The Jackets won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, putting the ball immediately into the Hurricanes hands. It looked to be a bad start for Miami after kick returner and running back Craig Cooper dropped the ball and was tackled after a short return on the 12-yard line. Miami showed its dominance early, however, rushing the ball eight times in a 10 play, 88-yard drive for a touchdown.
Tech could not respond after redshirt sophomore quarterback Tevin Washington converted a third down. The drive was immediately stopped, and a Tech punt forced Miami onto their own 12-yard line. Miami drove the ball well to the Tech 24 yard line, until it appeared they were stopped and forced to kick a field goal. However, on fourth down, redshirt junior defensive end Jason Peters crept offsides and gave the Hurricanes a first down. Miami capitalized immediately, scoring a touchdown just two plays later, giving the Hurricanes a 14-point advantage.
After a few plays for little gain to start the drive, Washington was forced to throw long on third down. Washington hit sophomore A-back Orwin Smith for a 32-yard gain. The drive, however, was cut short immediately afterwards, forcing Tech to kick a 38-yard field goal by senior kicker Scott Blair.
The half ended with the score at 14-3 in Miami’s favor.
The second half began with a solid drive by the Jackets, with Washington leading the option offense. Washington accounted for the first 50 yards of the drive, completing two passes for 22 yards and scrambling for 28 yards. Facing a third down at the Miami 22-yard line, Washington completed a strike to redshirt senior wide receiver Kevin Cone for a touchdown. The Jackets were suddenly within just one-score of the Hurricanes.
“I think that I tried to come out and execute the offense as best as I could. I just tried to put us in a position to win the game. I think I did alright today, there are a lot of positives that I can build off of, I just have to do a better job of keeping the team in position to win the game next week,” Washington said.
Miami, however, would respond. Miami quarterback Stephen Morris completed a pass to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson for 79 yards and a quick touchdown.
“I’m not going to call anybody out, but we had a guy bust his coverage. That still doesn’t mean it’s got to go 75 yards. We were in two-deep, nobody shielded two and we bit on the run fake, but you still have got to get the guy down,” said Head Coach Paul Johnson.
The Jackets began another drive in their own territory, and Washington highlighted the drive with a 22-yard rush, shedding off a few defenders. The drive eventually got into the red zone, and after getting to the six-yard line, Smith fumbled the football. Amid the confusion, Tech did not recover it.
The Hurricanes drove down the field, converting three third downs along the way. Morris connected with receiver Travis Benjamin twice for gains of 30 and 18 yards, using the play-action to his advantage. The drive was capped off with a seven-yard touchdown by Mike James, extending the Miami lead, 28-10.
After a punt by Tech, Miami fumbled the ball, and it was recovered by redshirt junior safety Jerrard Tarrant. Tech couldn’t capitalize, immediately forcing a fourth down that redshirt junior A-back Roddy Jones could not convert. Miami gained possession with just over eight minutes in the game with great field position.
Miami rushed the ball ten times on their next drive, eating up almost six minutes of clock. In order to seal the win, Miami went for the score on fourth and goal from the three yard line, with Craig Cooper running the ball in for the score. The game was at 35-10, essentially leaving no chance for the Jackets.
The end of the game resulted in a long drive by the Jackets, ending in a fumble right in front of the goal line. Miami recovered with 15 seconds left and ran out the clock.
“You keep playing. You don’t quit. What are you going to do? You don’t have any other alternatives. You either keep playing or you quit. We aren’t going to quit. I can promise you that I’m not going to quit,” Johnson said.