yellow Jackets defense can't stop Duke from gaining over 200 all-purpose yards, they may lose.
Before the season started, I honestly thought the Hurricanes would win this game. They've had Georgia Tech's number the last three years and have the athletes to defend the triple-option.
But after three sub-par performances by the defense, I have little faith in the Hurricanes stopping anyone.
Last season the Hurricanes did a tremendous job slowing down the attack, but this isn't last year's defense. This Hurricanes defense couldn't even stop Bethune-Cookman from getting 233 yards on the ground a week ago.
That being said, this is the Hurricanes fourth game of the season, and I have this sneaking suspicion they made some solid adjustments this week. Call it a hunch.
Although the loss of middle linebacker Denzel Perryman will hurt Miami, it won't kill them as I have faith in both backup linebackers, Gionni Paul and Jimmy Gaines. Gaines is a veteran while Paul is a tremendously talented athlete.
With an improved defense (hopefully) and one of the most talented freshman on the planet in Duke Johnson, the Hurricanes can pull this off—in fact, they will...
Final Prediction: Miami 38, Georgia Tech 34