No. 13 Virginia Tech Eliminated From Coastal Race After 28-10 Loss to No. 10 Miami

MIAMI — There were two major keys for Virginia Tech on Saturday night, if they wanted to knock off the undefeated Miami Hurricanes — take care of the ball, and don’t allow big plays. The Hokies failed to do either of those things, and lost to the ‘Canes 28-10.

“Coach (Mark) Richt has a fine squad over there,” said head coach Justin Fuente. “They’re good and sound and talented in all three phases of the game. They are a well-coached, tough football team. We, in my opinion, are too. But, our kids played hard, they laid it on the line, they played in a hostile environment and we weren’t good enough today to win the game. There’s a myriad of factors for that, that’s ultimately my responsibility, to get us to play up to our potential and the best that we can, and part of it is that we played a really good football team.”

Virginia Tech struggled both on offense and on defense on Saturday night. The Hokies coughed it up twice, totaled just 299 yards and went 3-14 on third down conversion attempts. Quarterback Josh Jackson finished the night 20-32 for 197 yards and two interceptions, while the Hokies averaged just 2.4 yards per rush as a team.  Virginia Tech also turned the ball over four times, two of which were fumbles.

Virginia Tech’s offense wasn’t bad on the early downs. The Hokies averaged 6.4 yards per play on first down, but really struggled on third down anyway.

“I felt like just in general, offensively, whether it was off a turnover or starting a series, we would get a little bit going but we couldn’t convert on third down,” Fuente said. “Yeah, I mean it was really bad, and Miami deserves credit for that. We just couldn’t keep a drive going. It wasn’t that we weren’t efficient on some first and second downs, we just couldn’t keep it going.”

Miami’s offense has survived on big plays all season, and did so again vs. the Hokies. The Hurricanes registered 13 plays of 10 yards or more, and four plays of 36 yards or more. While Miami quarterback Malik Rosier threw three interceptions, he also finished with 277 total yards and three total touchdowns. Travis Homer had an efficient day on the ground as well, finishing with 95 rushing yards and a 64-yard touchdown run.

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said, “We knew that was what they relied upon going into this game, and we had to — we couldn’t allow them to have success number one, running the football, which they did, which was disappointing. Then number two, they were going to take some shots down the field, they did. We had some opportunities, we got a couple picks as well, but you’ve got to give Miami a lot of credit. I thought they played their best football game tonight.

“We weren’t as sharp, for whatever reason. We missed tackles, we didn’t fit our gaps like we had the previous few weeks, and that was disappointing. I’m proud of our kids. We played hard, but we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be, and a big part of that, the credit goes to Miami.”

Virginia Tech football
Miami tight end Christopher Hernon (23) was one of several Hurricanes to make a big play on Saturday night. (Photo by Darren Altman)

Miami’s chunk play offense put together an impressive first half. The Hurricanes had eight different plays of 10 yards or more, including plays of 20, 24, 36 and 64 yards. Miami’s first scoring drive (nine plays, 87 yards) was also aided by two pass interference penalties on Adonis Alexander, and the drive ended in an easy 8-yard reception from Braxton Berrios for the touchdown. The ‘Canes’ second score came on Homer’s 64-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, giving Miami a 14-0 lead.

Virginia Tech’s offense slogged through most of the first half, but finally found some life towards the end. After four punts to start the game, the Hokies engineered a 10-play, 41-yard drive that ended in a 50-yard Joey Slye field goal. After cutting Miami’s lead to 11, Alexander picked off Rosier deep in Hokies territory and gave Tech a chance to tack on more points before halftime.

The Hokies moved the ball quickly, picking up 53 yards in just four plays. However, a Sean Savoy fumble inside Miami’s 20-yard-line ended any chance of Tech adding more points, and the Hokies trailed 14-3 at halftime. On the play, Miami’s Jaquan Johnson put his helmet right on the ball as he tackled Savoy, popping the ball free. Miami’s R.J. McIntosh recovered at the ‘Canes’ 14 with just twelve seconds left in the half.

“I thought our fumble was a big hit,” Fuente said of the Hokies’ turnovers. “I thought a couple of the interceptions, we were getting a little bit of pressure, the ball was just a little bit off, I mean I certainly think — I don’t think it was a lack of attentiveness to or an urgency to take care of the ball. I think they did a really good job, and forced our hand. It’s not like they blitzed all the time, that’s not what I’m saying, it’s just — we were in some fourth downs, or we were pressing to try and make some first downs to try and score.”

