Miami's defense forced to surrender

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

ATLANTA -- As Miami defensive back Anthony Reddick looked around at his fellow Canes in the team hotel before the game, he sensed there wasn't the kind of focus they would need to stop Georgia Tech.

It didn't even take three full quarters for his hunch to be confirmed.

Georgia Tech rushed for an astounding 472 yards, the fifth-most in school history and the most since 1978. The Yellow Jackets got more yardage on the ground than Miami did all night. Pick a back, any back -- fullback, A Back, B Back, slot back, quarterback -- whatever you want to call them, Miami couldn't stop Georgia Tech's old-school offense. Four different players ran for at least 75 yards in a 41-23 drubbing of Miami.

"It's miserable," Reddick said. "Especially at the University of Miami. We're a great defense. I can't tell you what happened out there today. We did not get the job done."

Quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who only returned to practice for the first time this week since spraining his ankle in the Nov. 8 loss to North Carolina, said he was in "a lot of pain" the whole game. And he still ran for 93 yards and one touchdown. Jonathan Dwyer got his 100-plus yards for the eighth time this season, finishing with 128 yards and two touchdowns.

"We hit them in the mouth first," Dwyer said. "That's what coach [Paul] Johnson asked for us to do; get on them early and hopefully they quit at the end."

It was more like surrender. The "whiteout" in Bobby Dodd Stadium turned into the white flag.

Miami, which had won five straight in large part because of the improvements it had made on defense, looked like it regressed since last week's impressive win over defending ACC champ Virginia Tech. But all it takes is one missed assignment on defense for Georgia Tech to break loose, and the Canes gave up far more than that.

"Everybody has to be perfect pretty much for 60 minutes," said senior linebacker Glenn Cook. "Every single play, everybody has to be pretty much perfect. That's the type of offense that is. We made a lot of mistakes and they capitalized."

It was a career day for freshman A-back Roddy Jones (97 rushing yards), and a career day fullback Lucas Cox (78 yards). Nesbitt had the longest run of his career (54 yards) in the second quarter.

The Hurricanes looked undisciplined and unprepared, despite the warnings of their coaches.

"That's option football," Miami coach Randy Shannon said. "You have to play assignment football. If you don't play assignment football, things are going to happen to you. We had somebody on the fullback all the time. Early in the game we were stopping the fullback. All week long we preached to them, no matter what happens, you have to stay assignment football."

Shannon said he was disappointed in the whole team, not just the defense. But against an option-based team, the offense is under more pressure to score and stay on the field because it's so difficult for the defense to make stops.

Miami has one more chance this season, in the season finale against NC State, to redeem itself for this embarrassing performance.

"It's a real tough loss and it definitely hurts, but it's not going to keep us down," Cook said. "We've still got a lot to play for."