Virginia Tech’s Effort Not Enough In 38-26 Loss To Miami

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Brashard Smith’s 75-yard touchdown pass helped lift Miami over Virginia Tech. (Miami Herald)

Despite coming out hot in the third quarter and trailing by five heading into the fourth, Virginia Tech’s effort wasn’t enough in its 38-26 to Miami in a rainy Hard Rock Stadium.

The Hokies (5-6, 3-4 ACC) got behind early and trailed 28-13 at half. Though Tech held the Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3 ACC) to just 54 yards on the ground, it couldn’t touch Manny Diaz’s aerial attack.

“We weren’t ready to play,” interim head coach J.C. Price said afterwards. “And that landed squarely on my shoulders, and there’s no excuse, there’s no asterisk by it. It doesn’t matter the situation. I’ve told them before the game started, I told them when the game ended: a loss is a loss. There’s not going to be an asterisk.

“I still love this team. I still like them. I like the fight. … Nobody flinched at halftime. It was probably still the middle of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth, we still felt on the sidelines like we were going to win the game. It just didn’t happen.”

Tyler Van Dyke completed 19 of his 33 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns, including two scores of 50-plus yards. The ‘Canes put up 411 total yards and averaged 6.5 yards per play.

Brashard Smith’s 75-yard touchdown with 7:33 left in the third quarter extended Miami’s lead to 18, 28-10, and though Virginia Tech pulled back with two scores of its own, Mike Harley’s 55-yard house call sealed the game with 10:39 to play.

Van Dyke became the first opposing quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against the Hokies this season. The previous high this year was Middle Tennessee’s 283 yards. In ACC play, it was Syracuse’s 236.

“They’ve got very good receivers, and he’s a good quarterback that’s got really good arm talent and made some good throws,” Price said. “We knew going in, they’re a Miami team and they have great speed. And we thought that their offense was built around big plays, and if they didn’t get a big play, they’d have trouble scoring. And that held true.

“If they had big plays, they scored. If they had to drive it, we had a chance to get off the field. That’s kind of a nutshell on defense.”

Offensively, Virginia Tech kept pace once it got into the rhythm in the first half. At the intermission, the Hokies had a balanced offensive attack: 129 yards on the ground, 109 yards through the air.

Even though Tech came out firing after the break and made it a close game, it wasn’t a spectacular performance by any means on that side of the ball.

After Miami extended the lead to 31-13 with a field goal early in the third quarter, the Connor Blumrick-led offense drove 75 yards and six plays, culminating in a seven-yard fade to Kaleb Smith for six. “Saw ball, get ball,” as Smith said postgame.

Kaleb Smith made a nice catch for a touchdown at Miami. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Then, Price gambled. He said entering Saturday’s game, the staff thought there was going to be an opportunity for a “bunt kick, the surprise onside.” And Tech was right.

Just after the touchdown, John Parker Romo hit an onside kick that was muffed by Miami and recovered by Keondre Ko. Seven plays and four minutes later, Tech was in the end zone again, this time on a four-yard pass from Blumrick to true freshman Da’Wain Lofton, his first career touchdown pass.

“We see them every day put the work in,” Smith said of Lofton and Jaylen Jones making plays. “We know they can play at this level and go out and make plays for us. It’s awesome to see them have an opportunity to do that.”

Blumrick was a perfect five-for-five in the third quarter and Tech controlled the game, earning first downs on two-of-three third down scenarios.

After Miami scored quick – in 1:19 – on the 55-yard bomb to Harley, the Hokies trailed by 12, 38-26. However, needing a response, they couldn’t generate anything. They ran 13 plays – nine rushing, four passing – and gained 19 total yards. Blumrick didn’t complete a pass, and all three drives ended in punts from Peter Moore.

The ‘Canes got possession back with 6:17 remaining and ran out the rest of the clock, cementing Tech’s loss.

“We felt like we definitely had a lot of momentum [after Lofton’s touchdown],” Hokies offensive lineman Johnny Jordan said. “We had just scored. The sideline was really excited to just get going and we felt like we had a lot of momentum … and then it kind of happened.”

