Virginia Tech Turns it Over Four Times, Loses to Miami 30-20

Virginia Tech-Miami scoring summary

— box score —

Virginia Tech and Miami fought an even battle in nearly every statistic but one: turnovers. The Hokies turned it over four times and the Canes zero, and Miami downed Virginia Tech 30-20 in Miami Gardens.

Brenden Motley started at quarterback for the Hokies and played almost all of the first three quarters, giving way to Michael Brewer for the last two plays of the third quarter and the fourth quarter. Motley turned it over three times, including two interceptions and a critical fumble deep in Tech territory to open the game. Brewer was responsible for the fourth turnover, an interception after the Hokies had fallen behind by ten points in the fourth quarter.

Motley’s fumble came on Virginia Tech’s first possession of the game, and it was recovered by the Hurricanes on the Tech three yard line. Miami converted that into a touchdown for an early 7-0 lead. Motley’s two interceptions came in the third quarter, and after the second one was turned into a field goal for a 23-13 Miami lead, the Hokies inserted Michael Brewer at quarterback.

Brewer threw a 33-yard TD pass to Isaiah Ford to make it 23-20 with 7:20 left, but the Hokie defense then surrendered a 9-play, 75-yard TD drive. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya hit Rashawn Scott with a 2-yard TD pass to make it 30-20 with 2:44 left, and when Brewer threw an interception to Artie Burns on the next play, the Hokies were done.

Motley otherwise played fairly well statistically, completing 14-of-23 passes for 136 yards and a TD, and running it 8 times for 40 yards. (He lost 14 yards on three sacks, giving him 11 rushes for 26 yards for the game.) His touchdown pass came on a nifty option pitch to Travon McMillian that went forward and was thus ruled a pass. But his turnovers were too much for the Hokies to overcome.

“Just disappointed. Disappointed with myself,” Motley said afterwards. “I turned the ball over too many times in some costly positions.”

Hokies head coach Frank Beamer and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler were philosophical about their decision to start Motley over Brewer, who was available.

“It’s a lot easier to make that decision after I see what happens than it was before,” Beamer said.

“I think we made the right decision. Did it work out today? Absolutely not,” Loeffler said. He added, “You had to make a decision, and that’s what we did, and I don’t second guess that decision whatsoever.”

For the second straight game, the Hokies started Travon McMillian (16 carries, 99 yards, 6.2 ypc) at tailback, and gave the large majority of the carries to McMillian and fullback Sam Rogers (5 carries, 22 yards, 4.4 ypc).  Trey Edmunds saw some action at tailback, carrying three times on third down. He picked up two of the first downs.

Isaiah Ford’s TD catch was the 13th of his career, moving him up to a tie for sixth on the all-time receiving touchdowns list. Ford had four catches for 76 yards, and Cam Phillips added four for 26. Tight ends Bucky Hodges, Ryan Malleck, and even Kalvin Cline each had two catches.

Defensively, the Hokies gave up 395 yards to Miami, about 50 yards below their season average, but Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya found receivers open in the slot and on slants throughout the game. Unlike previous games, it wasn’t any one Virginia Tech player who was singled out. Kaaya (19-30, 296 yards, 2 TDs) completed passes to a variety of receivers against  a variety of Tech linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks.

Miami didn’t get a dominating performance from any one receiver. Kaaya completed four passes each to Herb Waters (89 yards), Stacy Coley (63 yards), and Rashawn Scott (31 yards, 2 TDs).

The Hokies were led in tackles by Andrew Matuapuaka, who rebounded from some poor recent performances to tally ten tackles and two pass breakups. Chuck Clark had nine tackles, and Luther Maddy had seven tackles and Tech’s only sack.

Unlike last year, Miami didn’t dominate the Hokies with the running game. The Hurricanes had 39 carries for 99 yards, led by Joe Yearby with 60 yards on 19 carries, a far cry from Duke Johnson’s 29 carries for 249 yards in Miami’s 30-6 rout last season in Lane Stadium.

Instead, it was all about the turnovers and Miami’s passing game. The Hokies are now 3-4 overall, 1-2 in the ACC. It’s their first losing record at the 7-game point since 1992 (2-4-1), though it’s worth noting that the Hokies have had a losing record late in the year since 1992. They were 5-6 after 11 games just last season.

“We’re frustrated,” Motley said. “We’re very frustrated. We’re upset. We’re angry. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Anything can happen [in the ACC]. We’re just going to control what we can control and try to win out.”

Game Recap

After the Hokies stopped Miami on the Canes’ first possession, Motley dropped back to pass on 2nd and 4, and as he drew the ball back, it slipped from his hand. The Hurricanes recovered on the Hokie three yard line, and Joe Yearby ran it in on the next play for a 7-0 Miami lead.

Tech roared right back, and on the strength of a 22-yard run by McMillian and a 35-yard pass from Motley to Bucky Hodges, drove to the Miami 11-yard line. But Motley was sacked on 3rd and 8, and the Hokies settled for a 30-yard field goal from Joey Slye to make it 7-3.

Miami scored on a 13-yard pass on their next possession, but an offensive pass interference on the play forced the Canes into 2nd and goal from the Hokie 28. After a 22-yard Yearby run, Miami kicker Michael Badgley punched in a 24-yard field goal for a 10-3 Canes lead.

Tech answered with their best drive of the day, a 10-play 75-yard possession that featured five McMillian and Rogers carries for 26 yards, and Motley going 5-for-5 for 49 yards. Motley’s fifth completion was actually an option pitch to McMillian. Motley pitched it from behind the line, and McMillian caught it beyond the line and carried it in for a 9-yard TD to tie the game at ten points.

Each team kicked a field goal in a second quarter that featured less offensive firepower … until Miami took over on their 21-yard line with 58 seconds left. After a false start pushed the Hurricanes back to their 16 yard line, they were apparently content to just run out the clock from there. But the Hokies started spending timeouts in an effort to get the ball back before the half, and it backfired.

After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the Canes back to their 11-yard line with 41 seconds left, the Hokies called a timeout. Facing 3rd and 20 from the 11, Kaaya threw a 45-yarder to Herb Waters, who hauled it in against Terrell Edmunds. Two plays later, Woody Baron committed a roughing the passer penalty that moved the ball to the Tech 21. Three plays after that, Kaaya hit Rashawn Scott for a 7-yard TD pass with four seconds left that put Miami up 20-13.

“In the past we’ve done that [called timeouts] and we’ve created some plays,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “That’s what we were hoping to do and unfortunately it didn’t work that way this time.”

Tech’s defense held up during the third quarter, but the offense was a disaster. Motley threw an interception at the Miami 19 on Tech’s first possession. On the Hokies’ second possession, Tech drove to the Miami 34. Facing a 4th and 9 from there, the Hokies lined up for a field goal, but Miami committed a pre-snap substitution infraction, moving the ball to the 29 and making it 4th and 4. Frank Beamer decided to go for it, and Motley missed hooking up with Sam Rogers, and the Hokies turned the ball over on downs, still down 20-13.

On Tech’s third possession, Motley threw another interception, this one on the Hokies 31, and it was returned to the 28. Miami drove all the way to the Hokie 1-yard line, then botched a shotgun snap on 3rd and goal from there. The Canes settled for a 21-yard field goal and a 23-13 lead with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.

At that point, the Hokies put Brewer into the game. An illegal block on the kickoff backed the Hokies up to their eight yard line, and Brewer started moving Tech down the field from there. At the Hokie 41, Tech faced 3rd and 1, and Trey Edmunds, who had picked up first downs on two previous third downs, was stopped for no gain, forcing a punt.

After the Hokie defense held, Tech took over on their own 47 with 8:47 left. Brewer hit Ryan Malleck for 22 yards from there, and two plays later, as Brewer took a hit, he lofted a pass to Isaiah Ford, just inside the pylon on the left side. Ford hauled it in right at the end zone sideline, and after a video review, the play stood, and Tech was down just 23-20 with 7:20 to go.

