Georgia Tech’s freefall continues

Georgia Tech running back Marcus Marshall recovers his own fumble during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami , Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 38-21. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By TIM REYNOLDS

Associated Press

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Perhaps looking to rekindle some past magic, Georgia Tech stayed in the same hotel this weekend as it did when it capped last season with an Orange Bowl victory.

The ploy didn’t work.

Not much has in 2015 for the Yellow Jackets.

It has been 65 years since a team went on this sort of freefall, from Orange Bowl champions one season to a losing record the next. And even returning to the scene of last year’s bowl win wasn’t enough to get Georgia Tech back on track, with the Yellow Jackets ending their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with a 38-21 loss to Miami on Saturday.

All that’s left for Georgia Tech in 2015 is the annual rivalry game with Georgia next weekend.

“Another disappointing performance,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. “Can’t seem to get out of our own way.”

Broderick Snoddy, Clinton Lynch and Matthew Jordan had rushing scores for Georgia Tech (3-8, 1-7), which lost starting quarterback Justin Thomas to injury in the first quarter. Snoddy’s touchdown gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead, and then Miami scored the next 31 points.

The game was a microcosm of Georgia Tech’s season: Strong start, then nothing but problems.

“I’ve never had anything like this,” Johnson said. “I don’t have any answers. I know people are frustrated. Hell, I’m frustrated.”

Widely picked to win the ACC’s Coastal Division this season, Georgia Tech will endure its worst season since 1994. That team went 1-10 overall and 0-8 in the ACC; in the 20 seasons that followed, the Yellow Jackets never finished with a losing record in conference play, that streak is ending this year along with Georgia Tech’s run of 18 consecutive bowl appearances.

And the only win this club got against an ACC rival was the miracle finish to beat Florida State.

Mark Walton ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another score, Miami turned four turnovers into 21 points and the Hurricanes (7-4, 4-3) enhanced their bowl resume. Brad Kaaya passed for 300 yards and a touchdown for Miami.

Everything for the Yellow Jackets was a debacle on Saturday. Thomas left early with his injury, and Georgia Tech fumbled the ball nine times – losing only two.