It was too little too late and the Miami Hurricanes have fallen to 2-3 on the year and 0-2 in the ACC after a 42-35 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Despite bringing the score within six with 4:55 seconds left in the game and then tying it off the back of a 62-yard Deejay Dallas touchdown run with 3:16 left, the Hurricanes defense couldn't hold on. After a five play 63-yard drive, the Hokies took a seven point lead and sealed the game. Even with a chance to drive and win the game, the Hurricanes came up short.
This one stung. There is no other way to describe it.
The Virginia Tech Hokies were at home last week against Duke, who lost their quarterback and a chunk of linebackers that were some of the best in their programs history this year, and lost 45-10. That is a 35-point defeat. That is FIVE TOUCHDOWNS.
But today, the Hokies strolled into Hard Rock Stadium with so many questions. Head coach Justin Fuente’s seat was getting scorching hot, they were winless in two ACC games four games into the season, and they had given up over 200 yards on the ground the week before.
The Hurricanes sky rocketed to a 14-point favorite after opening at just eight points. And then they just came out flat. Like, embarrassingly flat.
Before you knew it, Miami quarterback Jarren Williams, who hadn't thrown an interception all year, had three interceptions the first quarter before N’Kosi Perry came in for him and threw one himself.
Junior wide receiver Mike Harley fumbled a reception as well, giving the Hurricanes five turnovers in the first half of the game.
After a Hail Mary that somehow found its way into Mark Pope’s hands to finish the half gave the Hurricanes a spark as they headed to halftime and some of that momentum was carried over into the second half.
The Hurricanes were able to cut the lead to two scores thanks to an eight play 88-yard drive that was capped off with a six-yard Brevin Jordan touchdown early in the second half. The sophomore tight end finished the game with seven receptions for a career-high 136 yards and a touchdown.
But the Canes simply weren't capable of overcoming a plethora of early mistakes and Virginia Tech had their way with in this game.
First-time starter Hendon Hooker didn't light up the scoreboard with his arm, but had 260 total yards and four scores, including a 12-yard run to open up scoring in the first.
Hokies junior tight end Dalton Keene had three career touchdowns coming into this matchup and doubled it in Miami Gardens on four catches.
It’s hard to describe the frustration on Miami’s end. The five turnovers, not forcing a single turnover against a team that came into this game -8 in turnover margin, six sacks and eight tackles for loss on offense, allowing VT to convert on seven of nine third down attempts on offense in the first half, and putting yourself in a 28-0 hole just simply loses you games.
You have to respect and appreciate the fight of this team in this one for battling back from a four score deficit and tying the game late in the fourth, but a slow start, just as it did against North Carolina, wound up costing the team the game.
And that starts with the coaching. There is simply no excuse as to why the team came out and played like they did for the first 30 minutes of this game, especially coming off of a bye.
It doesn't matter that they outscored the Hokies 28-14 in the second half. It doesn't matter that Miami out-gained the Hokies 563 to 337. It simply wasn't enough.
The Hurricanes are now 0-2 against teams they beat by a combined score of 85-24 during their 7-6 2018 campaign. As I mentioned in my game preview, that is a clear sign of regression.
The Hurricanes are back in action this Friday night at 8:00 p.m. against the Virginia Cavaliers in a must-win game in order to keep any ACC Championship Game hopes alive, even though I feel this team is far, far from that.
Some bright spots on the stat sheet apart from Jordan were:
Jeff Thomas: 6 rec 124 yards 2 TD’s
Deejay Dallas: 6 carries 66 yards 1 TD
Michael Pinckney: 11 tackles 3 TFL