Virginia Tech generated momentum to start the third quarter. After a Rosier interception on Miami’s first possession of the half, Tech turned it into a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10. Reggie Floyed intercepted the ball at the Virginia Tech 46 and returned it 37 yards to the Miami 17, where the Hokies scored five plays later on a one-yard run by Jackson.

Tech’s Greg Stroman intercepted Rosier on the next Miami possession, but the Hokies turned it over on downs after driving to the Miami 32 yard line.

“We came out, defensively, we came out and what, three picks? That’s huge,” Tech defensive tackle Ricky Walker said. “We put the offense in position. Coach Fuente, he’s the head man, he made his calls and we all, we trust him. I think we had a bad snap on fourth down, but other than that, it’s tough seeing that.”

Miami then scored two touchdowns in three possessions, thanks to a 43-yard touchdown pass to Christopher Herndon and a 13-yard touchdown run by Rosier. The ‘Canes took a 28-10 lead early in the fourth quarter and never looked back.

“Miami did some good things. I think we helped them a little bit, but at the same time you’ve got to give those guys credit,” Foster said. “They executed, we didn’t. When it’s all said and done, that’s the bottom line.”

Virginia Tech’s loss takes them out of contention to win the Coastal Division. The Hokies are now 3-2 in the ACC, with losses to Clemson and Miami. The Hurricanes are now 6-0 in the ACC and hold the tiebreaker over the Hokies. Outside of Miami, the only team with a mathematical chance to win the Coastal Division is Virginia, who stands at 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. Virginia and Miami play on Nov. 18.

For the Hokies, they still have a chance to win 10 games in consecutive seasons. Virginia Tech, now 7-2 overall, has games remaining against Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Virginia. However, only one of those games is at home, with road trips to Atlanta and Charlottesville on tap.

“We’re not worried about that right now,” said defensive tackle Ricky Walker. “We’ve got Georgia Tech this week, away, at their place. It’s going to be another hostile environment. You know how that offense is, so we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow.”

— box score —

28 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Our tackling was atrocious as has been noted by others. That’s a fundamental skill–contact and wrap. Our football program would do well to pay a visit to the Tech Rugby team from time to time. Diving into a runner’s ankles or thinking you’re going to consistently shoulder-charge someone to the ground ain’t gonna cut it.

    Frustrating game to watch!

  2. Miami’s recruiting has vastly improved over the last 2 years. They are on track for another top ten year.
    They will be kicking our butt unless we can respond. Let’s face facts, unless we recruit better we are no longer in Coastal.

  3. Our offensive line got beat by a more physically talented defensive line.

    The real litmus test to me with cjf is can he get those linemen that are needed to win championships.

    He obviously can get qbs and skill position players. But that will onky take you so far.

    It always comes down to linemen…always

  4. Our team is the Not Ready for Primetime players. We’ll get better. We were teased by the opening acts, but when the show got serious (prime time) we didn’t play our best and I don’t think our coaches did their best either.

  5. If you cannot out recruit the other team and they have bigger, stronger players, then the only way to beat them is to play smarter with more imagination. Running on first and second down almost all the time and then a long throw on 3rd down is not using imagination. It is very stale and predicable. The offence needs to really improve its play calling.

    1. We did recruit. Do you think the outcome would be different if Bucky, Isaiah, and Jerod were still on this team? Point is, next year can be special but the coaches have to recruit Tremaine and others to stay instead of leave early for the NFL (didn’t work out well so far for the guys that left early).

  6. Not a hard game to figure: Miami played better than they have all season on a night when VT was having more miscues than normal. As much as I hate to say it, the better team won, and some of the weaknesses the Hokies had been covering up all year were exposed. But there’s still a chance to finish 10-2 if they learn from this and keep working. I still have some questions about how good Miami really is, but they’re clearly better than the Hokies this year. I’m still pissed we lost, but this isn’t a gut punch, soul-crushing loss like Miami 2005. I thought given the personnel losses from last year that 9-3 was realistic going into the season within anything beyond being gravy. Still feel that way.

  7. Since Donavan McNabb, or maybe even before, I have watched a mobile quarterback run at will, through, over, and around us at will regardless of game planning or game adjustments. It happened again last night, at critical times. Our game plan is to “stop the run first, making the opposition become one-dimensional” Doesn’t this mean stopping the quarterback as well as the running back? To a fan who is not an expert, it appears to me there is something wrong or lacking in our defensive approach.. Over the years there have been many Tech teams as well as different opponents, all with different talent levels, but always with the same result…… up the middle with little or no opposition. Am I the only one seeing this?

