No. 20 Miami ends skid vs. No. 14 Ga. Tech

No. 20 Miami ends skid vs. No. 14 Ga. Tech

Published Sep. 19, 2009 8:10 a.m. ET

He saved it all for the field.

And Georgia Tech's hex over Miami? It's over.

Cool and in control throughout, Harris completed 20 of 25 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns, and the 20th-ranked Hurricanes snapped a four-game losing streak against No. 14 Georgia Tech with a 33-17 victory Thursday night.

Miami scored on its first three possessions, built a 24-3 lead shortly after halftime and outgained the Yellow Jackets by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.


"One thing I congratulate this team on is how we stay focused," Harris said. "You know, there's a lot of people around campus and in the community, they praise us now and they've got our back and all this. But the thing I know about this team, we're not (letting) anything go to our head."

Miami (2-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) matched its best league start since 2004, outgained Georgia Tech 454-228 and set up a Coastal Division showdown at Virginia Tech on Sept. 26. Graig Cooper ran for 93 yards, Javarris James rushed for 72 more and a touchdown, and LaRon Byrd caught five passes for 83 yards and another score.

It's the first time Miami has won consecutive games against ranked opponents since the end of the 2003 season.

"Big win for us tonight," Miami coach Randy Shannon said. "Big, huge win. Big for this football team and this program."

Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1) blew Miami out a year ago, dooming the Hurricanes' conference title hopes by rushing for 472 yards. This time, Miami handled the triple option with relative ease, holding the Yellow Jackets to 95 yards rushing - 60 of those coming on the game's first drive.

Tech's reigning ACC player of the year, fullback Jonathan Dwyer, was slowed by a shoulder injury - only a stinger, he said afterward - and finished with 7 yards on five carries. Josh Nesbitt completed 6 of 15 passes, all to Demaryius Thomas, for 133 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

"We could never get them off the field," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "In a game like that, you better maximize and we didn't. We played very poorly on offense."

Miami didn't.

Other than two late missed field goals by Matt Bosher, there wasn't much for Miami to complain about, and the Hurricanes sauntered off celebrating their most significant win in years. Even tight end Jimmy Graham - who spent four years on Miami's basketball team - got into the act, catching a 14-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

Graham was the only Miami player ever to beat Georgia Tech before: He was 4-1 against the Yellow Jackets in basketball.

"This offense is not selfish," Byrd said. "As long as we're winning."

Since taking a 24-0 lead against Clemson last Thursday night, Georgia Tech has been outscored 60-23.

"We just killed ourselves," Dwyer said. "We didn't play Georgia Tech football. I think we finally learned our lesson. We realized that if we don't go out here and work hard, we're going to get our butts kicked."

Georgia Tech ran the ball on its first 12 plays, quickly forcing Miami into a series of frantic substitutions. Eric Moncur - Miami's sixth-year defensive end who was injured most of last season and was held out of this year's opener - got a big stop on third-and-6, forcing Tech to settle for a field goal.

The Yellow Jackets ran for 60 yards on that drive - and managed only 27 more the rest of the half.

Meanwhile, Harris was the picture of cool, setting the tone for the Miami sideline.

A 35-yard pass to Leonard Hankerson was immediately followed by a 40-yard toss to Byrd for Miami's first touchdown. Dedrick Epps caught a 13-yarder for a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter, and Bosher connected on a 34-yard field goal with 5:45 left in the half.

"As long as we play as a team," Harris said, "we'll come out with victories like this."

Meanwhile, even when Georgia Tech caught a break, the Jackets couldn't cash in. A pass interference call against Vaughn Telemaque on fourth-and-12 from the Miami 29 extended one drive; the Yellow Jackets went for it there because kicker Scott Blair was 0 for 7 lifetime from outside 40 yards.

Three plays later, he tried a field goal from 39 yards: Wide right it sailed off the Florida Marlins' infield dirt, only Blair's second miss in 19 career tries from that distance or less, according to STATS LLC.