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Miami Does Not Kneel Out, Falls To Georgia Tech On Late Score

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Miami ought to have knelt to finish the contest. Georgia Tech converted a critical error by the Hurricanes into a last-second miracle, resulting in a catastrophic loss in its place.

After Miami turned the ball over with the game all but won, Haynes King threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Christian Leary with one second left, and Georgia Tech shocked the 17th-ranked Hurricanes 23-20 on Saturday night.

After the Hurricanes had the choice to kneel down, probably run out the clock, win the game, and maintain their undefeated record, the Yellow Jackets covered 74 yards in 24 seconds. Instead, Don Chaney lost the ball — although Miami claimed he was down — and the Yellow Jackets pulled off a stunning victory.

“Not going to make an excuse for it, say we should’ve done this or that,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said of not taking a knee. “That’s it. We should’ve done it. Sometimes you get carried away with just, finish the game and run it. I should’ve stepped in and said, ‘Hey, just take a knee.'”

Said Georgia Tech coach Brent Key: “We kind of thought they were taking a knee.”

The Hurricanes (4-1, 0-1 ACC) didn’t, and they suffered dearly. On the first down of the previous drive, King fired an incomplete pass while under pressure, but he later connected with Malik Rutherford for a gain of 30 yards. When King spiked the ball with ten seconds left on the clock, Rutherford was in bounds. The play-by-play indicated that the Yellow Jackets may still have had a timeout even though the scoreboard indicated that Georgia Tech had used all of its timeouts.

In any case, the miracle then occurred.

Leary slid well beyond two Miami defenders, and King, perhaps channeling his inner Doug Flutie, who startled Miami in 1984 with a deep ball, rolled to the right and waited. Leary slipped into the end zone as a few pieces of debris fell from the stands after the throw struck him in stride.

On the game’s final play, the Hurricanes attempted a six-lateral but were stopped close to middle.

Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke threw for 288 yards but had three interceptions. For the Hurricanes, Xavier Restrepo hauled in 12 receptions for 144 yards, and Henry Parrish scored on the ground.

The Yellow Jackets scored two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter, one each from King and Jamal Haynes, in a little more than two minutes. Miami was frustrated by Georgia Tech’s defense for the majority of the game, but nevertheless managed to get the crucial takeaway at the end under the new administration. After losing to Bowling Green last week, the club promoted Kevin Sherrer to coordinator.

Despite Miami outgaining Georgia Tech 454 to 250 and having 23 first downs compared to 12 for the Yellow Jackets, none of it mattered. Even when questioned after the game if coach was shocked offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson didn’t call for a kneel-down, Van Dyke didn’t place the responsibility elsewhere except on himself.

Miami entered the night as one of three teams nationwide to have scored at least 38 points in each game this season. Miami had scored in each of the 16 quarters it had played in its first four games. However, neither team scored until the final play of the first half, a 30-yard field goal by Miami’s Andres Borregales.

Georgia Tech went up 17-10 early in the fourth quarter on a field goal soon after Van Dyke’s third interception. Miami scored the next 10 points.

The Hurricanes put themselves in position to win — then somehow managed to lose after Borregales was good from 39 yards out midway through the fourth to give Miami the lead.

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