Both the Miami Hurricanes and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets limp into Saturday's noon showdown in Atlanta without their star quarterbacks. Jacory Harris and Joshua Nesbitt will both miss the game with injuries, giving two young passers, Miami freshman Stephen Morris and Tech sophomore Tevin Washington, a taste of a suddenly blooming rivalry.
The Jackets can earn bowl eligibility with a win, but are likely more interested in getting revenge for last year's 33-17 whooping in Miami, the most resounding all-around loss in Paul Johnson's time at Tech. That game was in turn a revenge game for Tech's 41-23 steamrolling of the No. 23 Canes in Atlanta. These things go in cycles, you see, and somebody's gotta nip it in the bud before we have people caring about Tech-Miami games every year.
It's hard to know what to expect from either team's offense, though both young quarterbacks eventually played well in last week's games. Morris led Miami to a comeback win over Maryland despite throwing two picks -- a very Harris day all around. And the Jackets' run-heavy offense won't be able to mask Washington's lack of game experience, as he still needs to make distribution decisions on just about every play.
The Canes rushing defense, which is the only Canes defense relevant to our research, is ranked seventh in the ACC. Not sure what to make of Tech's defense at the moment, as it's struggled with just about everything thrown at it so far this season except for the Virginia Tech Hokies. We'll see if Al Groh uses a similar eight-man-zone strategy against Miami's mobile QB as he did with success against Tyrod Taylor.