MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Another week, another close game for Miami.
To the Hurricanes, another win was all that mattered.
Tyler Van Dyke threw three touchdown passes, Charleston Rambo had 210 receiving yards to nearly break the Miami single-game record and the Hurricanes continued their second-half surge with a 33-30 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Van Dyke completed 22 of 34 passes for 389 yards, becoming the first Miami quarterback since Bernie Kosar in 1984 with three consecutive games of at least 325 yards through the air. And they’ve come in three consecutive wins, as Miami continues trying to shake off a 2-4 start.
“What they’ve learned is they can manage any situation,” said Miami coach Manny Diaz, whose team has played five consecutive games decided by four points or less, the first such streak in school history.
Jaylan Knighton ran for a career-best 162 yards and a score for Miami (5-4, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which visits rival Florida State next week with a chance to secure bowl-eligibility and improve its hopes in the ACC’s Coastal race.
Diaz said he allowed players a whole minute or two postgame to enjoy the win before making the annual announcement: “It’s Florida State week,” he said, immediately turning the page.
Rambo had seven catches, falling just 10 yards shy of matching the Miami record of 220 yards set by Eddie Brown in 1984, and raved about both Knighton and Van Dyke afterward.
“TVD. TV Dinner. That boy is going to make plays,” Rambo said.
Keyshawn Smith’s touchdown catch with 10:27 left put Miami ahead for good, and Mike Harley also had a scoring grab for the Hurricanes — who have played a FBS-leading six games decided by four points or less this season, going 4-2 in those contests.
Jeff Sims threw for 194 yards and a touchdown for Georgia Tech (3-6, 2-5). Jordan Mason had a 71-yard rushing score for the Yellow Jackets, while Jahmyr Gibbs had a 50-yard TD catch and Jaylon King had a fumble return for another touchdown for Georgia Tech.
It was the fifth loss by nine points or less this season for Georgia Tech, the third by six points or less.
“Guys battled,” Yellow Jackets coach Geoff Collins said, “They fought all the way until the end. It hurts. But we have to get over the hump of these one-score games.”
Miami got touchdowns out of its first two possessions for the second straight week, going up 14-0 midway through the opening quarter on scoring throws from Van Dyke to Harley (8 yards) and Rambo (35 yards).
That’s when slippery ball syndrome started for the Hurricanes. Miami got only three points from its next six possessions, fumbling the ball away three times, getting one field goal, missing another and punting once.
And it nearly cost them, with Georgia Tech leading 21-17 at the half and holding a 28-24 edge going into the fourth.
“We never got down on ourselves and I think that really helped us,” Van Dyke said.
The Yellow Jackets were down 33-28 after Smith’s touchdown, but got a safety out of Miami’s conversion try when Juanyeh Thomas intercepted Van Dyke’s throw and returned it 100 yards for two points — the first such play by a Georgia Tech player since Ken Swilling did it against Duke Oct. 28, 1989.
“Quite an extraordinary game,” Diaz said.
Georgia Tech: Gibbs is on an amazing big-play roll. He’s had a play of at least 50 yards now in five consecutive games — a 71-yard catch vs. Pitt on Oct. 2, a 77-yard catch vs. Duke on Oct. 9, a 71-yard rush vs. Virginia on Oct. 23, a 61-yard rush vs. Virginia Tech last week, and the 50-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter Saturday.
Miami: The Hurricanes’ three first-half fumbles lost were the most by an ACC team in a game this season and tied for the most by any team nationally so far this season in a first half. The last time an ACC team lost more fumbles in any half of a conference game was Nov. 12, 2016, when Virginia lost four second-half fumbles against Miami.
Miami’s win knotted the all-time series between the teams, 13-13.
Georgia Tech: Hosts Boston College on Nov. 13.
Miami: Visits Florida State on Nov. 13.