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Championship dreams are over for Hurricanes
GA. TECH 14, NO. 3 MIAMI 10: The Yellow Jackets harass QB Kyle Wright to stop UM's eight-game winning streak.
By MICHAEL SNYDER
Published November 20, 2005
Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball eludes Miami defensive back Kenny Phillips to score on a 16-yard run in the third quarter.
MIAMI - This was a game the Hurricanes simply didn't deserve to win - and they didn't.
Georgia Tech outplayed the No. 3 Hurricanes from the start and upset Miami 14-10 Saturday night at the Orange Bowl in a game rescheduled from Oct. 22 because of Hurricane Wilma.
The loss delivered a fatal blow to Miami's chance for an 11th national championship game appearance in 23 years and a crippling one to their ACC title game aspirations. Miami (8-2, 4-2) must beat Virginia next week and hope North Carolina upsets Virginia Tech for the 'Canes to advance to the Dec. 3 game in Jacksonville against Florida State.
"I think we played about as bad as we could have played," quarterback Kyle Wright said. "We didn't capitalize on our opportunities when we had them."
Down 14-10, it appeared as if the Miami magic might defeat another foe and keep an eight-game winning streak going.
The 'Canes were on the Yellow Jackets 27 with 1:37 to play after a 24-yard pass from Wright, who had a night to forget, to Sinorice Moss. Wright, who was sacked seven times, tried to force a pass to Greg Olsen, and Dennis Davis leaped in front of him for the interception.
It was another bad play on a night full of them for Miami, which could wind up with another trip to the Peach or Gator Bowl instead of a BCS bowl.
The Hurricanes, who were 171/2-point favorites, looked storm-weary while playing under temporary lighting brought in for the game. "I think it was pretty obvious we got it handed to us tonight," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "I'm disappointed. The players are very, very disappointed. That's where we are."
There were plenty of goats on this gloomy night.
Wright, who was 14-of-31 for 207 yards with one touchdown and one interception, looked tentative most of the night.
But Wright was sacked seven times and pressured on almost every throw as the offensive line put in a miserable performance. It also failed to open holes for the running game, which was held to a season-low 30 yards on 30 carries, the low point being when Charlie Jones was thrown for a 3-yard loss on fourth and 1 at the Tech 12.
Twice cornerback Marcus Maxey had pass interference penalties that wiped out interceptions by Kenny Phillips.
The No. 1 defense in the country failed to get consistent pressure on Tech quarterback Reggie Ball. When it did, he was often able to complete the pass to Calvin Johnson (six catches for 89 yards). Ball also had a 16-yard TD run that put Georgia Tech (7-3, 5-3) ahead 14-10 with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
Miami was an abysmal 1-for-16 on third-down conversions.
The 'Canes led 10-7 at the break despite being outplayed by a Georgia Tech team with far less to play for.
A fine 37-yard catch by Ryan Moore put UM in business, and two plays later, Wright tossed a 19-yard pass to a diving Moss for the score with 57 seconds left in the half.
Georgia Tech went ahead 7-0 on a 2-yard scoring plunge by sophomore Tashard Price, who started in place of senior P.J. Daniels. The Yellow Jackets' rushing leader did not play because of an injure sternum.
The Yellow Jackets, who roughed up Wright a year ago in mopup duty, put the pressure on early.
Miami's offensive line, which had played well, appeared at times like the unit that gave up 14 sacks the first two weeks, including a record nine against FSU in the opener in Tallahassee, until now the Hurricanes' only loss.
"It's definitely regression," Coker said of the line. "We didn't run the ball well ... we were never able to set the tone we wanted to set."
When Miami finally got on the board, on Jon Peattie's 43-yard field goal, it came on a drive in which the 'Canes lost 2 yards.
"It's a great win any time you can beat the No. 3 team in the nation on the road," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "Our defense did an unbelievable job. The heart of this team is immeasurable."
Miami's heart is just broken.
"It would be easy to pack it in," Wright said. "Go lose one more game and play in the Dust Bowl. I don't think that's the mentality of our team right now. We've got one more game and we've got to finish strong."