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Miami makes the key plays to sink Georgia Tech

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Miami’s 35-21 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday provided the perfect example of an old saying. That saying goes “there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics.”

The Yellow Jackets controlled the ball for 40 minutes at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, while the Hurricanes had the ball for only 20. Georgia Tech had 361 yards of total offense to Miami’s 355.

With Georgia Tech’s ball-control option offense, that should point to a victory, but not on Saturday. Instead, Miami maximized their possessions, plus scored when they did not have the ball. The Hurricane defense made the key plays that put them in control of the game.

With the score tied 7-7, Miami went on a 90-yard drive in the second quarter to take the lead. Shaquille Quarterman and Joe Jackson then scored two touchdowns on fumble recoveries within a matter of seconds (three snaps) to take a 28-7 lead.

After the Hurricanes took a 28-14 lead at halftime, the Yellow Jackets came out and scored early in the third quarter to get within 28-21. Hurricanes’ quarterback Brad Kaaya then hit  Stacy Coley for 31 yards to re-establish a two-touchdown lead.

That put Georgia Tech in the position they can ill-afford: behind late and needing to pass. Quarterback Justin Thomas was intercepted at the Miami 21, ending any real opportunity they had to catch the Hurricanes.

While the time of possession did not tell the story, other statistics did make the case for a Miami win. Georgia Tech was only one for seven on third down. The key statistic was turnovers. Miami did not turn the ball over and Georgia Tech had the two critical scoop-and-score fumbles and the one interception.

Kaaya threw for 241 yards and a touchdown while Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton each had rushing touchowns for the Hurricanes. Dedrick Mills ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets.

The victory raised Miami’s record to 4-0. First-year coach Mark Richt is now a perfect 9-0 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, including an 8-0 record as Head Coach at Georgia.


Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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