MIAMI GARDENS, Florida
For Miami and Georgia Tech, the margin of error is gone.
If the Hurricanes are to continue to have any chance of winning the most messy coastal division in the Atlantic Coast Conference, they have to beat Georgia Tech. And if the Yellow Jackets are to have a realistic chance of making a bowl game, they have to beat Miami.
As such, both sides know what is coming from the other side when they face each other on Saturday – desperation.
âWhen we play in the ACC Coastal we expect the games to be close, close and hotly contested,â said Miami coach Manny Diaz. âGeorgia Tech’s back, they’re against the wall. We recognize it. We expect to see an injured team fight for their lives on Saturday. “
He would prefer his team to take the same approach. It’s been like that lately, and it’s working.
Miami (4-4, 2-2) gave new hope after beating NC State and Pitt – the two Top 25 AP teams at the time, both in the opening Top 25 standings released earlier this week by the college football playoff committee – on the last two weekends. None of the four teams remaining on the Hurricanes’ calendar currently have any winning records, so there is a chance for Miami to continue advancing in the coastal race.
âTo me, it’s’ Hey let’s find a way to win a football game and keep that back-to-the-wall mentality,â Diaz said.
Georgia Tech (3-5, 2-4) is only ahead of Duke in the Coastal standings. But a loss on Saturday would put playoff hopes in absolute jeopardy, as the Yellow Jackets would have to win just to become bowling eligible at 6-6 overall – and, in that scenario, they would have to beat No.1 Georgia to make it in. so that will happen.
The Yellow Jackets insist they see steps in the right direction.
âWhat we did in this program, the guys did, the coaches did, is (near) the margin of error,â said Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins. âWe reduced the gap between the teams we faced. The last phase of program development (is) not just to be in these close gamesâ¦ we have to find ways to win them.
A RENEWED RIVALITY
The Hurricanes and the Yellow Jackets did not play last season. They were due to play in November, but the game was postponed due to virus issues in Miami. The postponed date was pushed back to December 19 and the Yellow Jackets ended up telling the ACC he couldn’t play. Miami-Georgia Tech’s cancellation was announced the day before the Hurricanes lost what became their regular season finale to North Carolina.
Miami has had each of its last four games – two wins, two losses – decided by four points or less, the first time in program history that there has been such a close series of games. With a two-point victory over Appalachian State earlier this season, the Hurricanes have played five games decided by four points or less. This is the most for any FBS team in the country entering this week.
Georgia Tech has a pair of all-stars at the head of the offense, and technically the two are still classified as freshmen because no one lost eligibility last year under NCAA rule. Quarterback Jeff Sims broke the 3,000-yard mark last week, making him the 12th player in school history with that many yards. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs, also last week, broke the 2,000-yard yardstick mark in career.
DEPOSIT OF DIMES
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke threw for 325 yards in the NC State win, then 428 last week in the win at Pitt. With those numbers, he only became the eighth Hurricane QB since 1984 with consecutive 325-yard games – joining Malik Rosier (2017), Brad Kaaya (2014), Stephen Morris (who did so twice in 2012) , Ken Dorsey (2002), Gino Torretta (1991), Craig Erickson (1990) and Bernie Kosar (1984).
Georgia Tech leads the all-time inter-school series, 13-12. But Miami has won eight of the last 11, even with the Yellow Jackets winning in 2018 and 2019.