It's time to preview tonight's game as the Hurricanes try to snap a four game losing streak to Georgia Tech and take another step forward under coach Randy Shannon.
REWIND: Do I even have to bring it up? 472. That's all you need to know. The Yellow Jackets ran through, around and over the Canes last year in Atlanta. Jonathan Dwyer and Josh Nesbitt had a field day and Georgia Tech flat out ruined whatever hopes UM had of reaching the ACC championship game. To say UM has forgotten about it would be just flat out wrong. This team has been watching film of Tech's triple option attack and practicing for it since the spring. In the Canes locker room this week, newspaper clippings were posted all over the place to remind players what Georgia Tech has done to them.
> UM wins because: They slow down (notice I didn't say shut down) Tech's Triple Option, force at least two turnovers and quarterback Jacory Harris and his receivers have another big day to help the Canes jump out in front and stay there. How important is UM's early success on offense? Maybe bigger than if Jonathan Dwyer has another big day. Last season in Tech's four losses, the Yellow Jackets not only fell behind but were at times forced to throw more than they wanted to. Nesbitt had a season-high 24 pass attempts against LSU in the blowout bowl loss, 15 against Virginia, 22 against UNC and 14 against Virginia Tech. At the very least, UM has to create at least a few situations where Nesbitt has to become a passer. If he doesn't, it's going to be a long day for the Canes.
> GT wins because: They have the same type of success they had last year running the football, breaking off long runs against UM's defense and demoralizing the Canes and the home crowd at Land Shark Stadium. This is going to be an emotional game for the Canes. They've spent so much time preparing for this game and want badly to redeem themselves for previous losses. If the Yellow Jackets grab the edge early and put some pressure on Jacory Harris, then the game is definitely playing in their favor.
> My pick: UM 34, Georgia Tech 31. I said before the season Miami's best shot at winning in their first four games were the first two. I stand by it. Georgia Tech didn't impress me very much on defense in its first two games -- or offensively for that matter (they scored two special teams TDs against Clemson). But UM's defense didn't look very good in its opener either. That's why I expect a high scoring game yet again. Miami's defense isn't going to give up 472 rushing yards again. But the Yellow Jackets are going to have success running the football. It's what they do. I just think the fact Miami is playing this game at home and has been focused on it for so long, the Canes will find a way with a turnover or two to pull this one out at the end in dramatic fashion.
WHO WILL GET THE GAME BALLS?
> Offense: Jacory Harris. After his thrilling performance at Florida State, he garnered a mock Heisman vote by ESPN. Two big performances -- like the one he'll have tonight if UM wins -- will make him a serious frontrunner for ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Georgia Tech's secondary has a special talent in safety Morgan Burnett. As long as Jacory keeps the ball away from him, his receivers should have another huge day.
> Defense: Sean Spence. I've never seen Sean Spence have two bad games in a row. That's why I'm counting on him to bounce back and help tame this Yellow Jackets offense. Miami is going to give up yards and big plays. But I've got a feeling Spence is going to help create some turnovers like he did against Virginia last year.
> Special teams: Matt Bosher. After a really tough game against FSU on kickoffs, he's been released from those duties to handle punts and field goals only. I think he'll do a great job not only converting on his field goal attempts, but keeping the ball away from NCAA punt return leader Jerrard Terrant.