ATLANTA — Georgia Tech got Calvin Johnson back in the offense and took a major step toward reaching the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
One week after failing to catch a pass for the first time in his career, Johnson hauled in a tie-breaking, 1-yard touchdown with 6:18 remaining and the No. 21 Yellow Jackets rallied for a 30-23 victory over Miami on Saturday.
Tashard Choice rushed for 107 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown with 3 1/2 minutes left in a wild fourth quarter. Georgia Tech (6-2, 4-1 ACC) scored 17 straight points to take a seemingly comfortable 30-16 lead, but Kyle Wright hooked up with Greg Olsen on a 41-yard touchdown pass that made it close.
Not close enough for the Hurricanes (5-3, 2-2), who will likely come up short again in the quest for their first ACC championship and put even more heat on embattled coach Larry Coker.
Georgia Tech merely needs to win two of its last three conference games to secure the Coastal Division's spot in the Dec. 2 ACC championship at Jacksonsville, Fla. Two of those games are against North Carolina, which already fired its coach, and winless Duke.
The Yellow Jackets bounced back from a 31-7 loss to Clemson and a stunning start to their showdown with the Hurricanes.
Quarterback Reggie Ball was hit from behind by Calais Campbell while attempting to scramble on the first play from scrimmage, the ball popped loose, Glen Cook picked it up on one bounce and ran 19 yards to the end zone. Just 26 seconds into the game, Georgia Tech was behind 7-0.
Miami built a 10-0 lead on its first offensive possession, getting the first of three field goals by Jon Peattie. But the Yellow Jackets didn't panic, tying the game at 13 by halftime and dominating the Hurricanes through most of the fourth quarter.
Miami was bolstered by the return of 12 players, all having served one-game suspensions for their role in a nasty brawl against Florida International, but it didn't matter against a Georgia Tech team that is looking to win its first outright conference title since 1990.
After Olsen's touchdown catch with 2:37 to go, the Hurricanes inexplicably elected to kick deep with only one timeout remaining. They prevented Georgia Tech from making a first down but Durant Brooks got off a booming punt, Rashaun Jones fumbled before he could even attempt a miracle return, and Chris Dunlap recovered for Georgia Tech with 19 seconds left to seal the crucial victory.
After kneeling down on the final play, the Yellow Jackets gathered in front of the student body at Bobby Dodd Stadium, raising their helmets in the air while the band boomed out "I'm a Rambling Wreck From Georgia Tech."
Wright threw for 246 yards and Javarris James rushed for 113 yards, but Miami couldn't overcome three fumbles and an interception. The offense was held without a touchdown until Olsen bounced off a couple of defenders and rambled the final 25 yards to the end zone.
Johnson caught five passes for 68 yards. His first was a 43-yarder that led to Georgia Tech's first score, a 39-yard field goal by Travis Bell.
Mired in a slump that was closing in on two years, Bell was told that he would have one more chance to turn things around. Coach Chan Gailey planned to make a change if his No. 1 kicker missed on his first field goal attempt, a threat that apparently worked.
He made all three of his attempts, also connecting from 38 yards and 39 early the fourth quarter to tie it at 16.
James Johnson had Georgia Tech's other touchdown on a 46-yard catch midway through the second period. He caught the ball in stride and managed to get one foot down in the back of the end zone before slamming into the padding in front of the stands.