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Post Game: Miami versus Virginia Tech

Miami and Virginia Tech squared off last night in a pivotal Thursday night contest. In front of a national audience and a hostile crowd Miami tried to come out with the victory against a scrappy Hokie squad.

Duke and the rest of the Canes ran over the Hokies last night.
Duke and the rest of the Canes ran over the Hokies last night.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Miami came out in the first quarter conservative on offense rushing the ball three times and settling to punt to VT. When VT received the punt Miami was able to clamp down and contain both the running game and passing as well. However, Miami on their third drive was able to come out and get a key wildcat run by Duke Johnson that netted 29 yards. Miami stalled inside VT’s territory and settled for a Badgley 28 yard field goal. The first quarter went back and forth with several three and outs but at the end of the first Miami drove it down to the VT 5 by relying primarily on Duke Johnson and Gus Edwards.

On the second play of the second quarter Edwards powered his way into the end zone for a three yard run, Miami went up 10–0. When VT got the ball back they had a decent drive but a holding call on first down stalled their drive and they punted away to Miami. On that drive Brewer was pressure on all the passing downs and Chickillo recorded a sack. When VT punted the ball Miami started on their own 19 but it didn’t matter. Due to VT playing a really flat defense with both of their safeties up on the line of scrimmage at times Miami took advantage with Duke breaking it to the next level. By the end of the touchdown drive that put UM up 17-0, Johnson had already amassed 120 yards rushing with 6 minutes left in the half. VT’s offense couldn’t get anything going and eventually Miami started on the VT 24 due to a shanked punt at the end of the second half. With the seconds ticking away towards halftime Kaaya made a hot read to Duke in the flat for yet another score, Miami went up 24-0 at half.

The third quarter was all about turnovers and they were all crushing for VT. Coming out of half the Hokies came out in a hurry up offense. UM, to put it mildly, was not prepared. At one point VT ran the same inside draw play five times in a row but on third and goal Marshawn Williams fumbled due to a strip-recovery by Deon Bush on the two yard line. Later in the third VT again had the ball in Miami territory (at the 35) and this time Tracy Howard forced a fumble off a wideout screen, the recovery was made by Jermaine Grace. On the next drive for the Hokies they were again driving into UM territory due to their continued success on the ground. Again Williams fumbled and again Grace recovered the ball. Miami throughout the third continued to rush the ball and run it at will but didn’t score. They finished the third quarter with 265 yards rushing.

As the fourth quarter started VT had the ball on offense and Brewer was continually under pressure. On one third down sequence where VT eventually punted to Miami, Brewer was harassed and eventually scrambled out to his right and then back to the left but found no one open. When UM got the ball back they again went back to Duke and he delivered. On his first carry he scampered for a 29 yard gain that had him push his total rushing yardage to 239 yards. Gus Edwards was then put in to finish the drive due to erring on the side of caution. Post the big play by Duke, Miami’s drive stalled out but Vogel again dropped a beautiful punt pinning VT down inside their ten.

At points in the fourth quarter Miami’s defense started experimenting with new blitzes and formation packages. On the defensive holding call Gunter played a roaming safety role with Dallas Crawford blitzing up the middle. Overall, Miami had the advantage in team speed. Brewer found no open players down field and had to settle for short completions that, at points, were negative yard completions. Before the last drive, VT had a total of 170 yards of offense.

The Miami offense had a game plan of keeping the ball on the ground and stuck to it for all four quarters. The end rushing total for Miami was 53 rushes and over 364 yards on the ground. Kaaya was asked to simply manage the game as he only threw the ball 16 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.