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Scoring Outburst Helps Miami Beat Jackets

By Carlos Pineda
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The Hurricanes (5-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) outscored Georgia Tech 38-6 over a 37-minute stretch, more than enough to erase an early 17-7 deficit.

"I'm proud to say that we're on the right track."
~Miami senior quarterback Stephen Morris

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Hurricanes found themselves trailing for the first time this season.

But after shaking off a slow first quarter start, No. 14 Miami used a 28-point second half surge to beat Georgia Tech 45-30 on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium in the team's first Atlantic Coast Conference game of the season. The Hurricanes remain unbeaten and improved to 5-0 on the season — their best start since 2004.

It didn't look good early on though. UM's defense took a pounding in the first quarter by giving up 150 rushing yards and spending over 13 minutes on the field. The Hurricanes trailed 17-7 at one point, snapping a streak of 362 minutes without trailing in a game.

Things only looked to get worse early in the second quarter with the Yellow Jackets (3-2, 2-2) marching down the field. But a Vad Lee fumble at the Miami 20 put a stop to their momentum. The Hurricanes would tie the game before halftime.

"You don't have leadership until you have a beat of sweat and the crap hits the fan," UM coach Al Golden said following the game. "And that's what happened. We learned a lot about our team and we had great leadership through that. We had great poise, but it did look bleak."

Miami's explosive offense only had three drives only six total plays in the first quarter.

Quarterback Stephen Morris completed 17 of 22 passing attempts for 324 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Running back Duke Johnson rushed for 184 yards on 22 carries and amassed 325 all-purpose yards — the second time he's put up 300-plus all-purpose yards in his career.

The Hurricanes took their first lead of the game late in the third quarter when Morris hit receiver Allen Hurns for a 69-yard touchdown. After Georgia Tech cut the lead to 24-23, UM running back Dallas Crawford scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the game away.

Miami racked up 551 yards of total offense, including 227 rushing yards. UM's defense settled down after the opening quarter, especially in the second half. While the Yellow Jackets rushed for 335 yards, the Miami defense only allowed 17 rushing yards in the third quarter.

"This is the biggest growth game," said linebacker Denzel Perryman, who had a game-high 11 tackles. "Stephen [Morris] kept coming to our sideline, we kept talking to the defense saying 'it's not going to be easy.'"

Georgia Tech running back David Sims led the team with 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Lee completed five passes for 63 yards but did not account for any touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets dropped their second straight game this season.

Both teams combined for 952 yards of total offense.

The Hurricanes have a bye before traveling to North Carolina for a Thursday night tilt on Oct. 17.

"We are going to be ready for it, we just need to prepare and go out and dominate," Perryman said about the remaining schedule.

Carlos Pineda - Carlos Pineda is a featured writer for Southern Pigskin. He covered the UCF Knights football team for Florida Today in 2010. Carlos' work has been published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Business Journal. He attended the University of Central Florida. Follow Carlos on Twitter @CarlosFPineda.