Suddenly a trip to the ACC Championship Game is well within UM's reach.
In a physical up and down game, Miami made less mistakes than Virginia Tech and cruised to a huge victory 30-12 at Sun Life Stadium. Two huge red zone turnovers were costly for VT. There will be no 10 win season this year in Blacksburg. The Miami Hurricanes now control their own destiny in their march towards winning the ACC Coastal Division.
Virginia Tech took their opening drive quickly into Miami territory, but Ladarius Gunter picked off Logan Thomas inside the 20 to end the threat. It was Thomas' ACC high 11th pick of the year. The game started to heat up when Miami's suddenly stout defense forced a punt on the Hokies second possession and Gabe Terry blocked the punt, giving VT and their famed special teams that spawned the term "Beamer Ball" a dose of their own medicine. Two plays later Stephen Morris made a perfect back shoulder fade throw to Allen Hurns and a 7-0 lead. VT's special teams countered when Demitri Knowles returned the ensuing kickoff into Miami territory. Va Tech was able to capitalize and get on the board when Cody Journell knocked in a FG from 23 yards. The special teams party kept on going for UM when Duke Johnson's spectacular 81 yard kick off return put Miami inside the Tech 20. Morris quickly connected with Mike James from 16 yards out and a 14-3. The Hurricanes special teams made two huge plays to spark the 1st quarter lead.
Miami's D got another stop to start the second quarter. Their O stalled at midfield however but a great by Dalton Botts backed VT up deep in their own territory. Miami's D regressed temporarily shortly thereafter. A complete breakdown allowed Thomas to run up the middle for 73 yards untouched on a QB draw for the score. VT missed the point after and the lead was 5. The big plays continued when Duke Johnson rumbled for 65 yards on the first play of UM's next possession. This set up a 22 yard FG by Jake Wieclaw. After another nice stop by the D, Miami started with the ball inside their own 5. Miami moved the ball quickly downfield. Morris made huge passes to Rayshawn Scott and Clive Wafford, and Wieclaw knocked one in from 31 and a 20-9 lead. Miami's defense bent but did not break just before the half, and forced a FG. In a game that was amounting to a slugfest, the 'Canes led on points 20-12 at the half.
Another nifty return by the Duke gave Miami the ball at the 45 to start the second half. Miami went three and out however when what should have been a PI on a pass to Davon Johnson, wasn't called. The third quarter hit a bit of a lull as the teams traded punts. Miami's defense had been on the field far too long and they started to give up some big plays, but they caught another huge break late in the quarter, when Thomas fumbled a snap inside the 'Canes 5 and Luther Robinson recovered. The offense struggled mightily, but the gutsy and opportunistic defense kept the Hokies off the scoreboard in the 3rd. Miami managed just one first down (via penalty) in the quarter.
The 4th quarter started much like the 3rd ended. VT moved the ball but could not capitalize. Thomas missed a wide open Joey Phillips in the flat on 4th and 1 to end another drive. And just like the 3rd quarter Miami and the ice cold Morris responded with another 3 and out. Morris and the O finally got a 1st down when he hit Scott for 26 yards on 3rd and long on their next possession. This seemed to spark the 'Canes. Some tough runs by James, and a nifty trick play, double pass from Phillip Dorsett to Morris set up Johnson for a 6 yard scamper. Despite an offense that was inept for nearly the entire second half Miami was ahead 27-12 with 7 minutes to go!! Miami's D smelled blood on the next series, and a huge sack by Olson Pierre seemed to sap VT of their last bit of hope. From there the Miami run game pounded the Hokies into submission. Another Wieclaw FG capped the scoring at 30-12.
Miami next heads up to Charlottesville to take on UVA on Saturday November 10th.
LB Eddie Johnson was all over the field defensively.
DT Curtis Porter's presence seemed to help the run D.
DT Olsen Pierre had a huge 4th quarter sack, that he followed up with by pressuring Thomas into an incomplete pass.
Jake Wieclaw appeared to get his touch back, and was 3-3 on FG attempts.
Duke Johnson finished the game with 99 yards on 12 carries and a TD.
Jimmy Gaines made a 4th quarter INT to seal the game.
Freshman (not named Duke Johnson) Notes:
CB Tracy Howard saw early action and had nice coverage on Marcus Davis on a long pass attempt.
LB Gabe Terry made a huge play with a blocked punt in the 1st quarter.
S Deon Bush continued to make plays in run support and in pass coverage.
RB Dallas Crawford attempted a pass inside the red zone off a wildcat play, that was broken up.
DE Tyriq McCord continued to provide the best pass rush on the team, and had what should have been ruled a sack on Thomas in the 4th quarter.
LBs Gionni Paul & Eddie Johnson were both shaken up in the 1st quarter on the same play. Niether appeared to be seriously hurt.
S Deon Bush was shaken up after breaking up a 3rd and goal pass. He returned but was shaken up again when he made a monster hit on J.C. Coleman in run support, and did not return for the 2nd half.
S Kacy Rodgers to injure his right leg in the 2nd quarter. He returned in the second half.
The UM training staff appeared to work on Denzel Perryman's left ankle in the 3rd quarter. He did not return.
TE Dyron Dye appeared to injure a leg in the 3rd quarter.