Georgia Tech did what it does best Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium: run left, run right, run smack up the middle as the clock went tick-tick-tick.
And the University of Miami went the explosive, big-play route to score early and fast, but put their defense on the field just as fast to endure those long, grueling Yellow Jacket drives — not to mention two interceptions by UM quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Advantage, Georgia Tech, for a 28-17 victory that snapped the Hurricanes’ five-game winning streak against the Yellow Jackets and sent many of the 52,221 Tech fans onto the field for a raucous celebration.
The Yellow Jackets held the ball more than twice as long as the Hurricanes — 40:45 to 19:15.
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“We got beat in all three phases [Saturday night] by Georgia Tech,” UM coach Al Golden said. “I thought they played a hell of a ballgame.
“We helped them in too many ways to win. We didn’t get off the field on third down on defense, we didn’t get a fourth-down stop, we gave up a third-and-15.
“On offense, we had two red-zone interceptions. We were just on the field too long. ”
In the end, Georgia Tech’s vaunted triple-option offense wore down the Canes to keep the Yellow Jackets undefeated (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) and in control of the shaky Coastal Division.
Miami (3-3, 1-2), in turn, put itself in a hole in the Coastal with its second ACC loss.
UM has now lost seven of its past 12 games.
Georgia Tech scored a touchdown in each of the four quarters, with its second-half touchdown drives each stretching 13 plays for 75 yards and eating 6:50 and then 6:54 to ultimately make it 28-17.
Georgia Tech had 371 yards — 318 of them on the ground.
Miami gained 352 yards.
The big play carried Miami to 14 first-quarter points.
UM scored first on a perfectly timed 21-yard touchdown pass from Kaaya to fellow freshman Braxton Berrios with 12:19 left in the opening quarter. It was the fifth consecutive game that UM scored on its first possession.
Georgia Tech answered with a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Justin Thomas at 7:48.
Duke Johnson, who finished with 14 carries for 100 yards and three catches for 52 yards, scored the next touchdown for UM — a 24-yard run to cap a three-play, 92-yard drive that took less than a minute-and-a-half off the clock. The touchdown, on the final play of the first quarter, made it 14-7 Hurricanes.
Johnson already had 70 yards and the scoring play for an 11.7-yard-per-carry average after one quarter.
“We’re upset at ourselves,” Johnson said. “It’s a team thing. You have to make the most of your opportunities when you get them.”
Kaaya completed 16 of 25 passes for 245 yards, the touchdown and two picks.
But he also threw at least one interception for his fifth of six games, this time deep in Georgia Tech territory with about six minutes left in the first half and with 49 seconds left to seal the Tech victory.
Georgia Tech running back Zach Laskey finished with 133 yards rushing on 29 carries.
The first half ended with the score knotted at 14, but UM increasingly faded.
“It’s real frustrating,” defensive end Anthony Chickillo said. “They did a good job converting when they needed to. We couldn’t stop the dive. They were getting 5 and 6 yards a pop. We couldn’t get them in uncomfortable situations.
“Their guys did better than our guys up front.”
The Hurricanes will play host to the Cincinnati Bearcats at noon Saturday. The Bearcats are 2-2 after losing to Memphis on Saturday night.