MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami should take a knee. Instead, Georgia Tech suffered a catastrophic loss, turning a huge Hurricanes turnover into a last-second miracle.
Haynes King threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Christian Leary with two seconds left and Miami turned the ball over with the game almost won, Georgia Tech defeated the 17th-ranked Hurricanes 23-20 on Saturday night.
The Yellow Jackets gained 74 yards in 24 seconds, just after the Hurricanes had the option to take a knee and likely run out the clock, win the game and remain undefeated. Instead, Don Chaney dropped the ball — Miami thought he had fallen, the referees disagreed — and the Yellow Jackets pulled off a stunning run.
“There’s no excuse for it, saying we should do this or that,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said of not kneeling. “That’s it. We should do that. Sometimes you get carried away with finishing a game and running it. I should step in and say, ‘Hey, take a knee.'”
“We thought they were taking a knee,” Georgia Tech coach Brent Key said.
The Hurricanes (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) failed to do that and paid a huge price. King threw an incomplete pass under pressure on the first possession of the final drive and then connected with Malik Rutherford for a 30-yard gain. Rutherford served the inbounds and the timer ran until King spiked the ball with 10 seconds left. The scoreboard showed Georgia Tech had no timeouts remaining; the specifics of the game suggested the Yellow Jackets still might have that player.
Anyway, a miracle happened.
King — perhaps unleashing his inner Doug Flutie on a deep shot that shocked Miami in 1984 — rolled to his right and waited, Leary well behind two Miami defenders. Leary threw the ball in his stride, and as he slid into the end zone, some debris rained down from the stands.
“I felt it as soon as it left my fingers,” King said.
The Hurricanes had six lateral attempts on the final play of the game but were stopped near midfield.
Tyler Van Dyke threw for 288 yards and three interceptions for Miami. Xavier Restrepo caught 12 passes for 144 yards for the Hurricanes, and Henry Parrish rushed for a score.
King and Jamal Haynes rushed for touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets in just over two minutes in the third quarter. The defense under Georgia Tech’s new front office — the team promoted Kevin Scherer to coordinator after last week’s loss to Bowling Green — frustrated Miami for much of the night, but ended with a Somehow got the needed lesson.
The Miami Heat beat Georgia Tech 454-250 with 23 first downs to the Yellow Jackets’ 12, but none of that mattered. Georgia Tech found a way that VanDyke didn’t blame anyone but himself — even when asked after the game if he was surprised offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson didn’t ask for a kneel.
“We trust our offensive coordinator,” Restrepo said. “We trust each other.”
The Miami Heat have scored in all 16 periods of their first four games and have become one of three teams in the country to score at least 38 points in every game this season. But the two sides didn’t score until Miami’s Andres Borregales scored on a 30-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
Georgia Tech led 17-10 early in the fourth quarter shortly after Van Dyke’s third interception. Miami scored the game’s next 10 points.
Borregales’ 39-yard performance gave Miami the lead midway through the fourth quarter, and the Hurricanes put themselves in a winning position, but somehow lost.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.