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              === Hurricanes host Yellow Jackets in ACC affair ===
 
 Miami Gardens, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes open
 up ACC play as they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a key ACC Coastal
 Division showdown at Sun Life Stadium.
 
 Al Golden's Hurricanes have been impressive in the first month of the 2013
 season, as they have yet to trail in any game on the schedule thus far, en
 route to a 4-0 record. The team opened the year with a 34-6 win over Florida
 Atlantic, followed by a key victory over nationally-ranked Florida (21-16).
 The Hurricanes then routed Savannah State (77-7) to close out a three-game
 homestand to start the year. The team's first road trip came this past weekend
 and the results were the same, with a 49-21 besting of South Florida. Now the
 team embarks on its ACC schedule and is regarded as one of the favorites in
 the Coastal Division.
 
 Golden thought his team performed well against the Bulls, despite the time
 off.
 
 "I thought we called a good game early on and I thought the defense settled
 down after that first 15. They [USF] did what we thought they would do, but
 they executed better than we did and that's why they scored. Again, good,
 tough game on the road and now it's time to go back and get ready for the
 ACC."
 
 Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets would like to prove they are worthy of
 contention in the division. Georgia Tech opened the year with three wins over
 Elon (70-0), Duke (38-14) and North Carolina (28-20). However, last week the
 Yellow Jacket suffered their first loss in 2013, a 17-10 setback to Virginia
 Tech to fall to 2-1 in conference play, ending a six-game conference win
 streak dating back to last year.
 
 Georgia Tech has a 10-8 advantage in the series with Miami all-time, but the
 Hurricanes have closed the gap a bit with wins in each of the last four
 meetings, including a thrilling 42-36 overtime decision in 2012.
 
 Under Johnson and his spread attack, Georgia Tech has always been among the
 best rushing teams in the nation. While early indications are that it is more
 of the same in 2013, Virginia Tech stifled the usually potent rushing attack
 last week, holding Tech to just 129 yards on the ground. Unfortunately, the
 team lacks the balance to compensate.
 
 The ground game is responsible for just under 300 yards per game, as tailbacks
 David Simms (5.0 ypc, four TDs) and Robert Godhigh (9.9 ypc) and quarterback
 Vad Lee (three TDs) all create problems for opposing defenses. The heavy dose
 of the run allows defenses to be a little less concerned about Tech's passing
 game. Lee has been unable to take advantage, completing just 46 percent of his
 passes, for just 562 yards, with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
 
 Georgia Tech's defense has been sharp in several areas, including its rush
 defense (94.2 ypg) and pass defense (181.2 ypg). The result is the ninth-
 ranked team in the country in total defense (275.5 ypg). Big plays however,
 have been few and far between with this unit, as Tech has collected just six
 sacks and five takeaways in the first four games.
 
 Senior LB Brandon Watts leads the team in tackles with 27 stops (one sack).
 Senior DB Jemea Thomas is second with 21 total tackles, followed by sophomore
 LB Jabari Hunt-Days (18 tackles, one INT) and junior LB Quayshawn Nealy (17
 tackles).
 
 Miami's balanced offense will be a real test for Georgia Tech this weekend.
 The Hurricanes are averaging 45.2 ppg thus far, moving the chains with ease
 both on the ground (210.5 ypg) and through the air (262.5 ypg).
 
 Senior quarterback Stephen Morris is a serviceable steward of the Miami
 offense, completing 56.9 percent of his passes, for 629 yards with six TDs and
 just two INTs. Senior wideout Allen Hurns is a big target at 6-foot-3 and
 leads the receiving corps with 16 catches, for 275 yards. However, seven
 different players have combined for the 10 receiving touchdowns on the season.
 
 The crown jewel of the offensive attack for Miami is sophomore tailback Duke
 Johnson. The 5-9, 196-pounder is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and leads the
 team with 388 yards and four TDs through the first four games.
 
 The Hurricanes have thrived in the big play department on defense. The team
 has already racked up 16 sacks, four more than Miami had all of 2012. Miami is
 also tied for the lead in the ACC with 13 forced turnovers (fifth nationally).
 
 The top playmakers on the roster include LBs Denzel Perryman (team-high 23
 tackles, one forced fumble) and Jimmy Gaines (21 tackles, one fumble recovery)
 and defensive end Anthony Chickillo (13 tackles, two sacks).
 
 Johnson knows his Yellow Jackets have to neutralize Perryman.
 
 "He's a good player and Miami always has good players. They're very athletic
 and they can run. We had a crazy game with them last year. But he's a quality
 player and you can see that. He creates big plays for them and creates
 turnovers. He's played a lot of football for them."
 
 
 
 
 10/02 10:44:13 ET

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