CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Hurricanes take the field Saturday against Georgia Tech, first place in the Coastal Division of the ACC will be on the line.
The biggest obstacles in front of Miami in the Coastal are Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
The challenge for Miami on Saturday is to play with emotion after their dramatic win over FSU.
In order to make the Florida State win meaningful, the Canes must beat Georgia Tech.
The other key will be stopping the Georgia Tech vaunted triple option running attack.
The Yellow Jackets are averaging s shade under 400 yards per game on the ground.
Against Tennessee, Georgia Tech ran the ball 86 times for 535 yards.
In their last win over North Carolina they ran 66 times for 403 yards.
The key players are quarterback Taquan Marshall, the team’s leading rusher with 523 yards and running back Kirvonte Benson who is 12 in the nation in rushing yards per 119.
Both Marshall and Benson have rushed for over 100 yards in three of four games.
Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said this about Georgia Tech’s run offense.
“It comes back to what every game does – it’s about explosive plays, which is really their greatest threat. Everyone thinks about the run game, I think they’re fifth in the country in yards per pass attempt and they normally are. They’ve only thrown it 33 times in four games, but when they do, they get yards. They’ve got guys down the field that can go get it. The quarterback throws it down the field better than you wish he did. It’s the constant threat of explosive plays. Tackling is super important. Our secondary was outstanding tackling in that game a year ago, and will have to be again. There’s very little margin for error.”
Georgia Tech leads the ACC and ranks 6th nationally in total defense, allowing 260 yards per game.
The Yellow Jackets have forced 26 three and outs on their 49 defensive series’ this year.
They have an experienced secondary led by former Parade All American AJ Gray. Georgia Tech’s defense has produced 10 sacks and 4 interceptions.
Miami quarterback Malik Rosier ranks 36th in the nation in passing efficiency and understands this is a very good Georgia Tech defense.
“They throw a lot of different stuff then what they did in the previous years so you really have to be on your P’s and Q’s,” Rosier said. “They’re 4-1, they know how to win, they’re fast, they’re physical. So, for us it’s just doing our job every play cause like I said with FSU, if you make a little mistake they’ll get a turnover, they’ll stop you. And their offense hangs on to the ball for a while so every time we touch it we have to put points on the board.”
A win by Miami puts them in the driver’s seat in the Coastal Division.
They would have a 2-game lead over Georgia Tech and their next toughest division games against Virginia and Virginia Tech are both at home.
Miami has defeated Georgia Tech seven of the last eight meetings and all four times they have played at Hard Rock Stadium.
Last year Miami was just 1-7 on 3rd downs vs Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets are in the top ten in 3rd down defense holding opponents to 24 percent conversions.
In Miami’s nine game win streak they have outscored the opponent in the 2nd half 196-59 and 38-7 this year in the 3rd quarter.