Tech collected four three-and-outs from Miami, which came into the game averaging 8.3 yards per play (albeit against lesser competition), second in the country.
The bad: Miami was so effective on first and second downs, the Hurricanes didn't often get to third down. On the Hurricanes' three offensive scoring drives, Miami ran 21 plays to cover a combined 250 yards and never got to third down.
Needing to steal a possession and gain advantageous field position for the offense, Tech’s defense failed to create a turnover. In 311 defensive snaps this season, the Jackets have forced one fumble.
While Tech contained Walton, backup Joe Yearby punished the Jackets for 65 yards on just nine carries.
When Kaaya had time to throw, he was the accurate downfield passer that Tech coaches saw on game video, taking advantage of soft coverages for long completions. Out of 13 completions, Kaaya had five that went for 20 yards or more. Miami’s third-quarter touchdown drive – a critical response after Tech drew to within 28-21 – was accelerated by back-to-back 31-yard pass plays to open downfield receivers.
“I think in the first half, we were a little tentative and played soft,” coach Paul Johnson said. You’ve got to challenge guys.”