Georgia Tech wears down Miami, stays unbeaten
ATLANTA (AP) Deon Hill ran 8 yards for a decisive touchdown on fourth down, Zach Laskey rushed a career-high 29 times for 133 yards and Georgia Tech stayed unbeaten with a 28-17 victory over Miami on Saturday night.
It marked the first time in six years that the Yellow Jackets beat Miami, and a couple thousand students rushed the Bobby Dodd Stadium field after the final buzzer to celebrate with players and the marching band.
Justin Thomas was held in check statistically but was instrumental in running the spread option offense effectively, helping the Yellow Jackets (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Conference) earn a nearly 21-minute advantage in time of possession.
Duke Johnson had 100 yards rushing on 14 carries for the Hurricanes (3-3, 1-2 ACC), but freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya couldn't overcome an interception that safety Isaiah Johnson jumped to pick off at the Georgia Tech 10-yard line late in the second quarter.
Thomas, who surprisingly led the nation coming into the game by averaging over 19 yards per completion in coach Paul Johnson's run-first attack, was just 3-of-6 passing for 23 yards entering the fourth.
But following the long timeout before the final quarter, Johnson called for Thomas to hit Tony Zenon on a deep crossing route to convert a long third down. The pass covered 30 yards and set up Hill's TD run on fourth-and-two from the 8.
Kaaya was sacked by linebacker Paul Davis on Miami's next possession, forcing the Hurricanes to punt and give the ball back to clock-consuming Jackets.
Johnson averaged 8.2 yards on 10 carries in the first half, but Georgia Tech's offense did its best to keep the ball out of his hands.
The Jackets had 10-minute advantage in time of possession before eating up nearly the first 7 minutes of the third quarter with a 13-play, 75-yard possession that put Georgia Tech up 21-14 on B.J. Bostic's 2-yard TD run.
Miami caught a break on second down when receiver D'Mauri Jones appeared to lose a fumble at the Jackets' 5, but the call was not overturned, and the Hurricanes cut the lead to four on Michael Badgley's 27-yard field goal.
Miami took a 7-0 lead on the game's opening drive when Braxton Berrios ran a 21-yard corner route past Demond Smith for an uncontested catch in the right side of the end zone.
After Georgia Tech forced a 7-all tie on Thomas' 1-yard run, the Hurricanes went up 14-7 on their third drive when Johnson ran through the left side of the field for a 24-yard touchdown.
The Jackets made it 14-all on the first possession of the second quarter on Zenon's 6-yard run.
Notes: Punter Ryan Rodwell ran up the middle for a 10-yard gain on a fake punt in the second quarter. Marques Gayot picked up Rodwell and body slammed him on the punter's back, but Rodwell got up smiling and ran to the sideline. ... Georgia Tech announced a crowd of 52,211. ... Jackets starting left guard Bryan Chamberlain was injured early in the fourth quarter but walked off the field under his own power. ... Georgia Tech hosts Duke next week. ... The Hurricanes host Cincinnati.