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Georgia Tech Stuns Canes in Final Seconds

Georgia Tech Stuns Canes in Final Seconds

by Carter Toole

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The first half was a slugfest. The second half was a roller coaster ride.

And in the end, heartbreak for the Miami Hurricanes in their ACC opener.

Georgia Tech stunned the Canes, scoring on a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Haynes King to wide receiver Christian Leary with one second remaining to steal a 23-20 win Saturday night before a crowd of 58,045 at Hard Rock Stadium

The 17th-ranked Canes dropped to 4-1, 0-1 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

The Canes outgained the Jackets by 204 total yards – 454 to 250 — but five Miami turnovers helped keep Tech close throughout. The Canes rallied from a 17-10 deficit in the fourth quarter with 10 straight points to take a 20-17 lead. Running back Don Chaney, Jr. fumbled with 26 seconds remaining, and the play was reviewed and upheld, giving the Jackets life. King completed a 30-yarder to Malik Rutherford to move the ball to Canes 44. After spiking the ball, King rolled right and completed the winning throw to Leary.

The last four home games for Miami against the Jackets have been decided by seven points or fewer. The only longer such home streak for the Canes over the past 40 seasons against a single team is a five-game streak against Florida State between 2000-08.

“Obviously disappointing in a lot of different aspects,” head coach Mario Cristobal said. “Obviously, again, just fell short in so many different ways. Battled. There were some signs of life. Not having a great first half, but coming out in the second half, doing some things and falling behind and getting up again. And then, at the end of the game, had a chance to put it away and should have just taken a timeout right there and recalibrate. Just take a knee. Gave them a chance and they took advantage of it and scored. It’s that simple.”

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke completed 24 of 26 passes for 288 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Chaney recorded 103 rushing yards, while Henry Parrish, Jr. added 52 yards and one score. Wide receiver Xavier Restrepo amassed a career-high 12 catches for 123 yards. Fellow wideout Colbie Young had four receptions for 56 yards, and tight end Riley Williams caught his first career touchdown pass.

Safety Kam Kinchens returned to the lineup and paced the team with seven tackles. Linebacker Francisco Mauigoa had four tackles and an interception. Andy Borregales kicked two field goals, including a 39-yarder to give Miami a three-point lead with 6:23 left.

The Canes defense was dialed in from the outset, allowing just 14 yards on Tech’s first three drives. But Miami’s offense couldn’t take advantage with two drives stalling in Jackets’ territory and another at midfield.

Tech finally started moving on its first drive of the second quarter, marching from its own five-yard line to the Canes 46. But facing 3rd and 11, King scrambled right to elude the rush and his throw was picked off by Mauigoa, who returned it to Miami’s 35.

The Canes rushed five straight times to the Tech 43 before Van Dyke hit wide receiver Jacolby George on a 25-yard strike. Two plays later, Parrish appeared to score but a holding penalty pushed the ball back to the Jackets 25. Van Dyke was then picked off in the end zone by Tech safety LaMiles Brooks. But Miami’s defense forced another three-and-out and the Canes got the ball back at their 23 with 1:22 left in the opening half.

Van Dyke completed five passes for 49 yards and Parrish gained 16 yards on two runs to move the ball to the Tech 12. The Canes called their last timeout with nine seconds left. Van Dyke threw incomplete in the end zone and Miami sent out Borregales, whose 30-yard field goal gave Miami a 3-0 halftime lead. The Canes had 217 total yards in the first half, while the Jackets only had 61.

Miami received the second half kickoff but the drive stalled at the Canes 49. Dylan Joyce pinned the Jackets back at their own 13 as the rain returned to Miami Gardens. The Canes immediately got the ball back at midfield and put together their first touchdown drive.

Chaney carried five times for 20 yards to help push the ball to the Tech 22. On 3rd and 3 Van Dyke dropped back and found Williams, who shed a tackle and dove across the goal line for his first career touchdown. Miami’s lead was 10 points.

But the Jackets bounced right back. King connected with wide receiver Dominick Blaylock for 34 yards and then a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the Canes 22. Four plays later King scrambled up the middle for a six-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 10-7.

On the ensuing drive, Van Dyke looked for George downfield but was intercepted by cornerback Ahmari Harvey, who returned it to the Canes 26. Four plays later, running back Jamal Haynes muscled into the end zone from four yards out and the Jackets had their first lead of the night.

Van Dyke connected on a 47-yard pass to Restrepo that gave Miami a first down at the Tech 28. But three snaps later, he was picked off by safety Jaylon King, who raced 66 yards down the left sideline before getting pushed out of bounds at the Canes 15. But Miami’s defense held, and Aidan Birr’s 27-yard field goal increased the Jackets’ lead to 17-10 with 12:11 remaining.

Four plays later, Van Dyke connected on his biggest throw of the night, hitting Young in stride on a 57-yard strike to set up first and goal at the three-yard line. Parrish scored on the next snap and the game was tied. Moments later, it wasn’t.

After the Jackets picked up a first down, King looked deep for tight end Brett Seither but safety James Williams made a leaping interception and ran 44 yards to the Tech 14. The Jackets’ defense stiffened but Borregales nailed a 39-yarder to give Miami a 20-17 lead.

On Tech’s next snap, defensive end Rueben Bain sacked King and the Jackets couldn’t move the chains. Miami got the ball back with 5:32 remaining and started to chew up clock. Tech was forced to use its timeouts, but the Jackets’ fifth takeaway gave them the ball with 26 seconds left.

Miami hits the road to face No. 14 North Carolina next Saturday. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

Mario Cristobal meets with the media after Miami's loss to Georgia Tech.