Despite an incredibly balanced effort on offense, the Miami Hurricanes defense let them down giving Virgina Tech rushing lanes and time to throw their way to a 38-35 victory.
Miami overcame a 14-0 deficit in the first half after stalling on their first drive as they attempted a fake field goal on 4th and 2. They eventually climbed their way back into the game on a Lamar Miller touchdown run in the fourth quarter. That play put the Hurricanes up 35-31. But on Virgina Tech's final offensive drive, they drove 77 yards for a touchdown and winning score behind the legs of their quarterback, Logan Thomas, who finished with two rushing touchdowns and 23 for 25 passing for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns.
After a slow start, Miami really began to assert themselves and turn around a game that appeared to be headed toward a blowout. The key momentum swinging play was a forced fumble by Micanor Regis on a bobbled Logan Thomas snap. Thomas attempted to fall on the ball but it bounced up when Regis fell on him to make the tackle and after bouncing around, Ray-Ray Armstrong fell on the ball and recovered it for the Hurricanes.
Armstrong, who was playing in his first game back after serving a four-game suspension for NCAA violations made his presence known on defense but primarily special teams. His recovery led to a change of possession and set up the first Miami score on a pass from Jacory Harris to Allen Hurns.
Down only a score at this point, the Hurricanes appeared to be very much in the ball game. However, the defense gave up an eleven play, 76 yard drive that put the Hookies back on top 21-7 on their very next possession. Armstrong was called for pass interference penalty on the drive and that helped the Hookies complete a possession which culminated with a screen pass from Thomas to star running back David Wilson.
At this point, Virginia Tech had scored on three of its first four offensive drives and were moving the ball at-will against the Hurricanes. The defensive front, which suffered two season ending injuries during the week prior to the game, was reeling. Both Marcus Forston and Ramon Buchanan were clearly missed as the Miami defense gave up 482 yards total offense to Virginia Tech on the day.
The inexcusable play on defense was evident as poor tackling and the lack of a pass rush were evident to even the novice observer. And the defense's worst performance of the season came at the worst possible time, a game in which the Miami offense was at its best.
Both Lamar Miller and Jacory Harris were incredible. They played with the ability that this coaching staff has always expected them to play with and helped Miami amass a total of 519 yards of offense. Lamar Miller ran for 166 yards – the fifth-straight game he eclipsed the 100-yard mark, becoming just the fourth Hurricane to accomplish the feat. He even caught a touchdown pass from true freshman receiver Phillip Dorsett who got the ball from Harris on a lateral and throw a strike to Miller who dove to make the catch.
For his part, Jacory Harris was equally impressive. He finished the game throwing 13 for 21 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. Harris was 6-of-9 passing in the first half for 129 yards. In addition, Jacory Harris and Travis Benjamin recorded career-best marks when they connected on a 77-yard TD strike on the Canes’ first drive of the second half, cutting the Virginia Tech lead to 21-14. Harris came up short on his final drive unable to bring the Hurricanes back with four attempts and under a minute to play down three points.
Neither the brillance of Harris nor Miller could make up for the defensive woes, which will get all the attention in the coming week. Miami needs answers on the defensive line which is starting Anthony Chickillo (LDE), Micanor Regis (LT), Adewale Ojomo (RT) and Marcus Robinson (RDE). Three of whom are below three hundred pounds and got pushed around by the Virginia Tech offensive line as they rushed for 172 yards and protected Thomas as he threw for over 300 yards and the victory.
Additional Notes from Today's loss:
- Was the third consecutive against Virginia Tech.
- Dropped Miami’s conference record to 0-2 on the year.
- Forced Miami into its second consecutive road loss, and the third loss in a row away from Sun Life Stadium dating back to last season.