GT Vs. Miami Preview: Grab Your Nitroglycerin and Charge Up the Paddles

Chris RadomileContributor ISeptember 17, 2009

CORAL GABLES, FL - OCTOBER 13:  Running back Graig Cooper #2 of the Miami Hurricanes looks looks for room to run while taking on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Orange Bowl on October 13, 2007 in Coral Gables, Florida. Georgia Tech defeated Miami 17-14.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

I either need to lower my cholesterol or stop watching football, because my heart can’t take much more of this.

Georgia Tech faces Miami tonight on the Canes’ turf in an epic battle between two ACC contenders vying for the national spotlight.  Though the point spread is currently in favor of Miami, I would put it at dead even.  This is probably one of the most even matchups that you will see this season, ACC or otherwise.

Georgia Tech is coming off a narrow win against Clemson.  The Tigers definitely made the Jackets realize they’re not invincible.  GT was sloppy against Jacksonville and got away with it.  They were sloppy again against Clemson and blew a 24-point lead.  You can expect the same from Miami, but they won’t be so easy to battle back against.

Miami comes back home with an upset of Florida State, winning in the final minutes on a 60-yard drive in just over two minutes.  Miami showed that they can score quickly and score often.  Jacory Harris is not to be trifled with.

Neither team has exhibited stellar defense so far, so who ever makes the big stops will be the deciding factor.  Tech allowed 261 yards through the air on only 15 completions (17.4 yards per gain) and three touchdowns. 

While Tech managed to procure two picks and hold Parker to an under 50 percent completion rate, Clemson more or less picked apart the secondary during their comeback.  While Miami did a respectable job stopping  Florida State’s running game, but they need to tighten the screws to handle the option.

Why Tech Should Worry: Jacory Harris is more dangerous than Kyle Parker and I’m pretty sure wide receiver Travis Benjamin runs the 40 in 2.4 seconds.  While Miami’s offense is focused on the pass, their running game is nothing to scoff at.  Javarris James and Graig Cooper are both excellent running backs who are equally deadly as receivers. 

Tech has DBs Morgan Burnett and Mario Butler helping them out, but tighter coverage and no deep balls will be critical to getting the win.  Defensive end Derrick Morgan got some good hurries against Clemson, getting him in the backfield this week will be key as well.

Why Miami Should Worry: Tech’s passing offense is the laughingstock of the NCAA and with good reason.  Josh Nesbitt only threw three completions for 83 yards on top of two picks against Clemson.  What makes Nesbitt dangerous is that he has a mystical ability to make the throws when it counts. 

Two of his three completions came on the game-tying and game-winning drives with a combined yardage of 63 yards.  What most people glaze over is that when Nesbitt keeps his passes under 15 yards, he is surprisingly accurate.  Several short passes against Clemson were simply dropped by the receivers. 

Tech’s run has always been strong, but newcomer Anthony Allen adds a new dimension of deadliness, as he proved with an 82-yard TD run on the second play from scrimmage.  Miami ought to focus on stopping the run, but discounting the pass is a mistake and it could cost them the game. 

This will be one of the best games of the season and it’s going to come down to the last play.  Neither team is going to blow out the other and you’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. 

No matter how many highly sophisticated simulations I run on my Playstation or how many gurus I climb mountains to beseech advice from, there's no clear favorite.  But as a Tech fan, I’d rather drink the Kool-Aid than pick Miami and get it wrong.  Tech wins by three points or less.


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