MIAMI -- The Hurricanes (6-3, 4-2 ACC) will try to keep their hopes of reaching the ACC championship game alive today when they take on Georgia Tech (5-4, 3-3) at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. You can watch it locally on WBFS-Ch. 33 or listen it on the radio at WQAM.com. Feel free to participate in our discussion below as you tune in. Here is a link to where the game is televised in other places.
REWIND: The last time the Hurricanes faced the Yellow Jackets they cruised to a 33-17 win in South Florida. Two years ago in Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets dashed and gashed UM's hopes of reaching the ACC title game by rolling to a 41-23 win. Georgia Tech owns the all-time series 10-5. The last time UM won in Atlanta it was a 27-3 win in 2004.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets own the No. 1 rushing offense in the country and have ravaged opposing teams with their triple option offense. But Georgia Tech will be without its trigger man -- quarterback Josh Nesbitt for the rest of the regular season. Redshirt sophomore Tevin Washington relieved an injured Nesbitt, who suffered a broken right forearm in a 28-21 loss at Virginia Tech on Nov. 4, and is 3-of-10 passing for 84 yards and in interception this season. He's run 23 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets still have plenty of talent in the backfield even without Nesbitt. B-back Anthony Allen (6-0, 229) leads the team in rushing with 817 yards and five touchdowns. A-backs Orwin Jones (6-0, 202) and Roddy Jones (5-9, 202) have combined for 469 yards and seven TDs this season on only 62 attempts.
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets have been mediocre at best. Their run defense ranks 82nd in the country and they're giving up an average of 24 points a game (54th overall). The pass defense, however, is solid (ranking 21st overall).
THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON FOR UM...
THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON FOR UM...
Will the Canes continue to run the football? Miami ran the ball a season high 49 times last week in its win over Maryland. With freshman Stephen Morris making only his second career start, will offensive coordinator Mark Whipple remain committed to take the pressure off Morris' shoulders? We'll find out. Georgia Tech is obviously susceptible to the run. And will Damien Berry play?
Penalties, penalties, penalties... The Canes almost killed themselves last week when Sean Spence was flagged for a facemask, negating a fumble return for a touchdown that would have given them the lead against Maryland. It's debatable whether or not Spence deserved the flag. What isn't debatable? The Canes rank dead last (119th) in the country in penalties. Most of them are really dumb penalties that are lack of focus. They can't afford to keep giving away big plays with penalties.
Un-special teams... When will the special teams become special again? Missed extra points are inexcusable. But beyond that, the Canes haven't had a decent return on a kickoff or punt in a long time. Can UM change the field today against the Yellow Jackets?
MY PICK: The Hurricanes have never beaten Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in the same season. If there is a team they are more equipped to beat this year of those two, its Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are without their starting quarterback and their defense isn't as good as it has been. I think the Canes remain in the hunt for the ACC title for another week as long as Stephen Morris isn't asked to win the game again. UM 27, Georgia Tech 17.