Instead, Miami opted to run the ball with 33 seconds remaining and up 20-17. Don Chaney Jr. fumbled, and Georgia Tech recovered and went 74 yards in 25 seconds — capping the 23-20 come-from-behind Yellow Jackets win with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Haynes King to Christian Leary.
“I made the wrong call,” Cristobal said at his weekly news conference. “I take full ownership in not taking a knee and giving them the opportunity to have a couple extra plays and preventing us from sealing the win.”
Miami has not lined up in victory formation in any of its five games this season, opting instead to hand the ball off. But this was the first time Miami was involved in a one-score game. Georgia Tech had no timeouts left, so a kneel-down would have won the game.
Asked why Miami has not lined up in victory formation this season, Cristobal said it is something the team does practice. “We didn’t do it Saturday, and we should have.”
Cristobal said he addressed the decision openly and honestly with the team.
Cristobal, who is in his second year at Miami, has faced heavy criticism since the game ended. The decision cost the team a win and an undefeated season. Now the Hurricanes have to find a way to regroup at No. 12 North Carolina (5-0) on Saturday night in what is essentially a must-win game to stay alive in the ACC race. With three ACC teams currently undefeated, Miami cannot afford to drop to 0-2 in league play.
Cristobal said he was proud of the way his team responded during practice Monday.
“We expected a good response today, and that’s what we got,” Cristobal said. “There’s a lot of conviction in our preparation and processes. The guys are very eager to get back to work and prepare for this weekend’s opportunity.”
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