ST. THOMAS -- Wish I could say I was in the freezing cold with the rest of the UM sports writers for tonight's game, but I've been sent to this terrible place called the U.S. Virgin Islands to cover Frank Haith's basketball team. It's horrible. My hotel, Marriott's Frenchman Reef & Morning Star, has a terrible view of the ocean. And these pina coladas aren't even close to being the best I've had in my life.
But enough about my horrible assignment. I'll be watching tonight's game from my hotel room and sharing my thoughts as it rolls along. I don't know about you, but I'm excited about this game. It's been a while since Miami played a meaningful game like this -- if you don't count last week. But you know what I mean.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS/THOUGHTS...
> Georgia Tech picks up right where it left it off and moves right down the field. Consider it a small victory Miami held the Yellow Jackets to a field goal. GT 27, UM 3.
> Talk about a strange drive. But at least UM is showing life. Dedrick Epps hauls an 18-yard touchdown pass from Robert Marve with 7:45 left to play in the third quarter to get into the end zone. Epps made a huge 30-yard catch on the drive. Thearon Collier caught a 21-yard pass on 4th and 13. But the play of the drive? Kayne Farquharson running onto the field on the touchdown pass when UM was short one player and delivers a key block to allow Marve to throw the TD. GT 27, UM 10.
> Safe to say this one is over now. Josh Nesbitt scores on a 1-yard plunge to make it 34-10 with 4:08 to play. Miami has given up 361 yards rushing to this triple option attack. GT 34, 10.
> I think the bigger thing to take from this game is that Miami certainly isn't the first team to struggle against this offense. Whatever UM did to prepare in practice this week, didn't get them ready. Sometimes, that happens.
> It's become flat-out embarrassing. Lucas Cox makes it 41-10 with a run right up the middle. Now, the question becomes does Georgia Tech set a record for rushing yards tonight? 395 yards rushing on Miami. I'm going to google this.
> At this point, I'm wondering why more backups aren't in the game. No need for starters to get hurt. Miami still has something to play for next week at N.C. State.
> Jacory Harris moves UM downfield and into the end zone with a touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson with 10 minutes left in the game. Maybe something to build on a night when so much went wrong. GT 41, UM 16.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS/THOUGHTS...
> So far, the story of the game has been Miami's inability to stop the triple option on the edges. While the defensive tackles did a good job plugging up the middle, Jonathan Dwyer and company were able to to run to the outside. Georgia Tech capped its first drive with a 31-yard field goal with 5:53 left. GT 3, UM 0.
> Couple nice early plays for the Canes young defensive players -- Sean Spence and Marcus Robinson each have a sack.
> Special teams was horrible in the first quarter. Travis Benjamin couldn't get past the 20 on the first kicks he handled. Matt Bosher nearly had a punt blocked and had another go 32 yards.
> As bad as the 1st quarter was for UM (GT outgained UM 145-45), the second quarter has gotten off to an even worse start. Michael Johnson's 26-yard interception return for a touchdown has put the Yellow Jackets up two scores with 13:28 left. UM showed a lot of heart in rallying to victory this season in tough places. They'll have to do it again tonight. Georgia Tech 10, UM 0.
> It wasn't a touchdown, but it was something. After getting picked on his first series inside the Georgia Tech 20, Jacory Harris leads UM on a scoring drive his next series. He made a couple nice throws, hooking up with Aldarius Johnson along the sideline and then Sam Shields, who made a nice move for a 23-yard gain. It ended with a 24-yard Matt Bosher field goal with 6:19 left in the half. GT 10, UM 3.
> And right when you think Miami has built a little momentum, the defense gets torched by the triple option. Jonathan Dwyer races right up the middle of the field for a 58-yard scoring run. Anthony Reddick and Romeo Davis over-pursued on the plays. This is where you miss a Colin McCarthy. GT 17, UM 3.
> Slow down the triple option offense: Shannon talked this week about tackling high and causing turnovers. GT is next to last in the nation when it comes to turning the ball over via the fumble. Miami needs to make sure though it wraps up, especially the Yellow Jackets big man when he runs up the middle.
> Make sure your quarterbacks aren't forced to win today: Georgia Tech has a very good defense, but what is most special about the Yellow Jackets is their secondary. The last time UM played a secondary like this, UCF nearly pulled off the upset. Robert Marve and Jacory Harris need to be caretakers today.
> Continue to capitalize in the red zone: Miami has been the best team in the ACC when it comes to scoring in the red zone and that's a big reason why they are on this five game winning streak. Last week, UM couldn't punch the ball into the end zone against Virginia Tech, but still came away with points every time down. They need to do the same this week if it hopes to end the three game losing streak against Georgia Tech.
> It might be time for me to head back to the beach. Georgia Tech is running right through Miami's defense. 229 yards now. Jonathan Dwyer has 10 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns. His last one might have put a nail in Miami's coffin with 1:59 left in the first half. GT 24, UM 3.
> I'm expecting hot games today from Glenn Cook, Marcus Forston and the middle of Miami's defense. As good as UM looked last week sacking Virginia Tech's quarterbacks, I think the Canes win tonight because Cook, Spence and those no-name defensive tackles (Joe Joseph, Dwayne Hendricks) represent.
> I'd stay cool on the tight ends. Last week, I expected Dedrick Epps, Chris Zellner and company to play well and they were shutout. I don't see them breaking out this game.