Hokies Defeat Miami, Punch Ticket to Charlotte

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Virginia Tech (14)...  7 3 7 14 - 31
Miami (24).... ......  7 3 7  0 - 17

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
11:54 UM - Hankerson 9 yd pass from Morris (Bosher kick)
00:51 VT - Williams 14 yd run (Hazley kick)

2nd Quarter
11:51 UM - Bosher 34 yd FG
09:23 VT - Hazley 49 yd FG

3rd Quarter
05:32 VT - Coale 43 yd pass from Taylor (Hazley)
03:55 UM - Miller 4 yd run (Bosher)

4th Quarter
13:24 VT - Williams 84 yd run (Hazley)
06:25 VT - Taylor 18 yd run (Hazley)


Miami Gardens, FL – The Hokies found themselves trailing after the opening drive of the game yet again, and rallied to win by double digits on the road yet again. Tech beat Miami 31-17 on Saturday afternoon to clinch the Coastal Division and punch their ticket to the ACC Championship Game. They improved to 9-2 with the win, and 7-0 in the ACC. Miami is now 7-4 overall, and 5-3 in conference play.

Miami outgained the Hokies 464 to 369, but the Canes had six turnovers and failed to make the plays at critical times down the stretch. Miami ran for 262 yards on the Hokies, with r-freshman tailback Lamar Miller gaining 163 yards on just 15 carries. True freshman quarterback Stephen Morris started out hot, but he threw three big interceptions in the second half.

The Miami defense played very well in this game. Except for one 84 yard touchdown run by Ryan Williams, the Tech offense didn’t do much. Williams finished with 142 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and Darren Evans had 14 carries for 73 yards. The traditional running game worked well, though the Hokies couldn’t get much going through the air. Tyrod Taylor was 7-of-14 for 94 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked five times by a tough Miami defense, including twice in Tech’s first six offensive plays.

Danny Coale was Virginia Tech’s only credible receiving threat in this game, catching four passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. Jarrett Boykin, the team’s leading receiver, was held without a reception.

Perhaps the most memorable play of this game came in the first quarter, when Tyrod Taylor was knocked out of the game momentarily. Logan Thomas entered on third and 16 from the VT 41. Rather than just running a draw and punting the football, the Hokies decided to throw. Thomas hung in the pocket and found Danny Coale over the middle for a 24 yard gain and a first down. The Hokies went on to score a touchdown on that drive.

Defensively, Tech was blown off the ball by Miami’s huge, physical offensive line. However, Steven Friday did manage three tackles for loss and two sacks. As the game went on, the secondary began playing much better. Jayron Hosley recorded his eighth interception of the season, and Davon Morgan and r-freshman linebacker Tariq Edwards also had interceptions.

Rashad Carmichael went down early with a sprained ankle, and true freshman cornerback Kyle Fuller replaced him and did a good job. With Carmichael on the bench, Jayron Hosley slid to boundary corner, and Fuller played field corner. Fuller came up with a big tackle and forced fumble on a fourth down stop.

Another defender who deserves a mention is whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, who played a lot on Saturday. He had five tackles and a tackle for loss, and did a good job of being around the football. It was easily his best game of the season.

Recap

The game started poorly for the Hokies, as usual. Justin Myer’s kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving Miami great starting field position at their own 40. Stephen Morris completed a big third down pass for 20 yards to Leonard Hankerson to keep the drive going, and later found Hankerson on a nine yard slant for a touchdown to give his team an early 7-0 lead.

With the beginning of this game going as most Tech games have gone this year, the Hokie offense took the field and was quickly forced to punt. Special teams came up with the first big play of the game.

Brian Saunders boomed a 44 yard punt to the Miami 20, where it was fielded by Travis Benjamin. Chris Drager played great containment on Benjamin, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow came in and wrapped him up, and then Drager knocked the ball loose. Tariq Edwards fell on the loose ball, and just like that the Hokies were in business at the Miami 16.

Then the offense gave it right back to the Canes on the next play. Tyrod Taylor was pressured, sacked and fumbled away the football. Miami took over and promptly completed a 43 yard pass to Travis Benjamin on their first play of the drive, and it looked like the Hokies were about to get run out of town.

A key play of the game came on this drive, on third and nine. Stephen Morris threw over the middle to Hankerson, who was tackled by Jayron Hosley after appearing to stretch and pick up the first down. However, replay showed that his elbow was down, and after a review overturned the spot, it was fourth and one.

