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White rout
Jackets run over 'Canes for signature ACC win

ATLANTA - From the "White Out" in the stands to a few unconventional early offensive play calls, Georgia Tech pulled out all the stops in its game with No. 23 Miami.

But it was the usual suspects - big plays off the option running game and timely defense - that helped the Yellow Jackets roll to a not-as-close-as-it-sounds 41-23 victory Thursday night before 49,335 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium and a national television audience.

Tech steamrolled its way to 518 total yards - 472 on the ground, with four different runners posting more than 75 yards - despite missing Jonathan Dwyer, who led the way with 128 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries, for the entire second half with a knee injury.

The rushing yards set a new school record for most yardage on the ground against an ACC opponent and was the most since 1978, aided by big nights by Dwyer, Roddy Jones (seven carries, 97 yards), Josh Nesbitt (15-93, TD), and Lucas Cox (6-75, TD).

The win temporarily put the Jackets (8-3) into first place in the ACC's Coastal Division - though they need plenty of help to get the ACC championship game bid - heading into the regular season finale at archrival Georgia a week from Saturday.

Tech came out with a little razzle-dazzle on its first possession of the game, and surprisingly, a lot of it came through the air.

The Jackets threw on their first three plays, including a 22-yard receiver option pass from Demaryius Thomas to Cox, and also used a reverse pitch to Thomas to move deep into Miami territory.

But eventually, the 10-play, 81-yard drive stalled and Tech had to settle for a 21-yard field goal from Scott Blair to take a 3-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first quarter.

The lead was still just 3-0 after a first quarter in which the Jackets outgained the Hurricanes 125-45, but the Tech defense came up with a big play of its own early in the second quarter.

Defensive end Michael Johnson picked off a Robert Marve pass at the Miami 26 and rambled his way through would-be tacklers and into the end zone to extend the lead to 10-0 with 13:28 left in the first half.

Coach Paul Johnson then went for the kill by attempting an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but Kylan Robinson grabbed it out of midair and returned it 8 yards to set Miami up at the Tech 33.

And the Hurricanes moved as deep as the 26-yard line before the Tech defense came up with another big play, this time Rashaad Reid's third interception of the season that kept the Jackets' lead intact.

Miami finally got on the board later in the second quarter with a nine-play, 53-yard drive aided by a 12-yard pass from Jacory Harris to Aldarius Johnson that was upheld on review when the receiver went out of bounds.

But Tech's defense was stout again and held the Hurricanes to a 24-yard Matt Bosher field goal, cutting the Jackets' lead to 10-3 with 6:19 left in the half.

However, it took just one play after Jones' 26-yard kickoff return for Tech to get those points back, and then some.

Dwyer bolted up the middle, shook off a Miami linebacker and sprinted 58 yards for a touchdown that pushed the lead to 17-3 with 6:01 left in the half.

Another run of 50-plus yards helped the Jackets stretch their lead even further on their next possession.

This time, it was Nesbitt keeping the ball and option and sprinting 54 yards to the Miami 21, which set up Dwyer's 6-yard touchdown four plays later at the 1:59 mark to make Tech's lead 24-3 heading into intermission.

The lead became 27-3 when Blair tacked on a 30-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 60-yard drive on Tech's first possession of the third quarter.

Miami responded, driving 66 yards in seven plays, including picking up a critical fourth-and-13 play to keep the drive alive, before Marve hit Dedrick Epps with an 18-yard scoring strike, pulling the Hurricanes to within 27-10 with 7:46 left in the period.

But like with the Hurricanes' first score, Tech struck back quickly.

This time, it took 3:33 as the Jackets rumbled 73 yards in seven plays before Nesbitt sneaked in from a yard out on fourth and goal, giving Tech its four-possession lead back at 34-10 with 4:08 left in the period.

And any hope Miami had of a comeback was dashed when Chris Zellner couldn't haul in Marve's fourth-down pass just outside the Hurricanes' 45, which turned it over on downs.

Cox then rumbled in from 32 yards two plays later, and the rout was on with a 41-10 Tech lead with 2:07 left in the third quarter.