Postscripts from UM’s 45-30 win against Georgia Tech on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium:
### These games against Tech are usually angst-ridden, but UM again found a way, overcoming an early 17-7 hole and unleashing a 38-6 run to seize control before a meaningless late Tech score with 10 seconds remaining.
There was Duke Johnson shaking off an early lost fumble to piece together another exemplary game (22 carries, 184 yards; 1 catch, 27 yards; 4 for 114 on kick returns ).
There was Stephen Morris shaking off two picks and closing 17 for 22 for 324 yards and three touchdowns.
There were dynamic plays from Rayshawn Jenkins and Ladarius Gunter, who each had key fourth-quarter picks, with Gunter returning his 30 yards for a touchdown to push UM’s cushion to 44-23 with 1:46 left.
And there was exceptional work from receivers Allen Hurns (4 for 108), Stacy Coley (3 for 74 in his first career start) and Philip Dorsett (4 for 66).
### Al Golden’s take afterward, on WQAM: “I learned a lot about our team. We knew it would be tough. I’m proud of them. Total team win. You couldn’t be in a worse situation. It did look bleak. But everyone dug deep. It’s a different team [than last year].
“Great adjustments by Mark D’Onofrio. The defensive staff was great. When Mark got to halftime and drew them up, the guys came out with a vengeance. Mark made a shift up front. They took away [Tech’s rushing offense]. If you said we would have [four] turnovers and win the game, I’d say I have some sand to sell you. It says a lot about our team and the way we’re playing.”
### After allowing 150 yards rushing in the first quarter, UM relinquished 185 the rest of the day. Tech finished averaging 5.3 per carry, but UM averaged 7.3 per carry.
And UM held Georgia Tech quarterbacks to 66 yards through the air, on dismal 6 for 19 accuracy.
### Besides each of their picks, Gunter also made a terrific play on a third quarter run, forcing a five-yard loss, and Jenkins deflected a pass earlier in the half.
And there were a bunch of other key defensive plays in the second half: Anthony Chickillo snuffed out a run for no gain or a third and three, then added another tackle for loss on Tech’s next series… Shayon Green had a sack, the second of his career and second in two weeks…. And Tyriq McCord had a sack (and forced a fumble that Tech recovered) before Gunter’s late pick-six.
### Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio made a good call on two key Georgia Tech plays with UM leading 31-23 and just over five minutes left. On the first, he blitzed Denzel Perryman and Tracy Howard, forcing an incompletion on a third and seven from the UM 38. On the next, he went to a 3-4 defense after using a 4-3 most of the day, and Jenkins got the interception.
“We were looking for the right opportunity to get into our three-down package,” D’Onofrio said. “That was unbelievably executed by our guys. Jenkins got the pick and that was exactly what he was coached to do.”
### Tech burned UM on the perimeter in the first half, but UM wasn't exploited on the edges nearly as much in the second half.
D’Onofrio said Tech, early on “gave us something we haven’t seen in a couple years we played them, something they hadn't shown previously. So we had to scramble there a little bit. We were able to settle the guys down. I was able to draw up stuff on the board, get [them] lined up correctly. We were able to do a really good job in the third and fourth quarters. We could have played better.
“There were times in the first quarter guys were freelancing, maybe playing a little tentative and nervous. Once we settled them down and locked them in, the difference in the third and fourth quarters was guys doing their job.”
D’Onofrio said “It was important we could [rotate] four inside guys. We didn’t want to get tired. Kelvin Cain was our second-team Mike linebacker because he played against this [before]. Nantambu Fentress [played]... It takes everyone not pouting and executing their role. Fortunately, we have a lot of flexibility right now.”
### Golden said “the difference between the 2012 and 2013 Canes is finishing plays” like Gunter’s.
### Golden, on Duke’s fumble, after two last week: “We can’t say: ‘Duke, sit on the bench the rest of the day because you fumbled.’ I don’t know if there’s a running back in college football that hasn’t gone through a [stretch] like this. Don’t dwell on it.... He's going to get it fixed. I don't have a concern level.
### UM closed with 551 yards, Tech 401. “Over 10 yards a play [on average offensively],” Golden said. (10.4 to be exact.) “You take the turnovers away, it could have been a prolific day. Blocked it really well. James Coley called a great game.”
And UM’s ability to run the ball and drain the clock late was encouraging. After the Jenkins pick, UM pieced together a six-play, 66-yard drive in 3:27 –-- all running plays (five by Duke, one by Dallas Crawford) --– to push the margin to 38-23. Crawford finished that drive with an 18-yard touchdown, his second of the day, shortly before Gunter's pick-six.
Crawford had scored on a three-yard run earlier in the quarter after a key 44-yard pass from Morris to Coley, pushing the lead to 31-23 at the time.
### It’s easy for overlook what a solid, reliable player Hurns is. Hurns had his first career 100-yard receiving day highlighted by his 69-yard TD catch late in the third quarter (49 yards coming on yards after catch) to break a 17-17 tie. "That is a smart football player," Golden said. "He studies the game."
### The Canes overcame four turnovers: the two Morris picks, the Johnson fumble (he was stripped on the play), and a Dorsett fumbled punt to open the fourth quarter, which led to Tech’s TD that sliced UM’s lead to 24-23. (Tech missed the extra point.)
### Morris, afterward: “There’s a lot of room for improvement. We turned the ball over too much. A couple times, we got beat by a holding call. The offensive line had the best game of their life.”
Morris had his fifth career 300-yard passing game and has thrown at least one touchdown in 10 games in a row.
### With Seantrel Henderson suspended for violating team rules, Jon Feliciano started at right tackle. But Brandon Linder ended up playing much of the game there.... Golden said Henderson was not at the game but will be reinstated (he didn't say when). He did say they will talk on Sunday.
### Shayon Green (nine) and Justin Renfro (six) set careers highs in tackles... Jimmy Gaines had a fumble recovery for the second game in a row... Denzel Perryman led UM with 10 tackles.
### UM fell behind in a game for the first time this season, leaving Washington, Louisville and Ohio State as the only major-college teams not to trail in a game this season.
### UM became the first team to beat Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson five games in a row. And for the first time, Golden reached .500 in his career as a coach (45-45).
“Anytime you take over a job like we did at Temple, where they won 10 games in 10 years before you got there, it’s going to take time to get to .500,” D’Onofrio said. “Good for him. He’s done an unbelievable job here.”
### Check back late tonight for the Sunday buzz.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz