Virginia Tech (23)... 0 10 0 7 - 17 Miami.............. 0 0 3 7 - 10 Scoring Summary: 2nd Quarter 07:21 VT - Pace 32 yd FG 03:17 VT - Ore 2 yd run (Pace kick) 3rd Quarter 04:43 UM - Peattie 55 yd FG 4th Quarter 11:10 UM - Moss 50 yd run (Peattie) 01:39 VT - Ore 8 yd run (Pace)
As expected, #23 Virginia Tech and Miami played a barnburner in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night. And as most college football analysts predicted during the week, the Hokies found a way to win. After Tech’s 17-10 victory over the Hurricanes, the Hokies have now beaten Miami eight of the last 12 times the teams have played, and three of the last four times.
After Miami lost to Georgia Tech last week, there was speculation that Virginia Tech wouldn’t get their best shot. But the Hurricanes came to play, especially defensively. The Miami defense held the Tech offense to just 139 yards of total offense.
But Bud Foster’s defense did a good job of their own, limiting the Hurricanes to 237 total yards, including just 84 through the air. The Hokies also intercepted three passes and setup two offense touchdowns thanks to turnovers in Miami territory.
Brandon Flowers and Branden Ore managed to provide enough big plays to help the Hokies get the big win. Flowers had two interceptions and broke up another pass. The Delray Beach, FL native, who was not recruited by any of the Florida schools, played in front of many friends and family members on Saturday night.
Branden Ore didn’t have much running room for most of the night, but he made some exceptional plays when they were needed most. He carried the ball 29 times for 79 yards on the night, and scored both of Virginia Tech’s touchdowns. Ore has now gained over 1,000 yards on the season. His first touchdown was set up by one of Flowers’ interceptions, and his second came shortly after Xavier Adibi intercepted a pass that was deflected by Chris Ellis.
Sean Glennon completed just 5-of-19 passes for 86 yards and one interception. Glennon was under constant pressure the entire night, but only turned the ball over once. He threw an interception on a deep ball on third down that turned out to be just as good, or better, than a punt. Senior punter Nic Schmitt struggled for most of the game, even when he had the wind at his back, averaging just 36.4 yards per punt.
Linebackers Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall led the Hokies with nine tackles apiece. Both players had one tackle for loss. Chris Ellis had five tackles, including one huge deflected pass that led to the Adibi interception in the fourth quarter. Whip linebacker Brendan Hill had four tackles, a sack, and broke up two passes.
The Hokies move to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the ACC with the win. Miami drops to 5-4 and 2-3. With Georgia Tech’s 31-23 win over NC State, Virginia Tech stands virtually no chance to make the ACC Championship Game. They are now playing for an invite to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, or the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.
Neither offense managed to get going during the game, especially during the first quarter. The Hokies picked up a first down on the opening drive of the game, but they managed just one more first down during the quarter.
The Hurricanes threatened with field position the entire first quarter, beginning drives on their own 32 and 40, and later on the Virginia Tech 45. But the Hokies’ defense was stout, and they turned Miami back each time.
The second quarter was more successful, at least for the Hokies. Virginia Tech mounted their only scoring drive of the game that did not come with the aid of a turnover. The drive began at Tech’s 26 yard line and it ended with a Brandon Pace field goal.
The key play of the drive came on third and 10 from the 50 yard line. Sean Glennon dropped back to pass and was pressured. He successfully avoided the pressure and dumped the ball short to the left to Jesse Allen, who did most of the work on a 28 yard pass play to the Miami 22 yard line.
The Hokies had a chance for more on the drive. Sean Glennon’s second down pass to Josh Morgan was incomplete, but Morgan had Miami cornerback Glenn Sharpe draped over his back. He could easily have been called for pass interference, but the officials let it go. Tech could not pick up the first down, so they settled for a 32 yard Brandon Pace field goal. The Hokies led 3-0 with 7:21 left in the second quarter.
Miami began their next drive on their own 20. They brought backup quarterback Kirby Freeman into the game, and he began the drive by faking a shotgun handoff to the tailback and running around the left end for a 30 yard gain to the 50 yard line. Xavier Adibi stripped him of the ball at the end of the play, but tight end Greg Olsen was there to recover at the Tech 49.
