Even though Georgia Tech controlled the ball for 22:43 minutes versus 7:17 minutes for Miami in the first half and the Hurricanes defense gave up 267 rushing yards, key defensive plays made the difference in their 35-21 win.
The Hurricanes never trailed in the game, took an early lead then relied on its young defense to seal the victory. Miami head coach Mark Richt said, “I’m thankful for how our players played and how our coaches got them prepared.” Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya completed 13 or 19 passes and threw for 241 yards and a touchdown. However, the young defense stole the show. The defense began the game ranked first in the nation in scoring defense, sacks and tackles for loss. And the defense didn’t disappoint. Freshmen linebacker Michael Pinchney sacked Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas on a third and seven with 10 minutes left in the first half to stop one key drive. Also, two defensive touchdowns were scored within 47 seconds of each other in the first half. Freshmen linebacker Shaquille Quarterman scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a 17-yard touchdown. Defensive End Joe Jackson recovered another fumble and ran it in for a 18-yard touchdown to make the score 28-7. In the fourth quarter, Pinckney made an interception to seal the victory. When Coach Richt was asked how big were the two fumble returns for your confidence? His response was.
“It wasn’t confidence as much as [what it meant] in the final score. Without those, who knows what would be happening right now. You saw what they were doing on offense, how they controlled the ball and took every second off the clock between plays.”
Georgia Tech Head Coach said, “It was a tough game, disappointing in that we gifted them two scores there in the second quarter off turnovers and it ended up being a momentum changer and a big part of the game. I thought we had a chance to get back in the game and we stalled out, had a couple key drops there in the end zone that hurt.”