Tech was without offensive guard Lecitus Smith, who missed the game due to injury. Center Brock Hoffman played in spurts, while wide receiver Tre Turner played in the first half. He had a fabulous one-handed touchdown grab but reaggravated his injury from Georgia Tech, which forced him to sit out for the second half.

Blumrick and Braxton Burmeister shared duties behind center, but after Burmeister was sacked and fumbled with 11:47 to play in the third quarter, it was all Blumrick for the last five drives.

“We went with the hot hand,” Price said. “Blumrick, the offense was moving when Blumrick was in there. The threat of him being able to run and run physically, and we thought he was our best chance of moving the ball.”

Blumrick was the hot hand in Hard Rock Stadium and the Hokies stuck with him. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Virginia now awaits on Saturday, Nov. 27 in the Battle for the Commonwealth Cup. A 3:45 p.m. ET kickoff on the ACC Network from Scott Stadium, the Hokies need a win to become bowl eligible. The Cavaliers lost to Pitt, 48-38, at Heinz Field, which clinched the Coastal Division title for the Panthers.

Quarterback Brennan Armstrong played, and he looked like his usual self: 36-49 (73%), 387 yards, 9.9 avg, 3 TDs, 1 INT. Five UVa players had a catch of 20-plus yards, too. After seeing what Tech’s defense gave up at Miami, playing Armstrong & Co. is a scary situation. The Hokies need this one, though.

“At this point, obviously we always want to go 1-0, but this one – yeah,” Smith said. “This one we’ve marked on our calendar for a while now. We don’t lose this one.”

Box Score: Link

Other Notes:

  • Raheem Blackshear didn’t have a carry until 7:52 left in the game. When asked about it postgame, J.C. Price didn’t have any answers, which isn’t a surprise for a defensive guy. “I’m not sure right now. I’m not sure.”
  • Another game, a lot of penalties for the Hokies. After being so good earlier in the season, Tech’s really struggled with flags. VT had a season-high 12 vs. Duke and had seven for 65 yards in Miami Gardens.
  • Tae Daley missed the second half due to a targeting penalty in the middle of the first quarter. He will be back for VT-UVa.
  • Kaleb Smith on how difficult this week has been with the parting of ways with Justin Fuente: “That’s tough. That’s something that you never expect to happen, never expect to see on a Tuesday morning waking up early, getting ready to head to practice and you kind of get a bomb dropped on you. But I think position coaches and head coaches and J.C., they did their best to show us, yeah, this is not normal. They didn’t want to pretend like it was normal. Just find ways to get us focused. Find ways to get us out there every day and still come out with the same energy.”

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37 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Watch a little of the 1st QT all of 3rd QT (didn’t watch the 4th QT)… what a terrible spot for that Miami 1st down. Miami has won and lost some very close games just like VT. Overall, was proud of how the players hung in there. Our DB didn’t play very well especially #2. LB plays are not good either, but nothing new there. GO HOKIES win next week against UVA !!!

    1. Watched a little of the 1st QT all of 3rd QT (didn’t watch the 4th QT)… what a terrible spot for that Miami 1st down. Miami has won and lost some very close games just like VT. Overall, was proud of how the players hung in there. Our DB didn’t play very well especially #2. LB plays are not good either, but nothing new there. GO HOKIES win next week against UVA !!!

  2. The Blumrick-led offense that ignored the RBs mostly. How can team members stay motivated when they know they won’t be used?

  3. We have one, va big school sprint champ but he may never be healthy.

    How long since we had a WR who contour sprint Miami and FSU and Clemson?

  4. So how any times did Waller get beat? I lost track. Got tired really quick watching #2, our supposed best lock down corner, chasing and failing to catch a Miami wide receiver for a long bomb touchdown. Just awful. BUT, I made my 2022 donation yesterday to continue supporting my school and whomever will be the new coach. If you don’t step up to donate and put your money where your mouth is your complaints are shallow and do nothing to impact the future. We have to compete and we can’t do that without funds. Simple. Step up Hokie Nation!!!

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Waller was repeatedly beaten, and when he was covering well, he never looked back to play the ball. Certainly not one of his better games.

