Preview: Miami at Georgia Tech

When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 1, 2016
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia


No. 14 Miami (Fla.), which had a week off to soak in its dominant 3-0 start behind a surprisingly stout defense, faces its first ACC test Saturday as it travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets will be looking to rebound from a 26-7 loss to No. 3 Clemson in which their usually prolific running game was held to only 95 yards.

Despite outscoring their foes 153-23 and dominating an Appalachian State team that took Tennessee to overtime, Miami and quarterback Brad Kaaya aren't ready to boast yet. "We haven't really done much of anything," the junior told reporters early this week after throwing for 368 yards against the Mountaineers. "This weekend against Georgia Tech is when things get real." Things got real for Georgia Tech when it was outgained 347 yards to 22 in falling behind 23-0 by halftime to the Tigers, and it won't get much easier with the Yellow Jackets facing a top-three rated defense for the second game in a row. Coach Paul Johnson's triple-option attack has totaled more than 600 yards rushing against Miami in splitting the last two meetings, but new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has his young group employing an attacking style that has resulted in the Hurricanes ranking second in FBS in total defense and No. 4 against the run while allowing only 23 points in three games.

TV: Noon, ESPN2. Line: Miami -7

ABOUT MIAMI (3-0): Linemen Demetrius Jackson and Chad Thomas have combined for 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks while the all-freshman starting linebacker trio featuring Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman has exceeded expectations for a defense that is tied for first in sacks (4.33 per game) and No. 1 in tackles for loss (13.3).  After dominating Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic on the ground, coach Mark Richt opened up the offense against the Mountaineers behind Kaaya, who threw scoring passes to veterans Stacy Coley and David Njoku while finding a new big-play option in freshman Ahmmon Richards (four catches, including a 62-yard TD). Sophomore Mark Walton is averaging 133.7 yards rushing and got the Hurricanes started with an 80-yard score on Miami's first offensive play against Appalachian State.  
 
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (3-1, 1-1 ACC): Versatile quarterback Justin Thomas will look to get his team's usually reliable running attack back on track after an error-filled outing that Johnson termed "a train wreck" while also looking to improve his passing accuracy (23-of-51) in an effort to keep the Hurricanes' defense guessing. Freshman running back Dedrick Mills has emerged as the team's top rushing threat (67 yards per game, five touchdowns) and sophomore Clinton Lynch has big-play ability, averaging 12 yards on 11 carries and also scoring on a 71-yard pass play. Led by lineman Patrick Gamble (2.5 sacks), linebacker P.J. Davis (24 total tackles) and defensive back Corey Griffin (25 tackles, one interception), the defense had been solid - allowing only 31 points in three wins - prior to the first-half mess against Clemson.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Richt, in his first year as Miami's coach, was 13-2 against Georgia Tech while guiding Georgia.

2.  Despite the loss to Clemson, the Yellow Jackets are 7-3 against ranked foes at home in Johnson's nine years as the team's coach.

3.  Justin Thomas left last year's matchup - a 38-21 win by Miami - in the first quarter with an injury and did not return.

PREDICTION: Miami 27, Georgia Tech 17

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Miami 3-0 W3 51.0 7.7 2-0 1-0 2-0 0-0 0-0
Georgia Tech 3-1 L1 24.2 14.2 2-1 1-0 3-1 0-0 1-1

Last Meeting

Miami Georgia Tech
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/21/15 GT 21 MIA 38 386 86 300 373 314 59

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
MIA B. Kaaya 64.0 300 1 0
GT M. Jordan 50.0 59 0 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
MIA J. Yearby 13 47 3.6 1
GT M. Marshall 8 74 9.2 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
MIA C. Herndon IV 3 66 22.0 0
GT C. Lynch 3 51 17.0 0
TDs Player TD
MIA M. Walton 3
GT M. Jordan 1
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
MIA B. Kaaya 65.8 694 7 3
GT J. Thomas 45.1 364 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
MIA M. Walton 48 401 8.4 7
GT D. Mills 48 201 4.2 5
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
MIA A. Richards 9 203 22.6 1
GT R. Jeune 7 108 15.4 0
TDs Player TD
MIA M. Walton 7
GT D. Mills 5

Quickchart Matchup

Miami Off vs  Georgia Tech Def
514 yards
339.2 yards
7.7 yards/rush
3.8 yards/rush
9.1 yards/attempt
6.4 yards/attempt
Georgia Tech Off vs  Miami Def
329.2 yards
217.3 yards
4.8 yards/rush
1.6 yards/rush
8 yards/attempt
5.3 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Miami Overall Georgia Tech
3-0-0 W/L 3-1-0
3-0-0 ATS 1-1-1
2-1-0 O/U 0-2-1
51.0 Pts For 24.2
7.7 Pts Against 14.2
Miami A/H Georgia Tech
1-0 W/L 2-1
1-0-0 ATS 1-1-0
1-0-0 O/U 0-1-1
45.0 Pts For 26.7
10.0 Pts Against 14.3