Now, even a winning season is in question.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets came into Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday as 18-point underdogs to the University of Miami Hurricanes. They left with a shocking 28-21 overtime win in front of a stupified Miami home crowd.
With 26 seconds left in regulation, UM walk-on kicker Turner Davidson’s 25-yard field-goal attempt was blocked, and instead of the Canes having a three-point lead over Georgia Tech, the game went to overtime.
Yellow Jackets tailback Jordan Mason rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on the third play of overtime to give the Yellow Jackets the eventual victory.
Miami then turned the ball over on downs after tight end Brevin Jordan’s 3-yard catch was ruled inches short of the marker following a measurement. The Yellow Jackets rushed the field as the stunned Canes could barely move.
The Hurricanes now can consider themselves out of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division race and will be scrapping to qualify for a bowl game.
The Canes fell to 3-4 (and 1-3 in the ACC) for the first time since 1997, when they were on probation and suffered substantial scholarship reductions. They must win at least three of their remaining five games to qualify for a bowl — and four of those five games will be away from Hard Rock, beginning with next Saturday’s opponent Pittsburgh (5-2, 2-1).
“Obviously, very disappointed in the result today,’’ UM coach Manny Diaz said. “Certainly had more than enough chances to win this football game. Some mistakes early on gave them hope, gave them life, and to their credit, they did a great job possessing the football in the second half, wearing us down. We will stay unified in our locker room. We will stay together.”
The lone remaining home game, to be designated as Senior Day, is Nov. 9 against Louisville.
The Canes are 5-10 in their past 15 games dating to last October, and 5-13 in their past 18 games against Power 5 opponents.
The Yellow Jackets won their second game in seven attempts and earned their first Coastal Division victory after three consecutive defeats.
Davidson’s key miss near the end of the game was the third field goal the Canes missed Saturday from inside 35 yards. Two of the misses were by Davidson and one by scholarship kicker Bubba Baxa.
“They are who we have,’’ Diaz, who characterized UM’s situation as “a rebuild,’’ said of his kickers. “We do not have free agency.’’
N’Kosi Perry started the game in place of Jarren Williams, who had been recuperating from an injured right throwing shoulder. But Perry was replaced by Williams only 20 seconds into the third quarter after injuring his left shoulder during a scramble. Williams completed the drive, which ended after he was sacked for 11 yards. He didn’t return.
Perry finished 16 of 28 for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s just tough the way it ended,’’ said Perry, who indicated his shoulder was “a little sore’’ but was OK. “It was tough. ... We feel like we’re getting better every day. We’re just not getting the results.’’
With the score 21-21, the Canes received a gift when JaQuon Griffin’s apparent fourth-quarter touchdown after at least three missed UM tackles was called back to the Miami 26-yard line after officials determined Griffin stepped out of bounds. Three plays later, Miami linebacker Shaq Quarterman caused and recovered a Georgia Tech fumble to give UM the ball at its own 23-yard line with 8:46 left in the game.
Sophomore Cam’Ron Harris then sprinted 42 yards to the Georgia Tech 35, before Perry lofted a 17-yard reception to Mike Harley. But Baxa’s wide-right miss on a 27-yard field-goal attempt six plays later kept the score tied.
Canes backup tailback Harris became the main man when starter DeeJay Dallas limped off the field with an apparent knee injury at 9:14 of the first quarter. Harris finished with a career-high 136 yards on 18 carries and a 19-yard touchdown reception.
“We lost as a team,’’ Harris said. “I had the team on my back, so I had to keep going. We can’t give up. ... We gotta take that L, but we gotta come next week and be prepared to get that W against Pitt. We all young. We still learning.’’
Canes starting defensive end Trevon Hill was not as understanding.
“We didn’t execute,’’ a frustrated Hill said at least five times during the postgame interview. “It definitely hurts being in a close game and coming up short. ... We gotta focus on Pitt because they ain’t gonna feel sorry for us.’’
UM and Georgia Tech ended the first half tied at 21.
The UM defense allowed only one of Georgia Tech’s three touchdowns in the first half, a 35-yard pass from James Graham to Ahmarean Brown with 53 seconds left in the second quarter.
“Probably more disappointing than everything was our level of competitiveness on that last drive,’’ Diaz told a WQAM sideline reporter as the half ended with that six-play, 80-yard drive in which the Hurricanes missed several tackles and cornerback DJ Ivey was beaten for a touchdown for the second time Saturday.
That final first-half drive was immediately preceded by UM’s wide-right, 34-yard field-goal attempt by Davidson, struggling kicker Baxa’s replacement as of last game.
The other two first-half touchdowns by Georgia Tech were scored by the defense and special teams. On UM’s third play from scrimmage on its opening drive after forcing the Jackets to punt, Perry was pummeled by Georgia Tech freshman Demetrius Knight at the UM 11-yard line. Perry fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Ja’Quon Griffin in the end zone for a quick 7-0 Georgia Tech lead.
After Perry’s 1-yard touchdown plunge at 6:17 of the first quarter and a 13-yard Perry pass to K.J. Osborn (following Osborn’s season-long, 52-yard punt return) later in the quarter made it 14-7 UM, the Yellow Jackets pulled off a fake punt-turned-41-yard-touchdown-pass from punter Pressley Harvin to Nathan Cottrell. UM cornerback Ivey failed to cover the receiver.
With 10 seconds left in the first quarter, the score was tied at 14.
Miami scored next on the 19-yard touchdown reception from Perry to Harris that made it 21-14 with 10:37 left in the second quarter. But UM’s sloppy final defensive showing to end the half made it all even as the teams exited the field.