      1. Did he also drop a pick six and have his hands on another interception that he dropped? Or was that someone else

    2. People are not afraid to throw at him either. What was horrible was the effort on the TE coming out of the backfield that ran by both him and another player. Also, he was beaten on the TD that was called back

    3. Our cornerbacks lacked the speed to keep up with any of their receivers. They were bigger, faster, and stronger.

    4. If you don’t step up to donate and put your money where your mouth is your complaints are shallow and do nothing to impact the future. >>>>

      11hokie – it’d be interesting if every poster listed (honestly) what they contribute – both donation and ticket sales – towards 1) football/athletics; 2) non-sports contributions.

      While I’m finished with my contributions, etc. for this year – which include 4 season tickets in Section 9 on the 45. I plan to continue my support in 2022. I will try to contribute more to the non-sports in 2022 – because I believe VT is moving quickly into being one of the elite colleges in the U S.

      For the record – while emotionally I agree with your comments – I think everyone on the Free and Subscriber boards are entitled to their opinions – no matter.

      1. HokieClub – Yes
        Season Tickets – Used to be until they moved emphasis to TV, They want TV audience, not your 4 season tickets – everything is for TV – must be what they want. [I exaggerate for a point] Blaring music screams to me that I am no longer their target audience. So be it.
        Fan and Follower – Yes
        TSL Member – Yes

        Everyone can see that Fuente, while a good man, is not engaging for fans, donors, or recruits. Everyone has a right to point this out to Whit. He finally saw the light.

        It’s a two-way street – engagement brings more donations.

  5. Was at the game. Miami fan going walking along side of me said, “guess we’ll watch 2 bad times play tonight.” They were no more enthralled with their season as we have been with our. Too many close games but no cigar wins. May both teams find their mojo in the future and when we play each other it will be for the division, with great teams.

    GO HOKIES!!! BEAT uva!!!

  6. I’m surprised the article didn’t mention Miami’s fourth down attempt and bad spot that gave them the first down. That to me was the pivotal play in the second half.

    1. ACC officials suck so bad and so often, I guess David didn’t figure it was even newsworthy enough to include. .NEWS would have been if they had gotten it right. If the booth review official wasn’t using the review monitor to watch porn, maybe HE could have seen what was OBVIOUS to everyone, including several Miami players and both announcers!

      If there are worse officials in America than the ACC officials, then they should be banned from working their Pop Warner League games!

      We certainly did MORE than enough to lose the game, but pathetic officiating week after week, game after game (and NOT just the Hokie games) just wears me down! Even this bush league ACC should expect better!

      1. Not just the ACC, all conferences have a lot of controversy with refs. It is a fast moving game and I can see them getting an initial call wrong. I don’t see how they can get it wrong again using replays and all the time they take. But they seem to do it. I can’t figure it out. Maybe its the pressure on them or inexperience. Consider it just part of the game.

      2. ACC officials suck so bad and so often>>>>

        It’s the worst across the board officiating in college football that I’ve ever seen – in person and on TV. Yeah – it’s a hard, fast brutal game – but blowing reviews are what makes it so frustrating. Then – there’s lack of consistency. And – pass interference calls and non-calls are crap shoots on a lot of plays.

    2. That was the play of the game. It was clear from the tape that he barely got back to the line of scrimmage with no forward progress even getting to the LOS. That bad review / miss call gave Miami 4 extra downs but more importantly it changed the field position dramatically. We were only down by five and to the ball on Miami 37 with a short field to score another TD for the lead or a FG to make it a one score game was denied. Instead, we ended up getting the ball inside our 15 and with the weather / offense, that was too much to overcome.

      1. yup even though we held them to only 5 yards gained on that next set of downs and forced a punt, that incomprehensible call let them flip the field

    3. That’s exactly right. Get the ball on the MIA 37 and the game is totally different- we had a chance to take the lead. Game pivoted right there.

  7. The team showed a lot of grit last night. I thought early on that the final score was going to be like 56-10. But toughness and a great onside kick call made a difference. Who knows that we would have scored again if not for horrendous ball spot.

  8. It’s difficult to watch other teams with receivers who can outrun the opponents’ DBs. We don’t have any that I’ve seen so far. Perhaps they have been sitting on the bench?

    1. I think Robinson and to some degree Turner can run past other DB’s. I am just not sure we have a QB that can connect with them.

      1. Nah, they catch it and they r looking to create angles with jukes. A pure speed receiver heads straight down field splits angles with acceleration

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