Miami-Florida (3-2) at Georgia Tech (4-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 4, 7:30 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Miami 3-0, GT 2-0. Away Record: Miami 0-2, GT 2-0. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, GT 0-0. Conference Record: Miami 1-1, GT 1-0. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads, 10-9.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets put their unbeaten record on the line on Saturday night when they welcome the Miami-Florida Hurricanes to Bobby Dodd Stadium for an Atlantic Coast Conference clash.
Miami has won three of its last four games after downing reigning Coastal Division champ Duke at home last weekend, 22-10. However, all three of the Hurricanes' wins so far have come at home, whereas they are winless in two tries on the road.
Georgia Tech figures to be well rested after having a bye last weekend. The Yellow Jackets improved to 4-0 with a 27-24 come-from-behind victory at Virginia Tech in their ACC opener on Sept. 20. It promises to be a charged up atmosphere Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium, with a national television audience tuned in and Yellow Jacket fans taking part in a "Whiteout."
Georgia Tech owns a 10-9 series lead, although Miami has won five straight meetings.
A steady rainstorm was not enough to deter Miami running back Duke Johnson against the Blue Devils, as he logged 25 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown. The Hurricanes' ground game ranks just 87th nationally (138.6) on the season despite the presence of All-ACC running back Johnson, who is averaging 105 yards per game and 6.1 per carry.
Opposing defenses have shown a tendency to sell out in order to stop the run when facing Miami, and that has created some opportunities in the passing game for quarterback Brad Kaaya. He was 20-of-34 for 223 yards against Duke, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. It marked the first game in Kaaya's career that he did not throw a pick. He is averaging 255.0 ypg through the air while completing 61.6 percent of his passes and has thrown 12 touchdowns against seven INTs.
Miami's defense played with a purpose after getting gashed by Duke in the previous season's meeting, and exposed by Nebraska a week earlier. The Hurricanes held Duke to just 264 yards last Saturday as the Blue Devils went just 2-of-16 on 3rd downs and failed to convert any of their three fourth-down tries. In fact, Duke's 85 rushing yards was the team's lowest single-game total since November of 2012.
Miami entered this week ranked 14th in the country in total defense (299.8), 14th in passing yards allowed (164.6) and 19th in pass efficiency defense (104.39).
Georgia Tech's option-based attack is ranked 10th nationally in rushing offense (292.0), and the Yellow Jackets are No. 3 in third-down conversion percentage (.563). Dual-threat quarterback Justin Thomas is the straw that stirs the drink, as he ranks among the top rushers in the country with an average of 110.8 ypg (6.8 ypc). He is completing only 49.2 percent of his 65 pass attempts on the year, but has tossed seven TDs against only one pick.
Against the Hokies, Thomas had 165 yards and a score on 22 carries, and he threw the tying touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. It was his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game, the first Tech QB to do so since Tevin Washington in 2011.
Trailing 16-10 early in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech's defense got a huge boost from Paul Davis, who returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown to put the Yellow Jackets back on top. It was one of three interceptions on the day for the defense. The final one helped set up the game-winning field goal in the final seconds. All told, the Yellow Jackets turned those three turnovers into 17 points, which proved to be a key difference in the outcome. D.J. White led the way with 10 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and an interception.
While Miami has won 11 of its last 12 games at home, it has been a different story on the road. The Hurricanes will need to change that trend this week if they hope to contain Thomas and the Yellow Jackets.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 27, Miami 20
10/01 10:40:52 ET