Unfortunately, Miami gashed Bud Foster’s defense for a 9-play, 75-yard TD drive that took 4:36 off the clock and resulted in a 2-yard TD pass to Rashawn Scott with 2:44 left. Kaaya was 3-for-3 on the drive for 52 yards and the TD that put the Canes up 30-20.

On VT’s next possession, Brewer threw an interception to Artie Burns, the second of the day for Burns, on the very first play. Miami ran out the clock for the win.

With the loss, the Hokies fall to sixth place in the ACC Coastal Division, ahead of only Georgia Tech. The Hokies face Duke (5-1, 2-0) next Saturday in Blacksburg, at 3:30 on ESPNU.

Note: All quotes in this story are from the Twitter feeds of Andy Bitter and Mike Barber, plus Andy Bitter’s game recap.

ACC football standings


25 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I’ve become pretty apathetic about this program. I used to travel to lots of road games, subscribe to this site and read all the articles, but I don’t do either of those things anymore. The only reason I ever go to any home games is b/c my good friend has a vacation home in Blacksburg, and it’s an excuse to see him and do that about once a year. I got one of their extra tickets for the NC State game and went to that, and I was blown away by the ticket price – $55. I never remember it being that high.

    I don’t dwell on losses because I really don’t even care that much anymore. And, I care that much anymore because I don’t really have any hope that we’ll ever improve as a program, but I don’t think we’ll get much worse under Beamer either, this year notwithstanding.

    It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s nice that we beat UVA every year. It’s nice that we go bowling every year (again, maybe not this year for either of those things). But, the game has passed Frank by. He runs a close-knit family kind of football operation, which is nice when you’re winning and keeps good coaches like Foster loyal, but it also makes it hard to adjust when things aren’t going well. A coach that was really worried for his job would have started Brewer – the only QB in the country to beat the defending national champs in the last 20 games, maybe twice if he hadn’t broken his collarbone. I don’t know how you sit him if he’s healthy.

  2. Beamer is definitely risking tarnishing his legacy (if he steps away after this yr it will not be tarnished, despite some irrational beliefs). For the coaches to say that they will not second guess their decision, that is what they absolutely did by playing Brewer later in the game…they second guessed their bad decision to play the 2nd string when the starter was capable of starting and playing. This to me was a no brainer decision to play Brewer, and if we don’t recognize that we made a coaching mistake, then we are not owning up to our own involvement in how we are performing).

    As for a coach, I think we are still in recent enough memory of annual 10 win seasons that it is an attractive job. We will see when it comes, I am predicting 2016 is his last yr

    1. Vtgriff09 – is there one case in 10 where a head coach has hired his son and it has worked out? Nepotism tarnishes a reputation. Frank was great and I still admire him, but he did and has tarnished his legacy with that decision and continued decision. That’s my belief.

      Go Hokies

      1. IMO, hiring a son, even one who may be a great coach, sends a bad message.
        That unbelievable message is…..”we hired the best man we could find and can you believe, it just happened to be my son.”
        WOW, what a coincidence

  3. I need to take HokieJB’s advice and just lower my expectations for Hokie football. Otherwise I’m heading down the same path as Will’s “formerly rabid” Hokie fan buddy that he described in last week’s NC State article.

  4. If or when the time comes, it will be hard to find a good head coach that VT can afford. Best bet may be an up and coming lower level FSC coach (whatever the former AA division is called now). Appy. State has been looking pretty good lately. Please, don’t hire Shane Beamer. He is a nice guy but, just not a head coach, at least for now or for VT.

