Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Darrell Langham (81) pulls in a pass on 4th down and 11 yards to go over Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Lamont Simmons (6) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back A.J. Gray (5) to set up winning fieldgoal at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on October 14, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Photo: Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post
Photo: Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post

Miami’s game-winning drive: Jackets, Hurricanes explain

Participants from both sides recounted Miami’s game-winning drive in the Hurricanes’ 25-24 win over Georgia Tech Saturday. Miami went 85 yards in 15 plays using a series of successful bubble screens, and the 28-yard catch by wide receiver Darrell Langham from quarterback Malik Rosier over Tech cornerback Lamont Simmons.

Tech coach Paul Johnson

On Miami’s game-winning drive: “What was going through my head? Stop the bubble screen.”

What was learned about Georgia Tech against Miami?

On what the Jackets could have done differently on the drive: “Well, you can make a play at the end on fourth-and-10, and they don’t catch a double deflection and you’re not talking about it. The bubble screens, they just blocked us and we didn’t come off (blocks). We needed to get a linebacker out wider into the boundary and we probably needed to roll the corner sooner than we did. Having said that, the bubble screens wouldn’t have mattered if you make a play on fourth-and-10.”

On the catch: “We make a high throw and we can’t catch it and they catch it off two deflections. That was the game. We had the ball and couldn’t hold onto it and on fourth-and-10, their kid makes a hell of a play. You’ve got to give him credit. He made a play. I thought A.J. Gray was going to knock it down. I’m not sure if he tipped it or if it hit Lamont’s head, but I know it hit one of our guys and then it bounced again, and then the kid caught it.”

Miami coach Mark Richt

On the play calling of the final drive: “Last week, (Florida State) was matching up more man-to-man, but Georgia Tech is more of a zone team. They’re more apt to play zone coverage in that situation. We talk about leverage – if there’s a corner on their outside receiver and a safety deep, the linebacker is either in the box to stop the run or he’s out of the box to play the bubble. You have to kind of make the determination whether to throw it there or not. When you have bubbles on both sides, it’s hard to defend that, in my opinion. Malik (Rosier), I thought, did a good job of taking it to the field, taking it to the boundary and not get tired of taking it. Sometimes you throw it once or twice and you’re like, ‘Surely I can’t do it again.’ But you can, if they don’t stop it. Malik did a very good job of that.”

On the play call: “I went a max protection and just ‘go’ routes, just ‘take-offs’. They were playing a lot of man coverage. The last two times on third-and-long, they brought pressure and we didn’t pick it up. They had some good blitz- and twist-type combinations, and we just flat out could not protect on third-and-long. This was like a third-and-long. I max protected, had a seven-man protection and let three guys run routes and just said, ‘Launch it in play. Put the ball in play.’ I really thought Langham was being doubled up. I thought we had a better one-on-one situation to his left, but I guess (Rosier) believes in Langham. Somehow the ball popped up in the air and landed in his gut. Minor miracle. I don’t want to get too crazy, those things do happen in football. They usually don’t happen when you need it the most.”

Georgia Tech, Johnson let another one slip away in loss to Miami, Richt

Georgia Tech linebacker Victor Alexander

On the final drive: “We were guessing pretty much they were going to try to hurry up, get downfield, most likely get in field-goal range and kind of wait the clock out. The bubble-screen game that they had at the end there, it didn’t really take us by surprise, but we just didn’t prepare to call the right plays for the most part.”

On Simmons’ defense of the fourth-down catch: “I think that was perfect coverage on Lamont’s behalf. I think it is what it is. Sometimes you get lucky.”

Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham

On the game-winning drive: “It felt like we had a little more time to actually get the ball to certain people. We were able to run the ball and pass it at the same time. I felt like we had time to get down there and score and we did.”

Hummer: Miami strengthens its stranglehold on Tech

Tech safety Corey Griffin

On if the defense didn’t play tighter coverage on the final drive because of concerns Miami would try a deep ball: “Not so much. They just made plays when they were supposed to and we couldn’t do anything about it. They had all the momentum going. We gave it all we had.”

Miami quarterback Malik Rosier

On the game-winning drive: “I know the drive before, coach Jon (Richt, Miami quarterbacks coach) got mad because he thought I should hit (wide receiver) Braxton (Berrios) on the swing. So I was like, OK, if I get another drive, I’ll throw it out there and see what happens. It wound up being good. That’s just good job of the coaches coaching me and me responding to how they coach.”

On the throw to Langham: “I was just praying he was going to catch it and I wound up seeing him coming down with it. If they would have picked it, it would have been a great play, but he wound up coming down with it, so I’m happy for him.

Hummer: Lamont Simmons explores highs, lows of Georgia Tech loss

Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham

On his fourth-down catch: “When I turned around I was able to see it in the air and I knew it was kind of short, so I had to try to go get it. It bounced on him and I was able to focus on the ball at the last minute and pull it in.”

Tech cornerback Lamont Simmons

On the fourth-down play: “We repped it all week during practice. We knew the quarterback was just going to take that one step and throw it deep. I tried to play my best through his hands, but the receiver had great concentration and off the tip he caught the pass. It was a great catch.”

Report card: No. 11 Miami 25, Georgia Tech 24

What Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said after the game

Video: Recapping Georgia Tech’s loss to Miami

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