ATLANTA (HurricaneSports.com) - No. 14 Miami used a 21-point outburst late in the second quarter to take control of its conference opener, and remained undefeated with an 35-21 win over host Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Scoop-and-scores on back-to-back defensive stands by freshmen Shaquille Quarterman and Joe Jackson were preceded by a 14-yard scoring run from sophomore Mark Walton, as Miami scored three touchdowns in a span of 1:38 to seize momentum before halftime.
The Yellow Jackets scored 14 unanswered to cut Miami's lead to 28-21, but Miami used a 31-yard touchdown reception from senior Stacy Coley to retake a two-score lead in the third quarter.
Looking to cut into the deficit in the fourth, Georgia Tech failed to convert a 4th & 2 from the Miami 21-yard line on a crucial pass breakup by Rayshawn Jenkins in the endzone, helping seal the win and improving Miami to 4-0 for the first time since 2013.
The Hurricanes (4-0, 1-0 ACC) won for the seventh time in their last eight games against the Jackets (3-2, 0-2) in Mark Richt's 200th game as head coach.
Richt, who spent 15 years as head coach at nearby Georgia, improved to 14-2 all-time against the Yellow Jackets in front of 53,047 - many of whom were wearing orange and green in support of Miami.
In a span of five plays, a precarious 7-7 scoreline ballooned to 28-7 in favor of the visitors. Walton's 14-yard dash to the endzone was helped by stellar blocking on the perimeter, and two plays later, junior Trent Harris sacked quarterback Justin Thomas and forced a fumble.
Quarterman scooped the ball up at the Georgia Tech 17-yard line and went untouched into the end zone for the first touchdown of his career.
Jackson doubled the fun two plays later on another fumble by Thomas, this one unforced.
The Hurricanes strung together an 85-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession to take an early lead.
Quarterback Brad Kaaya finished with 47 yards on the drive, and running back Joe Yearby capped the eight-play sequence with a 27-yard touchdown run to put Miami ahead 7-0.
Kaaya, who tossed the 50th touchdown pass of his career to move into sole possession of third place in UM history, finished 13-for-19 for 241 yards.
The Yellow Jackets would answer Miami's opening punch on a drive that swallowed over six minutes off the game clock. Running back Dedrick Mills rushed it in from seven yards out to tie the game one play into the second quarter.
Miami's second scoring drive went for 90 yards on nine plays. A fair catch on a punt return pinned the Hurricanes at their own 10-yard line, but Richt called for five straight carries by Yearby to put Miami near midfield.
Completions to Christopher Herndon IV and Coley, combined with a roughing-the-passer call, set up Walton's 14-yard scamper.
Mills would add scoring runs of 9 and 1 yards, and finished the game with 99 yards in addition to three touchdowns.