  5. The chemistry just isn’t there and recruiting has definitely fallen off and yes there are “no stars” on this team. Coaches are clueless and defensive as they strive to answer or state the obvious. They are part of the overall problem and the ship is definitely sinking to lower levels. We have become the “three star U” and can’t seem to get the quality athletes even in Virginia. Same ole same ole or for us military people SOS. I’ve had enough of this menu and favor major changes from top to bottom. No offense, no defense (which was suppose to be good), no special teams. Weak from top to bottom. Legacy coach? That is becoming a joke if you ask me. Just like Bowden and Paterno in their last years of coaching. Pathetic to remain in the job because all of us reach an age where we need to step aside and let someone with more energy lead the team. Beamer thinks he has a number of coaches including his son that could be the next coach. That statement alone tells us in his own words “something is out of whack.”
    Clean house with new people from top to bottom. Sad day to be a Hokie and sad to see the level this program has reached. CHANGE must take place and the sooner the better.

    1. Agree with VT Rockie. At the current pace VT football could be headed for a 5-7, 6-6 season at best. If we lose to Virginia that will make it all the more humbling. Wake Up Frank!

  6. Coach Frank Beamer is the man who made VT football relevant and he deserves all the praise and accolades that go along with that accomplishment. But the game has changed and continues to change and VT has been much too slow or, at times, even resistant to recognize and embrace change. At this point I don’t think there are any easy changes, no magic wand to wave and restore the program to it’s former glory. I think it’s now pretty obvious that whatever Coach Beamer and his staff might be able to accomplish in the short term, it just won’t be enough to save this season. And, after four sub-par seasons of Hokie football, increasing fan apathy, recruiting shortcomings and questionable coaching decisions, we’re still hearing the excuses.

    The really hard decisions still remain in front of us: waiting-waiting to be made. Coach Beamer has said that he was sensitive to the issue of over-staying his time, but his actions speak louder than words in that he is becoming very much like Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, et al by trying to hang on. Give Steve Spurrier a ton of credit for recognizing he had reached the end of his trail and did the right think for South Carolina by resigning mid season to give that program a head start in the process of righting itself. Frank Beamer could do the same for his alma mater by retiring now. He will also have added to his legacy by doing the right thing at the right time and finally recognizing that this will be best for the future of Hokie football.

    1. If Frank does not make the move that almost everyone desires, he will tarnish a wonderful record of achievement.

      1. He already has. It’s the pinnacle of selfishness. Complete lack of leadership and actions opposite of team focus. And he KNOWS it. True colors will come out if he fights at all against hiring a new coach after this season.

  7. After four years of hearing how “we are going to turn this thing around” I am starting to doubt the ability of this staff to do that. I am seriously worried that we can lose out and this is the team that will lose the Commonwealth Cup.

  8. Recruiting will fix itself when the top of the football program is fixed. Nothing more to say when the coaches don’t know who should be on the field and then defend poor decisions.

  9. We’ll have a win or two but it’s gonna get real ugly for the football program until the Beamers retire/leave and some major changes are made. Thanks for what you did in the past FB, but it’s time to go.

  10. And recruiting is trending downward. Wait till next year is no answer.

    Behind UVA in the Coastal. Ugh.

  11. In the past, we have had star players — Taylor, Suggs, Jones, Williams, Wilson, et. al. — now, we have no star players. We have some pretty good players, but no star players.

    Also, I don’t like Loeffler’s defensive attitude after the game. And what about Bud — he’s still the same coach he has always been. Why the drop off in defense the last 3 years? Why are we giving up the big play the last 3 years? Is he doing something different? Or is it the players are not as good?

  12. Will, Thank you for a good article, I say it’s getting harder every week to find something Good . I hope these young players stay the course and don’t give up. That’s easy to say but I just hope they don’t fold .

  13. A loss like this is a lot easier to stomach when expectations are lowered. That is where a lot of us are right now. I feel really bad for the players who are certainly doing their best.

    Recruiting failures over recent years have made us a mid pack team, or worse. Anyone who watched the Mich-MSU game (say a prayer for the Mich punter!), and the LSU-Florida game know what big boy football looks like. We don’t have the studs to achieve our objectives.

    1. It’s amazing just how far recruiting has fallen. All of our recent recruiting classes, while rather modest by big boy standards, seem to be a little overrated.

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