« Al Golden preparing for showdown with his old mentor, Ga. Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh | Main | UM notes: Feliciano hurt in celebration; Spence starts, finishes in middle; big day for freshmen »

Gameday blog: Georgia Tech at Canes

CORAL GABLES -- The Miami Hurricanes (3-3, 1-2 ACC) will attempt to win their third game in a row against Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-1 ACC) when the teams meet at 3:30 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN. The 20th-ranked Yellow Jackets dropped their first game of the season last week at Virginia. UM is coming off a 30-24 win at North Carolina.

> ABOUT GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets' triple option offense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in five different statistical categories -- rushing (2nd), third-down percentage (2nd), fewest sacks allowed (2nd), total offense (9th) and scoring (10th). Over his last two games, junior quarterback Tevin Washington has put up Josh Nesbitt-like rushing numbers: 235 yards rushing and four touchdowns. No single player averages 70 yards rushing, but three Orwin Smith (69.7), David Sims (66.7) and Washington (60.6) -- average better than 60 yards. Receiver Stephen Hill is the team's big play threat in the passing game. He has three 100-yard receiving games this season. Georgia Tech has four pass plays of 70-plus yards and 48 plays of at least 20 yards this season. Defensively, while the Yellow Jackets have been giving up yards on the ground (177.14 yards per game, 81st nationally), they've held opponents to just 21 plays of 20-plus yards. 

> WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN IT COMES TO THE CANES: Maybe it's a good week to show more 3-4 defense. After all, the defensive tackle position took a hit this week with the one-game suspension of senior Micanor Regis. Junior Darius Smith (10 tackles, 1 sack) will start alongside former defensive end Adewale Ojomo in the middle. Their backups -- all freshmen: Corey King (who hasn't played a down), Olsen Pierre (2 tackles) and Jalen Grimble (0 tackles). UM's run defense ranks 94th nationally (187 yards per game). Offensively, Lamar Miller will try to bounce back from a 16-carry, 29-yard performance at North Carolina against a Yellow Jackets defense that gives up yards on the ground. Quarterback Jacory Harris hasn't thrown an interception in 14 quarters. But he needs to be careful today. Georgia Tech has eight interceptions (as many as they had last season). The Yellow Jackets don't give up many points either in the second half. They shutout Virginia last week in the second half and have give up just 14 points in the third quarter. Last week, the Canes produced two first downs and three points against North Carolina in the second half.

> MANNY'S PICK: Georgia Tech 34, Miami 31. I want to believe the Canes can overcome the suspensions and injuries on defense, that young guys will step up and deliver. But it's hard to picture it happening against a team that has run the ball as well as anybody in the country since Paul Johnson arrived. Assignment football? That just hasn't been the Canes thing on defense. Lamar Miller will have success running the football this week and Jacory Harris should continue to do a good job protecting the football. But one mistake could end up killing the Canes today. And chances are somebody on offense is going to slip eventually. In the end, that will be the difference.