“I thought I’d try to see if we could get ahead,” Johnson said.
It was for naught, as the Jackets punted on their opening drive and gave Miami the ball on its 15-yard line. Tech positioned itself to get off the field twice but squandered both. On a 1st-and-10 from the Miami 26, cornerback Lance Austin was in position to intercept quarterback Brad Kaaya, but the ball went through his hands and wide receiver Stacy Coley made a 25-yard reception.
“It was right in front of me,” Johnson said. “How our guy missed that and their guy caught it, I have no idea.”
Later in the drive, cornerback Lawrence Austin and defensive end Rod Rook-Chungong stopped Walton for a two-yard loss on a 1st-and-10 run from the Tech 38. However, on 2nd-and-12, Kaaya passed to running back Joe Yearby on a checkdown, and Yearby slipped a tackle attempt for a 13-yard gain and a first down.
Walton scored on the next play for a 7-0 lead.