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Preview: No. 11 Miami Hurricanes vs. Georgia Tech


The No. 11 University of Miami Hurricanes will host Georgia Tech Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ABC

Weather Forecast: 86 degrees; Scattered Thunderstorms (Precipitation Chance: 80 percent)

All-time Series: Tied 11-11 (Last won: Miami 35-21 in 2016)

Miami Hurricanes

Head Coach: Mark Richt (2nd season)
Record: 4-0 (2-0 ACC)
Ranked: No. 11 (AP); No. 10 (Coaches Poll)
Top Players: RB Mark Walton; WR Ahmmon Richards; LB Shaquille Quarterman; LB Zach McCloud; LB Michael Pinckney; TE Christopher Herndon IV; DT Kendrick Norton; DT RJ McIntosh; DE Chad Thomas; DE Joe Jackson; QB Malik Rosier; OL Navaughn Donaldson; WR Braxton Berrios; WR Darrell Langham.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Head Coach: Paul Johnson (10th season)
Record: 3-1 (2-0 ACC)
Top Players: QB TaQuon Marshall; RB KirVonte Benson; WR Ricky Jeune; RB Jerry Howard; RB Qua Searcy; RB Clinton Lynch; OL Parker Braun; OL Will Bryan; LB Brant Mitchell; DB Lawrence Austin; DL Antonio Simmons.

The Storyline
The No. 11 Miami Hurricanes will welcome the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to town this weekend in a game that oozes with ACC importance.

UM slew its personal dragon this past weekend – defeating rival Florida State for the first time in the last seven years. But now the Canes have to put those good feelings away and continue on their positive trajectory.

Beating the Seminoles came at a price, as Miami lost multiple players to injury following that game. Offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson and defensive backs Dee Delaney and Sheldrick Redwine are all out Saturday. However, the biggest loss was junior running back and leading rusher Mark Walton being done for the year with season-ending ankle surgery.

Stepping in the take Walton’s place is sophomore Travis Homer. Homer, who has rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns through the first four games, has shown flashes of brilliance, but he’ll have to prove he’s capable of being a No. 1 back to take the pressure off of quarterback Malik Rosier and the passing game.

Georgia Tech comes in off a bye week as a team that feels it was one play away from being undefeated. The Yellow Jackets lost 42-41 in the season-opener against Tennessee when they failed to convert a two-point conversion to win.

Junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall is the point-man for Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. Mitchell (who is listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds) leads the team in rushing (523 yards and 9 touchdowns) while also throwing for 333 yards and four touchdowns – with no interceptions.

Miami head coach Mark Richt is familiar with Georgia Tech from his time at the University of Georgia – so he’ll have plenty of nuggets to give to defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes defense.

Key Injuries
+ Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (hamstring) is QUESTIONABLE
+ Miami offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson (ankle/foot) is OUT
+ Miami defensive back Dee Delaney (lower extremity) is OUT
+ Miami defensive back Sheldrick Redwine (upper extremity) is OUT
+ Miami running back Mark Walton (ankle) is OUT for the season
+ Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier (knee) is OUT for the season

+ Georgia Tech offensive lineman Andrew Marshall (leg) is OUT
+ Georgia Tech offensive lineman Brad Morgan (upper extremity) is OUT
+ Georgia Tech offensive lineman Scott Morgan (upper extremity) is OUT
+ Georgia Tech linebacker David Curry (lower extremity) is OUT

Miami Keys To Victory
+ Stay disciplined – Miami’s defense must show gap-discipline while defending Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. Losing focus, making false steps, or being over-anxious to make a play could all lead to big plays for the Yellow Jackets.

+ Score fast – if the Hurricanes offense is able to connect on big plays and put points on the board early – putting Georgia Tech in an early hole, Miami could squelch the effectiveness of the Yellow Jackets’ run-heavy offense because they’ll be playing catch up.

+ Be efficient – because Georgia Tech runs the ball so well and so often, there’s a strong chance that the Canes will see as many as three less offensive possessions. Because of the decreased number of chances, Miami’s offense can’t have many empty, non-point-producing drives.

They Said It
Georgia Tech Paul Johnson talking about Miami’s defensive front seven…
“Yeah, they’re some real good athletes. They’re big and fast and explosive. They create of a lot of negative plays and a lot of turnovers. They’ve got some really talented people up there up front and a lot of them have played. Their three linebackers, probably as a group, are as good or better than anybody else in the league.”

Georgia Tech’s South Florida Connections
NONE

What The Sports Book Says
“The Canes have yet to lose (4-0), don’t have to play Clemson this year, and get to host Virginia Tech (arguably the Coastal Division’s second-best team), making them the midseason favorites to earn the Coastal berth in the ACC title game.

Given how good Clemson has looked, Miami is still a longshot to win the conference, let alone the national championship (39/1).” – www.mytopsportsbook.com

Score Projections
Miami (-6.5) over Georgia Tech

J.T. Wilcox = Miami 26, Georgia Tech 17

Brandon Odoi = Miami 24, Georgia Tech 17

About J.T. Wilcox

J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist that has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" Blog and "The Baldcast" Podcast. J.T. Wilcox joined the Football Hotbed staff in 2017.

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