The University of Miami heads in to Atlanta with an overall record of 2-1 to face Georgia Tech. Miami posted a 38-10 win against Bethune-Cookman last week, but the Hurricanes have not looked sharp when facing more competitive FBS schools. Prior to beating Bethune-Cookman, Miami lost to Kansas State 52-13. Miami’s defense allowed Kansas State to rack up 288 rushing yards and convert 8 of 11 third-downs. Miami currently ranks 91st in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score 31.3 points per game, while also allowing opponents to rush for 205.7 yards per game.
The Hurricane’s offense is lead by Junior quarterback Stephen Morris and true freshman sensation Duke Johnson at running back. Stephen Morris has been playing well completing 63.2% of his passes and throwing 633 yards this season, but Duke Johnson is the Canes’ biggest weapon on offense. Johnson has already rushed for 248 yards and four touchdowns this season, including a 56-yard touchdown run in his career debut at Boston College. He is averaging 9.2 yards per carry on the ground and is also a receiving threat out of the backfield averaging 10.6 yards a reception this season.
For Miami to leave Atlanta with a win, their defense will have to play similar to last year. If they allow Georgia Tech’s option to get going, it will be a long day for their defense. Miami will also need Duke Johnson to get hot early. If Miami can get Georgia Tech’s defense looking for the run, it could open up some big plays in the passing game.
Over the past two games Georgia Tech is averaging 57.5 points per game and 465 rushing yards per game. The rushing attack is now ranked third in the nation, averaging 347 yards per game.
Georgia Tech was impressive in their 56-20 victory over Virginia, securing their first ACC win of the season. Senior quarterback Tevin Washington was 8-of-10 through the air, compiling 125 yards, and also ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Washington’s completion percentage is up to 67.6%, while he was only completing 49.3% of his passes last season. Sophomore B-Back Zach Laskey averaged 4.8 yards per carry on nine attempts and also had a 70-yard touchdown reception on Tech’s first offensive play of the game.
Tech’s defense has given up an average of 14.3 points per game this season, ranking 20th in the nation. They are also holding teams to an average of 113 rushing yards per game. Against Virginia, the defense accumulated two sacks and forced two interceptions and gave up only 297 yards.
With the sudden effectiveness of the passing game, Tech’s offense appears to be much less one dimensional. For Tech to come out with a win they will need to continue throwing it well and keep Miami’s defense on their heels. Tech’s defense will need to find a way to slow down Duke Johnson early and force Stephen Morris to beat them in the air. The Jackets had several special teams problems during last year’s loss to Miami correcting those could be the difference this week.
Prediction: Tech 31, Miami 17