In the third week of college football action, a marquee ACC Coastal Division matchup pitted the No. 20 Miami Hurricanes against the No. 14 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. One year ago, the Yellow Jackets demolished the 'Canes and their division title hopes with a 41-23 victory in which the Jackets piled up over 500 yards of total offense. Of those yards, 472 came from a relentless rushing attack led by running back Jonathon Dwyer.
This time, the story was quite different. Miami built a 24-3 lead after scoring on their first three possessions. Jacory Harris went 20-of-25 for 271 yards and three touchdown passes, while the ground attack improved. Greg Cooper led all 'Canes rushers with 92 yards rushing, while Javarris James added 72 more and a rushing touchdown. Even a relative unknown RB/WR, LaRon Byrd, added a scoring reception to end Georgia Tech's four-game winning streak against the 'Canes.
Harris had yet another incredible game as he watched Georgia Tech go straight down the field and score on the first possession. But the young man let his play do the talking as he cooly led the Miami offense down the field on multiple occasions. He even hit former UM basketball-player-turned-tight-end Jimmy Graham for a 14-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter.
The Miami defense held GT to only 27 more yards for the rest of the first half. Star RB Jonathon Dwyer hurt his shoulder, and even though the reigning ACC player of the year said it was only a stinger, he couldn't do anything but watch Harris and the Miami offense shred the Jackets' defense.
The one bright spot for Georgia Tech was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas' six receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. As a whole, Georgia Tech's offense couldn't execute when it mattered most, as QB Josh Nesbitt was 6/15 for 134 yards and one touchdown.
The 'Canes outgained the Jackets in total yards, 454-228.
With this win, Miami improves to 2-0 and matches its best conference start since 2004, setting up a pivotal clash in the Coastal Division on Sept. 26 at Virginia Tech. This win will likely raise expectations for the 'Canes, as they seem to have found a QB in Harris. He is capable of leading the offense effectively and will open the door for other stars like Greg Cooper, Javarris James and Travis Benjamin to excel. Expect Miami to be relevant again in the hunt for the national championship.
For Georgia Tech, the loss to these 'Canes raises some questions about not only the quality of play, but Paul Johnson's coaching. The Jackets have been outscored 60-23 since racing to and almost blowing a 24-0 lead at Clemson before narrowly escaping the Tigers with a hard-fought ACC win. Ineffective play by the offense is what killed Georgia Tech tonight, and these hungry 'Canes took full advantage heading into the showdown with Virginia Tech, looking to show the college football world that the "U" is indeed on the way back.
Look for my Miami-Virginia Tech preview later in the week!