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Recap & More: Miami Downs Georgia Tech, 35-10

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ATLANTA (AP) — Freshman Stephen Morris didn’t have to carry Miami in his first road start, not with four backs running for touchdowns and Leonard Hankerson making big catches.

Morris only had to avoid mistakes to help Miami set a season high in total offense for the second straight week.

Morris passed for 230 yards and a touchdown to win the matchup of backup quarterbacks and Miami beat Georgia Tech 35-10 on Saturday to stay alive in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

Morris, making his second start as Jacory Harris recovers from a concussion, completed 10 of 18 passes and did not have a turnover.

“Stephen did a tremendous job of just managing the game,” said Miami coach Randy Shannon.

Lamar Miller, Damien Berry, Mike James and Graig Cooper ran for touchdowns and Hankerson had a 78-yard touchdown catch as Miami had a season-high 507 total yards, including 277 yards rushing. The big day topped Miami’s 504 yards behind Morris in last week’s 26-20 win over Maryland.

“If we continue to do this, we can be a very special football team,” Shannon said.

Shannon said Morris showed impressive composure on the field and on the sideline, including in his comments to the coach as the lead grew in the second half.

“He was standing beside me and he looked over at me and said ‘You can loosen up a little,'” Shannon said, adding “I said to him ‘You can loosen up, too.'”

Added Shannon: “He doesn’t get nervous.”

Hankerson had three catches for 132 yards, including the long touchdown, his 11th of the season to tie Michael Irvin’s school record set in 1986.

It marked the second straight week Hankerson caught a touchdown pass from Morris.

“He does what he has to do,” Hankerson said of Morris. “He makes every drive count.”

Miami (7-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) is chasing Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division and will play the Hokies next week.

“We’re very excited,” Shannon said. “That’s the thing about ACC football, it always comes down to the last week. This is a very special time for all of us.”

Georgia Tech (5-5, 3-4) has lost three straight for the first time since the end of 2006.

Georgia Tech sophomore quarterback Tevin Washington also played well in his first start. Washington ran for 122 yards and completed 7 of 16 passes for 101 yards. Georgia Tech’s only touchdown came on Washington’s first career scoring pass, a 22-yard completion to Kevin Cone to open the second half.

“I thought he played OK,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson of Washington. “He did some decent things, ran the offense OK. He can’t make up for 10 other guys. He’s got to have some help.”

Georgia Tech lost two fumbles inside the Miami 10. Bobby Dodd Stadium’s stands were almost empty when Washington lost the ball on a run from the Miami 5 with less than a minute remaining.

Washington is replacing Georgia Tech senior Joshua Nesbitt, who will miss the rest of the regular season after suffering a broken right forearm in last week’s loss at Virginia Tech.

Morris led two 88-yard touchdown drives on Miami’s first two possessions and Georgia Tech never recovered.

“We dug ourselves a hold that we could never get out of,” Johnson said. “… We got beat in pretty much every facet of the game.”

Miami led 21-10 in the third quarter when Georgia Tech, driving to possibly close the deficit to four points, committed a crucial turnover. Orwin Smith fumbled a pitch on a first-down play from the Miami 6. Ray-Ray Armstrong recovered for the Hurricanes to set up an 86-yard touchdown drive.

“It looked like maybe he took his eyes off of it and looked up,” Johnson said of Smith. “You’ve got to just fall on the ball. You don’t try to pick it up.”

 

Stats | Photos | Videos | Notes

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
Miami 14 0 14 7 35
G-Tech 0 3 7 0 10

Team Stat Comparison
  GT UM
1st Downs 20 24
Rushing 1st Downs 15 13
Passing 1st Downs 4 8
Net Yards Rushing 308 277
Rushing Attempts 59 46
Avg Per Rush 5.2 6.0
Rushing TDs 0 4
Net Yards Passing 101 230
Cmp-Att-Int 7-17-0 10-18-0
Avg Per Attempt 5.9 12.8
Avg Per Completition 14.4 23.0
Passing TDs 1 1

Individual Stat Leaders
Passing Leaders
  Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Lng
S. Morris 10-18-0 230 1 79
T. Washington 7-16-0 101 1 32

Rushing Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
   L. Miller 11 85 1 7.7
   D. Berry 15 73 1 4.9
G-Tech        
   T. Washington 21 122 0 5.8
   O. Smith 12 88 0 7.3

Receiving Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
   T. Benjamin 4 64 0 30
   L. Hankerson 3 132 1 79
G-Tech        
   K. Cone 3 42 1 22
   O. Smith 1 32 0 32

After the two 88-yard drives, Miami appeared to be on the verge of adding a third first-quarter touchdown when linebackerColin McCarthypicked up a fumble by Roddy Jones and ran 41 yards for an apparent score.

A lengthy review by the officials showed Jones’ knee was down before he fumbled. Georgia Tech retained possession to set up Scott Blair’s 38-yard field goal for the Yellow Jackets’ only points of the first half.

Washington’s first career TD pass early in the third quarter gave Georgia Tech hope, but Miami had a quick answer.

On its first play following the kickoff, Morris connected with Hankerson on the 78-yard scoring pass. Hankerson caught the short pass on the 30 and then outran the Yellow Jackets’ secondary for Miami’s longest touchdown of the season.

