Miami vs. Georgia Tech matchups

Quarterback                Advantage: Miami

Jacory Harris had a career-high 386 yards against Florida State while producing 21 points in the fourth quarter. Josh Nesbit has struggled throwing the ball as he has only completed 36% of his passes with two interceptions. Nesbit has been extremely successful running the ball. In his first two games Nesbit racked up 186 rushing yards. Even though Georgia Tech doesn’t throw often and is trailing late in the game, running the triple option won’t be the best way to generate points quickly.

Running Back              Advantage: Georgia Tech

Javarris James and Graig Cooper only combined for 67 yards on the ground although the running game was not the focal point of Mark Whipple’s offense. Georgia Tech on the other hand has no problem running the ball. In its first two games Tech rushed for 636 yards. Tech also returns the ACC player of the year, Jonathan Dwyer.

Wide Receiver/ Tight End                  Advantage: Miami

Mark Whipple’s utilized his playmakers in week one. Travis Benjamin led all receivers with 128 yards but receivers. Dedrick Epps looked completely healthy in his first game back since undergoing ACL surgery in December. Georgia Tech doesn’t throw very often, but when they do they throw it to preseason first team All-ACC receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Offensive Line                        Advantage: Georgia Tech

The UM offensive line needs to be more effective at opening running lanes for running backs James and Cooper. Georgia Tech returns its entire offensive line form last year. The group is big and agile as they create huge lanes for Dwyer and Nesbit.

Defensive Line                        Advantage: Georgia Tech

Miami’s defensive line allowed Georgia Tech to rush for a 427 yards during last year’s game. DTs Allen Bailey and Marcus Forston will be essential to stopping Georgia Tech’s triple option attack. They must play discipline and assignment football. Even with the loss of three starters to the NFL, Georgia Tech’s line has been ferocious this season. Derrick Morgan is the leader of this unit and has racked up 15 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks in only two games.

Linebackers                 Advantage: Miami

Look for Sean Spence to respond after a quiet first game. Colin McCarthy missed last year’s game against the Yellow Jackets with a shoulder injury. His presence will provide much needed leadership. Georgia Tech’s linebackers are lead by senior Sedric Griffin.

Secondary                   Advantage: Georgia Tech

The Canes secondary allowed 294 yards last week. DeMarcus Van Dyke hasn’t practice all week due to an undisclosed injury. Brandon Harris emerged as the number one corner after his performance at FSU, a performance that earned him ACC Deefensive Back of the Week. Miami’s secondary main responsibility will be preventing the long runs which it was not able to do last year. First team All-ACC safety Morgan Burnett leads a Georgia Tech secondary that has already recorded three interceptions on the year.

Special Teams             Advantage: Miami

Kickoffs and the kickoff coverage is currently the biggest weakness for the orange and green. Look for either Jake Weiclaw or walk-on Alex Uribe to handle the place kicking duties. Cooper and Benjamin are a dynamic return duo. Tech’s kicker Scott Blair was a subpar kicker last year only converting 12 of 19 field goal attempts, although he did nail the game winning field goal against Clemson last Thursday. Georgia Tech’s punter returner Jerrard Tarrant is also a playmaker and demonstrated it with an 85-yard punt return for a TD against Clemson.

Coaching                     Advantage: Georgia Tech

Randy Shannon got the win in Tallahassee but left fans wondering how good a coach he really is. Clock management still is a huge issue as Miami burned timeouts early. GT head coach Paul Johnson is an offensive mastermind and in only his second year has fully installed a winning attitude for the Ramblin’ Wreck.

Matt Reed may be contacted at