    1. Every defense , nfl team or Alabama alike is susceptible to a running QB. That’s why we run ours with success. Got to score points on the other side and keep up. Many people would have guessed 28points would win this a game. 11would have worked for Miami ☹️

    2. I understand the frustration, but it’s a side effect of our defense and Bud’s philosophy. Bud’s D has been so successful over the years due to aggressiveness. Guys shoot the gaps and try to be disruptive in the backfield. A lot of times, that leads to pressure, TFLs, frustration for the other offense, etc.

      But on quite a few occasions, it also leads to rushers getting a bit out of their lane, and then a QB with a little mobility can take advantage of it, ESPECIALLY when we’re playing man to man coverage, and gain some yards.

      So if we start playing more to contain the QB…..the tradeoff is NOT doing some of that attack.

    3. I agree with everythnig except the “mobile QB” part…It doesn’t TAKE a mobile QB, just a guy who can put on foot in front of the other…Rosier is about as mobile as I am (trust me, that is NO compliment). It’s always been so; guess it always WILL be…Oh well IIWII

  8. Please don’t imply or state the officials caused us to lose the game. We were outcoached and outplayed by Miami – period. Coaching staff must recruit better players if we want to compete with the “big boys” of the ACC. The performance of our team last night was sickening!!!! It looked like game one instead of game nine in the season. This was as ugly as it gets!!!!

    1. Sorry that you feel so badly. I’m guessing that our players feel worse. Buck up, write a check, and support our guys. And yes Captain Obvious, we need to recruit better.

    1. yes, yes and yes. it begins and ends with O-line play. If you can impose your will, then you can run the ball. If you can run the ball, then that opens up the pass. Our line can’t push around anyone whether it’s Delaware or Miami. The opponent doesn’t matter.
      Defensively, yeah there were a couple bad calls but Miami did what they do — get chunks of yardage. Our missed tackles didn’t help. Also, Stroman and Mook Reynolds got worked several times from bigger Miami receivers blocking down field. Miami exposed some weaknesses and good teams do that. My constant thorn is the O-line. McMillian is a good back, a former 1000 yard gainer. WTH? It’s what we suspected in the last few years of the Beamer era and it still hasn’t been corrected. O-line recruiting fell off to such a low level and we’re still digging (deeply) out of that hole.

  9. By definition our OC must be insane. He keeps using the same play (Travon up the middle) and expects a different result. I don’t get it?

    1. Controlling the A gap with your run game opens up a myriad of play action pass and outside runs. An OC must try to dominate the A gap so the offense hums along. The OC is trying to win the game and players need to be physical and tough and move other big guys out of the way. Miami looked better last night than they had showed all year on film. Miami smacked us in the mouth and we have a bloody nose. If you thought this team was talented enough to win every game then your koolaid is better than mine. just got to play tough because UVA, GT, and Pitt can all mash us up front and throw over the top.

  10. Overmatched at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That’s going to change over the next couple years.

  11. I kind of have a problem with the effect of the Reggie Floyd “personal foul” not even being mentioned here. It was a huge call at a critical time, and it was 100% a (likely intentional) bogus call. Runners are not protected in bounds under any circumstances. If you at a QB and you show that you are running, you are not protected. Period. That is the rule. Reggie could’ve hit him even harder than he did, and there’s no way it should be called a foul. Bud said that call swung the game. I agree. Absolutely critical time. Don’t worry, you won’t be fined by the ACC office for questioning the officials!

    1. The two pass interference calls, on Alexander, that led to one Miami score, were questionable. .

      1. One was imaginary the other was very questionable, particularly since the refs didn’t use the same standard to make calls against Miami’s pass defense. Regardless of the outcome of the game I hate it when the officiating has such a significant impact and isn’t impartial.

        1. The PI and the Personal Foul on Floyd were awful, and both probably lead to 7 instead of 0 on those drives (possibly). That said, we failed to make plays. Guys were running wide open on passing pkays and they either dropped the ball or were badly missed. JJ played an awful gane and had the chances, but he was never really put in a rhythm. We have to try and stretch the field as well. I am not sure we tried a pass over 15 yds, outside of the backfoot throw up to Cam (which we gavr him a chance to make a play and he did). Playcalling reminded me of old Scott Loeffler playcalling last night. And yes, we do have some fast guys we can stretch the field with, and Cam makes plays if you give him chances. It isn’t all doom and gloom and all of a sudden we don’t have horses to compete (which I say is total bs, we worked over Miami last yr and they haven’t gotten that much better while we got that much worse). Simply put, we were outcoached abd outplayed, we were not close to over matched, we had our own mistakes and poor play calls

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