Asked what he was thinking, Hankerson said “I might get caught.”

Hankerson, a senior, has 20 touchdown catches for his career, tyingAndre JohnsonandReggie Waynefor third place on the school records.

Damien Berry Tyler Horn
Colin McCarthy Orlando Franklin
Ray-Ray Armstrong Leonard Hankerson
Marcus Forston Lamar Miller
Sean Spence

Postgame Notes

TODAY’S WIN…
– Improved Miami’s road record to 4-2 this season.
– Moved the Hurricanes’ record to 5-2 in ACC play.
– Gave the ‘Canes at least five conference wins for the second consecutive season.
– Improved Randy Shannon’s career record to 28-20 and record against Georgia Tech to 2-2.

HANKERSON JOINS ELITE COMPANY
Senior wide receiver Leonard Hankerson continued his climb towards the top of the several University of Miami receiving charts today.

– Hankerson’s third quarter 79-yard touchdown grab was his 11th receiving touchdown of the season, tying him with Michael Irvin for a single season record at Miami.

– With 132 receiving yards today, Hankerson moved into fifth place in school history for receiving yards in a season with 879. During the game, Hankerson passed himself (801 yards in 2009), Dale Dawkins (833 yards in 1989), Michael Irvin (840 yards in 1985; 868 yards in 1986) and Willie Smith (852 yards in 1984).

– During the first half, Hankerson became one of just three players in school history to record back-to-back 800 yard seasons. Hankerson, who had 801 receiving yards last year as a junior, joins Michael Irvin (840 in 1985; 868 in 1986) and Andre Johnson (881 in 2001; 1,092 in 2002) are the only other ‘Canes to have ever accomplished the feat.

– Hankerson has now scored a touchdown in five straight games and eight of Miami’s 10 games this season.

– His 79-yard touchdown catch was also a career-long.

– Hankerson has now caught a pass in 23 straight games.

GETTING IN THE BACKFIELD
Entering today’s game, Miami ranked third nationally in tackles for loss per game (8.22). Today, the ‘Canes tallied 10 tackles for a loss, led by junior linebacker Sean Spence with three.

START IT UP
True freshman quarterback Stephen Morris made his first career road start today. Morris, who garnered his first career start last week at home against Maryland, went 10-for-18 for 230 yards against the Yellow Jackets today.

KEEPING IT ON THE GROUND
A week after tallying 218 yards on 49 carries, the ‘Canes continued their success on the ground this afternoon, piling up 145 yards on 21 carries in the opening half. Damien Berry has a team-best 65 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while Lamar Miller has 61 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Miami finished the game with 277 yards on 46 carries, led by Lamar Miller with 85 yards on 11 rushes.

– Four different running backs – Damien Berry, Graig Cooper, Lamar Miller and Mike James – scored on touchdown runs today for Miami.

I’LL TAKE THAT
Jared Campbell’s late fourth quarter fumble recovery was Miami’s 26th turnover forced this season. Coming into the game, Miami was tied for seventh nationally (fourth among BCS teams) in turnovers forced this season. Hawai’i led the nation with 29 turnovers forced coming into the weekend.

MCCARTHY NEARLY HITS MARK
Senior linebacker Colin McCarthy nearly matched his career-high tackle total today with a team-leading 15 today. Two weeks ago, McCarthy tallied a career-best 18 tackles at Virginia. On the year, McCarthy ranks second on the team with 81 total tackles.

NOVEMBER REIGN
With today’s win, Miami improved to 78-22 all-time in the month of November. The ‘Canes have now won four straight games in November and five of their last six going back to last season.

OPENING SERIES
Damien Berry (five carries, 35 yards) and Lamar Miller (three carries, 45 yards) combining for 80 yards on eight carries on Miami’s opening drive. The drive, which started on Miami’s 12-yard line, featured just one completion (an eight-yard pass from Stephen Morris to Travis Benjamin). Miller capped it off with a 12-yard touchdown run up the middle to give the ‘Canes the early lead.

MIAMI- GEORGIA TECH SERIES
Today’s win over Georgia Tech was Miami’s second straight victory over the Yellow Jackets after the ‘Canes won in Miami last season, 33-17. Miami’s win today was its first at Bobby Dodd Stadium since the Hurricanes defeated the Yellow Jackets, 27-3, in 2004. Georgia Tech now leads the all-time series, 10-6.

MIAMI’S STARTERS
Miami’s offensive starters today were: Stephen Morris (QB), Travis Benjamin (WR), Leonard Hankerson (WR), Richard Gordon (TE), Orlando Franklin (LT), Harland Gunn (LG), Tyler Horn (C), Brandon Washington (RG), Seantrel Henderson (RT), Brandon Linder (Jumbo) and Damien Berry (RB)

Starting for Miami on defense was: Allen Bailey (LDE), Micanor Regis (LT), Marcus Forston (RT), Olivier Vernon (RDE), Sean Spence (WLB), Colin McCarthy (MLB), Ramon Buchanan (SLB), Brandon Harris (CB), Vaughn Telemaque (FS), JoJo Nicolas (SS), Ryan Hill (CB).

MIAMI’S CAPTAINS
Seniors Allen Bailey, Matt Bosher and Leonard Hankerson are serving as Miami’s captains today.