The Canes decided to go for it, and with the way Miami was running the ball, it didn’t seem as if it would matter. However, the fourth down handoff to Damien Berry was stuffed by Kyle Fuller, who knocked the ball free. It was recovered by Davon Morgan at the Tech 12. Berry was knocked out of the game on the play, which paved the way for Lamar Miller’s impressive performance.

This time the Tech offense responded by marching down the field for an 88 yard touchdown drive in 12 plays, taking over six minutes off the clock. It was during this drive that Logan Thomas came in and completed his big third down pass, and the Hokies seemed to gain new life after that play.

The drive was capped by a 14 yard touchdown run by Ryan Williams, and Chris Hazley’s extra point tied it 7-7 late in the first quarter.

The second quarter was mostly uneventful, with both teams adding a field goal. Chris Hazley booted his from 49 yards out, and he’s now made 18 consecutive field goals. That ties the Tech record for most consecutive field goals in a season. (Brandon Pace holds the overall record with 22 straight field goals made.) Miami kicker Matt Bosher also missed a 47 yarder during the second quarter, and the teams went into halftime with the score tied at 10.

The Hokies finally took the lead on their second drive of the third quarter. Tyrod Taylor was huge on this drive, completing a big third down pass to Xavier Boyce for a six yard gain and a first down, and later scrambling for 12 yards and a first down. The big play of the drive came when he found Danny Coale on a crossing pattern down the field. Coale caught the pass cleanly, beat the Miami defense to the corner, and then outran the secondary for a 43 yard touchdown.

Coale’s touchdown put Tech up 17-10 with 5:32 left in the third quarter. The lead didn’t last long, with Miami going 62 yards in just four plays for the touchdown. All four plays were handoffs to Lamar Miller, including a big 47 yard run to open the drive. He capped the drive with a four yard touchdown run to tie the game at 17 with 3:55 remaining. Little did we know, that turned out to be Miami’s final score of the game.

In the fourth quarter, Virginia Tech finally pulled away. Matt Bosher boomed a huge 59 yard punt to pin the Hokies at their own 16. The Hokies had a long way to go, and they did it in just one play. Tyrod Taylor handed off to Ryan Williams, who broke through the Miami defense for a huge 84 yard touchdown run to give Tech a 24-17 lead with 13:24 remaining. This time they didn’t give it back, though they did catch a break on the next Miami drive when Travis Benjamin dropped a perfectly thrown deep ball from Stephen Morris that would have been a touchdown.

Later in the fourth, things began to fall apart for Miami. Two plays after Lamar Miller broke a 28 yard run to the Tech 49, Morris threw his first interception of the game. He was picked off by Jayron Hosley, who returned it to the Miami 25.

Tyrod Taylor came up with two huge plays on the next Tech drive. First, facing an all out blitz, he found fullback Kenny Younger in the flat for a five yard completion on third and three. Second, he ran a quarterback draw for a 18 yard touchdown up the middle, giving the Hokies an insurmountable 31-17 lead with 6:25 left.

Morris was intercepted on his next drive by Davon Morgan, and on his final drive by Tariq Edwards. Overall, he threw an interception on Miami’s final three possessions of the game.

With a trip to the ACC Championship Game locked up, the Hokies will gun for the first undefeated record in ACC play since Florida State went 8-0 in 2000. Kickoff for next Saturday’s home game against Virginia is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by the ACC Network.


STATISTICS

                          VT         UM
                         ----        ----
First downs               19          23
Rushed-yards          48-251      42-262
Passing yards            118         202
Sacked-yards lost       5-38        2-10
Return yards              52         106
Passes                8-15-0     15-33-3
Punts                 6-47.2      3-41.3
Fumbles-lost             1-1         3-3
Penalties-yards         4-50        5-55
Time of possession     33:31       26:29
Att: 40,101

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 

RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Williams 14-142, Evans 14-73,
Wilson 10-28, Taylor 10-8. UM, Miller 14-163, Berry 9-47,
James 5-30, Morris 7-10, Cooper 6-10.

PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 7-14-94-0, Thomas 1-1-24-0.
UM, Morris 15-33-202-3.

RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Coale 4-83, Davis 1-17,
Williams 1-7, Boyce 1-6, Younger 1-5. UM, Hankerson 6-79,
Benjamin 3-64, Cleveland 2-32, Byrd 2-20, Johnson 1-5, James 1-2.
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