ATLANTA, GA – Coming into Saturday’s game under the lights at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech and Miami were both 5-4 and seeking a win to secure bowl eligibility. After a game Paul Johnson characterized as “one of the weirdest” he’s been a part of, Georgia Tech came out on top and secured a postseason bid.
In a match-up familiar to both coaches, Mark Richt came into Atlanta having won the last several of his match-ups at Bobby Dodd Stadium. After Miami's opening drive, it looked like his team had all the momentum to continue that streak. Miami drove down the field in 11 plays, covering 75 yards in a little under five and a half minutes. Of the 75 yards gained, 60 came through 3 passes by starting quarterback N’Kosi Perry. The remaining 15 yards came via 8 rushes, a tone set by Georgia Tech’s run defense throughout the game.
Georgia Tech immediately regained the momentum, scoring 14 points in quick succession after a 75 yard touchdown drive of their own and a fumble recovery on the subsequent kickoff, punching it in to double their score after starting on Miami’s 23 yard line.
Georgia Tech scored another 3 points via a Wesley Wells field goal late in the second quarter, and seemed poised to take a 17-7 lead into halftime until Miami recovered a rugby punt that ricocheted off a Georgia Tech player. The Hurricanes punched it in off the short field for another 7 points themselves. Heading into and immediately out of halftime, Miami seemed to hold all of the momentum.
That was until Brad Stewart fought off a defender to haul in a 31 yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback TaQuon Marshall. Marshall went 3-4 on the day for 73 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 24 times for another 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tech’s offense had 304 total yards to Miami’s 299, 231 of which came on 53 rushing attempts. Georgia Tech rushed for 4.4 yards a carry against one of the nation’s top defenses that until then had limited their opponents to about 3 yards a carry.
Stewart's touchdown grab put the Jackets up 27-14 late in the 3rd quarter. By the time Mark Richt abandoned the run that Tech’s defense had stuffed all game, a 4th quarter touchdown drive led by Perry through the air was too little, too late. Tech received the ball with just under 7 minutes left in the game and never gave it back, finishing out a gutty 27-20 victory over a team that in recent years seemed to have their number.
With this win, Georgia Tech now stands at 6-4 and has secured bowl eligibility, which seemed improbable after a dismal 1-3 start to their campaign. Where Tech stands now is a testament to the players rallying together and, instead of pointing fingers, lifting themselves and one another up through hard work and achieving what few thought possible just a few weeks into the season. As TaQuon Marshall said after the game, “these next two weeks are going to be fun.”
Multiple Staff Members Contributed To This Article