- Instead of taking a knee to run out the clock, Miami ran the ball and fumbled
- Georgia Tech needed just four plays to score a walk-off touchdown in 26 seconds
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Miami football coach Mario Cristobal accepts full blame for the Hurricanes’ failure to take a knee in the final seconds of their loss to Georgia Tech.
Cristobal accepts responsibility despite offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson revealing he actually called the play in which the ball was thrown away.
“I made the wrong call,” Cristobal admitted.
With a 20-17 lead, Miami could have run out the clock in victory formation and taken a knee to essentially end the game, but instead decided to call a running play.
Halfback Don Chaney then fumbled the ball with 26 seconds left before Georgia Tech took over at its own 26-yard line.
Miami coach Mario Cristobal has taken full responsibility for the blunder against Georgia Tech
Instead of running out the clock, Miami ran the ball and fumbled with 26 seconds of play left
It took the Yellow Jackets just four plays – an incompletion, a 30-yard gain, a spike to stop the clock and a 44-yard pass with 2 seconds left – to find the end zone and win 23-20 .
The last-second blunder handed Miami (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) its first loss of the year.
“What we ended up doing was the wrong decision,” Dawson said. ‘I called. It is what it is. I wish we had done something different, but we didn’t. I have to live with it. I’m not going to sit here and go through the process with you guys.”
“What’s said on the headsets is between us, and ultimately I called off the play. And I can live with it. It was the wrong thing to do.”
Cristobal said immediately after the match that he should have intervened and called for a kneel, and did not blame anyone else on Monday – saying he was taking “full ownership.”
The Hurricanes fell eight spots to No. 25 in the AP Top 25 after the loss, and Cristobal was asked how the team would recover in time to prepare for a trip to play No. 12 North Carolina this weekend.
“You do it with honesty and transparency, you’re going to fix all the things we can do better and take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us,” Cristobal said.
‘Football is very similar to life. We owe it to ourselves and to our players, to our entire organization, as well as to our own families, to look each other in the eye and demand the best, the absolute truth, from each other so that we can move forward.”
Georgia Tech needed just four plays after the fumble to score a winning touchdown
Miami has asked the ACC for an explanation as to why Chaney was not dismissed and why the play was not overturned upon review. Cristobal said the league has not yet given Miami an answer.
Commentators and people on social media have, predictably, not been kind to Miami in recent days for the failure to kneel – and for the way Georgia Tech receiver Christian Leary stood behind two defenders, including All-America safety Kam Kinchens , for the winning score.
Cristobal said players responded the right way, and that’s all he can ask. He also told Chaney, Kinchens and all other players who were on the field in the final 26 seconds that they were in no way responsible for the final events that led to the loss.
All the blame, he emphasizes, lies with him.
“You go through things and sometimes you’re not prepared for things and sometimes you still have conflicts, but the family stays together,” defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said. “And that’s what we preach here.”