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Thursday, September 17, 2009
Instant Analysis: Miami 33, Georgia Tech 17

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


 
 Doug Benc/Getty Images
 Jacory Harris threw three touchdown passes Thursday night in Miami's win.
How the game was won: Miami’s offensive line kept the pressure off quarterback Jacory Harris and wore down Georgia Tech’s front seven. The Canes controlled the line of scrimmage, took away Georgia Tech’s pass rush (i.e. Derrick Morgan), and Harris picked apart Georgia Tech’s secondary. Miami spread the ball around, and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple had the offense the offense rolling.

Stat of the game: Georgia Tech finished with 95 rushing yards. Huh? This is virtually the same Georgia Tech offense that racked up 472 rushing yards last year in a 41-23 win over Miami, and ranked fourth in the nation in rushing yards. It's not, however, the same Miami defense. Miami outgained Georgia Tech on the ground, controlled the clock, and the Jackets were held to just 2.4 yards per carry. Even though Jonathan Dwyer was sidelined for much of the game with a shoulder injury, Miami's defense deserves credit, as Dwyer is hardly the only option in Tech's offense.

Player of the game: Harris. Again. He's such a composed presence that it's hard to believe it was only his third start. He's the real deal and on the path to becoming the next great quarterback for Miami. Harris completed 20 of 25 passes for 270 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and 10.8 yards per pass. Somehow, he played even better than he did in the season opener against Florida State and made fewer mistakes.

Unsung hero of the game: Miami defensive coordinator John Lovett. So much attention (and, quite frankly, adoration) has been heaped upon Whipple, that the job Lovett has done has been underappreciated. The Canes’ defense looked sound and executed its option responsibilities very well. It was a marked improvement from last year’s embarrassing performance in Atlanta.

What it means: Miami is the team to beat. Unlike the rest of their counterparts, the Canes have played -- and beaten -- two teams that were expected to be among the ACC’s best this season. And they beat Virginia Tech last year. With Thursday night’s win, Miami took the lead in the division, setting up a key matchup against Virginia Tech next weekend in Lane Stadium. Randy Shannon won his third straight home opener, and Miami improved to 14-2 overall and 10-0 at home on Thursday nights. The Canes have the momentum, and the nation’s attention again.