Oct 7, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal walks on the field in the second half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami head coach Mario Cristobal’s decision to run the ball when simply kneeling it would have seemingly secured a win will go down as one of the biggest coaching blunders in recent memory.

And Tim Hasselbeck’s call of the mistake — and Georgia Tech’s ensuing comeback victory — certainly met the moment.

The debacle began with 1:18 remaining in the game and the Hurricanes leading 20-17. With the Yellow Jackets having just called their final timeout of the game with Miami facing a 2nd and 12, two kneel downs were all the 17th-ranked Hurricanes needed to win the game and advance to 5-0.

Instead, Cristobal called for a run by Donald Chaney Jr., who proceeded to gain two yards. With just 33 seconds remaining in the game and Miami facing a 3rd and 10, a quarterback kneel down would have assuredly secured a victory for the Hurricanes.

Instead, Cristobal called for another Chaney run — a mistake that Hasselbeck, who was on the call for ESPN’s ACC Network, was quick to point out.

“Just take a knee. You should not be handing this football off,” Hasselbeck said as the Miami offense lined up. “I don’t know what Miami is doing.”

Chaney proceeded to run four yards before fumbling the ball, which was recovered by Georgia Tech defensive end Kyle Kennard.

Hasselbeck’s disgust was palpable.

“You should not be running the football,” the former NFL quarterback said. “You should be taking a knee. As soon as [Miami] got that first down, [Georgia Tech] used that last timeout. As long as you milk it all the way down, you don’t need to be doing this and you certainly don’t need to be fighting for extra yards.”

It only got worse from there for the Hurricanes, with the Yellow Jackets capitalizing on Cristobal’s error. After Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King found wide receiver Christian Leary for a 44-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining in the game, Hasselbeck once again harped on Cristobal’s costly error.

“I’m going to say it, it needs to be said: that’s one of the biggest coaching mistakes at this level that I have ever seen in my lifetime,” Hasselbeck said. “You should not be running the football. You run the football, fumble and give up a score. That is devastating for a 4-0 Miami team to get their first loss of the season on a sequence like that.”

Miami’s last-ditch effort would fall short, cementing Cristobal’s screw up as an all-time gaffe.

While it may not make Hurricanes fans feel any better, it was refreshing to hear an analyst like Hasselbeck give voice to their frustration — on the ACC Network, no less. And to his credit, he didn’t just do it in hindsight — he called out the coaching error as it was happening in real time.

[The Comeback]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.