GAMEDATE: 10/5/13 SITE: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. TV: ESPNU SERIES: Georgia Tech leads the series 10-8. Miami won 42-36 in overtime in 2012, first rallying from a 36-19 deficit. Miami has beaten Georgia Tech four straight years. AP RANKINGS: Miami No. 14; Georgia Tech unranked KEYS TO THE GAME Miami doesn't look to have lost a step on offense after last season's production, and the defense has made major strides stopping up the holes from 2012. But one area remains a major concern for the Hurricanes as they prepare to begin ACC play with a visit from Georgia Tech Saturday (Oct. 5). That would be penalties. The Hurricanes are averaging 62 yards a game in penalties, which ranks 13th in the 14-team ACC. They have been penalized 30 times in four games, which is more than three teams (Virginia Tech, Duke, and Wake Forest) have been penalized in five outings. Worse has been the timing. Against South Florida last week, holding penalties negated Duke Johnson's 100-yard kickoff return and Phillip Dorsett's 66-yard punt return. Later in the same game, the Hurricanes had back-to-back penalties (holding, false start) at the beginning of a drive, negating a first down and eventually leading to an interception returned for a touchdown. "This is three weeks in a row now that we're talking about it," coach Al Golden said. "We've shown them examples and trying to make sure the leadership holds guys accountable. "Some of them have just been so egregious. They've taken points off the board or swapped the field." Late in the Florida game, with the Hurricanes clinging to a 14-9 lead, sophomore corner Tracy Howard intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards to Miami's 48-yard line. But a personal foul penalty moved the Hurricanes back to their 33, and they ended up punting. Such mistakes will be costly against Georgia Tech, Golden said. "It's tough for us because it's part of our foundation," Golden said. "It's who we want to be. Right now that's the one element that is missing. We're addressing it on many different fronts. Hopefully, we're get it squared away. "It wish I could say, 'Hey, it's these two people' and let's get them out of the game. It hasn't been like that. There's enough blame to go around. "Again, that starts with me. I've got to continue to take responsibility myself, and I have to make sure we get it fixed." PLAYERS TO WATCH Yellow Jackets --QB Vad Lee is coming off the worst start of his young career. The redshirt sophomore struggled to run the offense against Virginia Tech's big, aggressive defensive tackles. Lee completed only 7 of 24 passes for 144 yards and two interceptions and ran it 18 times for 35 yards. After the game, coach Paul Johnson said his team was terrible at running the option. --WR DeAndre Smelter continues to shine at receiver after spending the first two seasons on the baseball team. Smelter, who decided to play football in the spring, had three catches for 76 yards, including a career-long 41-yarder. Smelter has caught three passes in each of the last three games. --FB David Sims only ran for 37 yards and one touchdown, but he moved up the career ladder; he's now No. 21 on the career rushing list. Sims has four running touchdowns this season, three over the last two games. --LB Brandon Watts had eight tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss against Virginia Tech. The sack was his first of the year and the sixth of his career. Hurricanes -- Sophomore RB Duke Johnson is an electrifying runner who has led the way not only in Miami's rushing attack (388 yards) but in the return game as well (32-yard average on kickoff returns). He was running second string when the Hurricanes began preparations for Georgia Tech after losing two fumbles inside USF's five-yard line in the last game, but that isn't expected to last long. -- Freshman WR Stacy Coley started his career by dropping two sure touchdown passes in the opening win over Florida Atlantic. But he has made up for it since and has three receptions for touchdowns among his nine catches. -- Junior DE Anthony Chickillo is an excellent pass rusher with two of Miami's 16 sacks. At 277 pounds, he now has the ability to move inside in obvious pass-rush situations to take advantage of his quickness. -- Junior LB Denzel Perryman continues to lead the way for the defense. He leads the Hurricanes in tackles (23) and forced a fumble on Florida's opening series in Miami's win. He also is credited with breaking up two passes.
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