Three plays later Freeman was pressured and rolled to his right. He tried to force a pass down the right sideline, but Brandon Flowers came up with his first interception of the night, which he returned 24 yards to the Miami 36 yard line.
The Tech offense quickly took advantage. Sean Glennon completed a 30 yard pass to Josh Morgan, who drug tacklers down to the six yard line. A face mask penalty on Miami put the ball at the three yard line. Two plays later, Branden Ore avoided a tackle in the backfield and scampered in from two yards out for the touchdown. Pace’s extra point was good, and Tech led 10-0 with 3:17 left before halftime. Neither team managed to score again in the first half.
Miami finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter. They drove from their own 20 yard line to the Tech 38 before they were finally stopped on third and nine. With the brisk South Florida wind at their back, Miami coach Larry Coker decided to go for a field goal from 55 yards, and kicker Jon Peattie nailed the kick to make the score 10-3 with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
The Hokies failed to pick up a first down on their next drive, and Nic Schmitt had to come in to punt into the wind. The punt traveled just 17 yards, and Miami took over on Tech’s 42 yard line. After gaining seven yards, Miami had to settle for a 52 yard field goal attempt. But Duane Brown managed to get a hand up to partially block the kick, and the score remained 10-3 Virginia Tech.
Early in the fourth quarter, Miami faced third and one from the 50. Tyrone Moss took the handoff up the middle and it appeared that the Tech defense had him wrapped up after a two yard gain. But Moss broke through the tackle with help from blockers, spun to the outside and ran 50 yards for a touchdown. Just like that, the score was 10-10 with 11:10 remaining in the game.
Things didn’t look good for the Hokies for most of the quarter, as quarterback Sean Glennon spent most of the final 15 minutes on his back. But late in the quarter, the defense stepped up and made a play.
On a second and 14 from their own 43, Miami quarterback Kyle Wright dropped back to pass, sensed an outside blitz coming from Xavier Adibi, and rolled to his left. He tried to throw downfield, but defensive end Chris Ellis got his hand up and deflected the pass. The ball sailed into the backfield to the blitzing Adibi, who intercepted it at the 30 and returned it four yards to the 26 with 3:33 left in the game.
Tech couldn’t pick up a yard on their first two downs, and they decided to play for the field goal on third down, running Branden Ore up the middle. But the offensive line opened up a hole, and Ore took advantage, gaining 16 yards to the Miami 10. Two plays later a similar hole opened up on the right side, and Ore scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from eight yards out. The Hokies led 17-10 with 1:39 on the clock.
Kyle Wright threw an interception to Brandon Flowers on the first play of the ensuing drive, but the Hurricanes were able to get the ball back at their own 48 with two seconds remaining. The Hokies didn’t want to risk a punt, so they ran Branden Ore into the line on fourth down and 23, but he couldn’t run out the clock.
Wright heaved a hail mary downfield, but it was intercepted by Macho Harris. However a Tech defensive end jumped offsides on the play, and the Hurricanes got another play. Wright completed a pass over the middle to Sam Shields, who tried to lateral the ball after he could get no further than the Tech 32. But the ball bounced free and the attempt was stopped at the Tech 43.
The Hokies return to action next Saturday at home against Kent State. Kickoff is set for 3:30, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.
STATISTICS VT UM ---- ---- First downs 10 10 Rushed-yards 40-53 27-150 Passing yards 86 84 Sacked-yards lost 5-20 2-15 Return yards 27 33 Passes 5-19-1 14-30-3 Punts 8-36.4 7-40.3 Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0 Penalties-yards 3-15 8-62 Time of possession 30:51 29:09 Att: 41,504 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 29-79, TEAM 4-(-10) Glennon 7-(-16). UM, Moss 13-103, Freeman 1-31, James 4-20 Jones 4-5, Wright 5-(-6). PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 5-19-86-1. UM, Wright 14-29-84-2, Freeman 0-1-0-1. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Morgan 2-39, Ore 2-19, Allen 1-28. UM, Moore 2-19, Olsen 2-14, Moss 2-13, Shields 2-10, Jones 2-3 Leggett 1-13, Hill 1-8, James 1-3, Zellner 1-1.