Brad Crawford of 247 Sports named Mario Cristobal fifth on their list of "The 10 Grinchiest moments of the 2023 college football season" following the clock mismanagement in a 23-20 loss to Georgia Tech in October. Miami would have won the game if they had taken a knee with 33 seconds remaining in a now infamous decision.
Miami had third and 10 from the Georgia Tech 32. Georgia Tech had no timeouts. If Miami had taken a knee they could have run the clock out. Instead Miami handed it off to Chaney who fumbled. The fumble was the begining in a series of unfortunate events that cost Miami what should have been a sure victory.
After an incomplete pass, Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King connected with wide receiver Malik Rutherford for 30 yards to the Miami 44-yard line with 21 seconds remaining. After another incomplete pass, King connected with Christian Leary for a 44-yard touchdown with one-second remaining.
Five plays had to happen for Miami to blow the game that all began with not taking a knee. The Chaney fumble, followed by two improbable completions for one of the worst losses in the history of the Miami football program. One of the worst parts, is a similar loss happened to Cristobal at Oregon. Crawford summed up the loss.
"5. MARIO CRISTOBAL AND HIS TIMEOUT DEBACLE
"In the end, Mario Cristobal admitted Miami should have taken a knee in the final minute of a 23-20 loss to Georgia Tech this season that knocked the Hurricanes from the ranks of the unbeaten. Miami's second-year coach did try and explain away his reasoning for handing the ball off to Donald Chaney Jr. rather than getting in the victory formation since the Yellow Jackets were out of timeouts. Chaney fumbled, Georgia Tech recovered, and a couple plays later were in the end zone with an improbable victory."
The loss was the first of the season for Miami. Miami finished the season 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the ACC. The Hurricanes have had a losing season in the ACC in each of Cristobal's first two seasons. MIami finished ninth in the ACC. If Miami had beaten Georgia Tech they would have finished tied for sixth in the ACC.
At 8-4 overall, Miami would likely have played in a far better bowl game. The loss to Georgia Tech began a slide. Miami lost at North Carolina and had five losses overall in seven games, beginning with the defeat to Georgia Tech. Poor game management has always been the most criticized part of Cristobal's coaching.
The loss to Georgia Tech will never be forgotten in Miami. There was a lot of debate where the loss to Georgia Tech ranks in the history of the Miami football program. Other losses had greater consequences in bigger games. Miami should play in far more important games under Cristobal in the future.