Miami player Mario Cristobal “made the wrong decision” not to kneel

Andrea AdelsonSenior writer at ESPNOctober 9, 2023 at 04:08 PM ET3 minutes to read

Stephen A. Ricks criticizes Miami coach for not kneeling

Smith and Rex Ryan take a dig at Miami coach Mario Cristobal for failing to kneel in the Hurricanes’ last-second loss to Georgia Tech.

Miami coach Mario Cristobal took full ownership of the way the Hurricanes lost to Georgia Tech on Saturday, saying they should have taken a knee to seal the win.

Instead, Miami elected to run the ball with 33 seconds left and a 20-17 lead. Don Chaney Jr. fumbled, and Georgia Tech recovered and went 74 yards in 25 seconds — capping the Yellow Jackets’ 23-20 win with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Haynes King to Christian Leary.

“I made the wrong decision,” Cristobal said in his weekly press conference. “I take full responsibility for not kneeling down and giving them the opportunity to play a few more games and prevent us from winning.”

Miami has not lined up in victory lineup in any of its five games this season, opting instead to hand the ball over. But this was the first time Miami was involved in a one-score game. Georgia Tech had no timeouts left, so taking a knee would have won the game.

In response to a question about why Miami did not line up in the victory formation this season, Cristobal said it is something the team practices. “We didn’t do that on Saturday, and we should have done that.”

Cristobal said he addressed the decision openly and frankly with the team. Cristobal, who is in his second year in Miami, has faced severe criticism since the match ended. The decision cost the team a win and an unbeaten season. The Hurricanes now have to find a way to regroup against the No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels (5-0) on Saturday night in 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 the league.

Cristobal said he was proud of the way his team responded during practice on Monday.

“We were expecting a good response today, and that’s what we got,” Cristobal said. “There is a lot of conviction in our preparations and operations. The guys are very excited to get back to work and prepare for this weekend’s opportunity.”

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