Virginia Tech and Miami both entered this game looking to end long losing streaks in the midst of seasons that have fallen apart over the past month. While both teams were close at halftime, it was once again a third quarter disaster that helped doom the Hokies to another double-digit loss against a struggling Miami team.
Virginia Tech fell to Miami to 38-14, dropping the Hokies to 4-6 on the season and 3-4 in ACC play while Miami improved to 6-5 and 3-4 in ACC play. With the loss, the Hokies will have to beat Virginia to have any shot at a bowl game with a rumored game against Marshall on December 1st should they beat their in-state rival next week.
The third quarter was once again a disaster for Virginia Tech as the Hokies once again were outscored coming out of halftime 21-0, the fourth-straight home game where VT hasn't scored in the third quarter and allowed at least 14 points (fourth time overall in the past six games).
Justin Fuente and his staff have a clear problem preparing their team for the second halves of game that goes beyond the youth of this team given the consistency of the issue. The fact that this has been happening at home is even more confusing and very disappointing.
The Hokies' offense continued to struggle more and more as playcalling continued to be questionable at times with an increase in their vertical passing plays, but little variety beyond streaks. Meanwhile, Ryan Willis had his worst game as a Hokie going 18-36 for 216 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs while running for a net of 13 yards on 9 carries as Willis was inaccurate with lots of passes that were either behind his receiver or too low.
The Hokies' offense has regressed over the past few weeks after showing lots of promise earlier in the season. While not having Eric Kumah and Hezekiah Grimsley may have hurt some, the Hokies' immense defensive struggles and terrible second half are unacceptable for an offense that was playing significantly better a few weeks ago. In addition, the Hokies' rushing attack disappeared in the second half having almost no success to go along with a passing game that found no rhythm after the opening possession.
Going forward, Justin Fuente has to at least consider making some sort of significant offensive change this offseason though it remains to be see if he'll actually do so.
Virginia Tech's defense was once again wore down starting out strong in holding Miami to less than 2.5 yards per carry per first half. However, the Hokies' defense slowly crumbled with Miami's offense moving the ball easily on the ground during the second half while only struggling through the air at times because of drops.
The Hokies' youth on defense showed as Virginia Tech's defense wore down and was dominated during the second half especially the third quarter. In the end, Miami averaged 5.5 yards per carry while allowing N'Kosi Perry to have his best game going 21-34 for 171 yards and 2 TDs while running for 16 net yards and a TD.
Virginia Tech may have a lot of youth while also dealing with their fair share of injuries over the past few weeks, but the fact of the matter is that the Hokies' performance over the past few weeks has been unacceptable especially given the weekly offensive regression and continued third quarter issues. Looking ahead, it's hard imagining this team continuing their bowl streak or their win streak over Virginia with both teams headed in opposite directions this season.
Virginia Tech opened the game with the ball after Miami won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. After a pair of minimal runs, Virginia Tech opened it up with a 14-yard completion to Damon Hazelton on third down followed by a 45-yard gain by Tre Turner on a play action pass the next play. The Hokies capped it off on the next play after VT cleared out the left side of the field to set up the screen pass for Dalton Keene who waltzed 15 yards into the endzone to give the Hokies a 7-0 lead.
Miami started their first offensive possession with a third down conversion from Travis Homer on a checkdown pass. The Hurricanes then needed a defensive holding call on third down to gain another first down after a first down drop by Dee Wiggins on what would've been a touchdown. Miami had another third down conversion with a 33-yard completion to Lawrence Cager to push them into the red zone. However, Miami's drive stalled out after a second down offensive holding with a 33-yard field goal from Bubba Baxa cutting the lead to 7-3.
Virginia Tech came out on their next possession and gained a singluar first down after a pair of runs, but saw their drive stall out after that. Virginia Tech's defense responded only allowing one first down before shutting down Miami's offense with Dax Hollifield having a sack on second down. Virginia Tech's offense wasn't able to get anything going on their next drive with a quick three and out. VT's defense responded holding Miami to their first 3 and out of the day to end the first quarter.
After Justin Fuente heavily argued what appeared to be a clear Miami pass interference on the Hokies' first play of their next drive that wasn't called, Ryan Willis threw an interception to Miami's Shaq Quarterman on what was a poor decision from the Hokies' QB, setting the Hurricanes up at the VT 3. On the next play, N'Kosi Perry found Darrell Langham for a three-yard touchdown to give Miami a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
On their next drive, the Hokies started with a solid first down gain for Dalton Keene followed by a third down pass interference against Miami extending the drive. VT kept the momentum going with Ryan Willis having a big 23-yard gain on the ground to push the Hokies into Miami territory. VT kept it going when Steven Peoples gained 10 on a third and 9 to push the Hokies near the red zone. Two plays later, Tre Turner broke through finding a lane on the jet sweep for a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Hokies a 14-10 lead.
Miami's next drive received a major boost after a 15-yard pass interference penalty from Divine Deablo on a 3rd and 1. However, Miami's drive stalled out after that thanks largely to a near sack on first down that ended up being ruled a completion to himself for N'Kosi Perry for a double-digit loss rather than a fumble recovered by Perry at the time.
Virginia Tech started their next drive gaining a first down after a Miami offsides on 2nd and 2, but unable to do much more after that. However, the Hokies' defense quickly responded holding Miami to a 3 and out after stuffing a run on 3rd and 1. However, the Hokies' offense stalled out once again with there own 3 and out.
Miami started their next drive with four first downs on their first six plays including a pair of first downs gained on successive plays by Jeff Thomas for the 2nd and 3rd first downs. From there, Miami only needed a trio of runs capped off by a one-yard run from N'Kosi Perry to take a 17-14 lead with 33 seconds left in the half. Virginia Tech handed the ball off to Steven Peoples to run out the clock at the end of the half.
Virginia Tech's offense had their issues with the passing game as Ryan Willis struggled going 6-16 for 85 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT which came after he went 3-3 on the Hokies' opening possession. While VT did have a couple drops, Willis also had a few inaccurate throws. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's rushing attack was much improved with 17 carries for 86 yards and an average of 5.1 yards per carry led by 34 yards on 5 carries for Willis and 27 yards on 7 carries for Steven Peoples.
The Hokies' defense made a large improvement in the first half from last week holding the Hurricanes to 2.4 yards per carry and and 157 total yards of offense. Dax Hollifield led the charge for the Hokies with 6 tackles including 3 total tackles for loss and 1 sack. Meanwhile, Reggie Floyd and Rayshard Ashby shared the team lead with 7 tackles and each had 0.5 tackles for loss.
Miami opened the second half with the ball at their 25, but the Hokies' defense held them to a 3 and out. Then, Virginia Tech started out their next drive with three-straight first down gains on their second to fourth plays via a Damon Hazelton completion, Tre Turner completion, and Steven Peoples run, all of which were in the 10-20 yard range. However, the Hokies' drive stalled out there with Brian Johnson missing a 46-yard field goal, preserving Miami's 17-14 lead.
Miami started their next drive gaining a pair of first downs on the ground including a 10-yard gain from N'Kosi Perry on a read option that cleared out most of the field for the Perry run. Two plays after the Perry run, Miami's Cam'Ron Davis went for a 42-yard touchdown run on a 3rd and 2 to give the Hurricanes a 24-14 lead over the Hokies.
On the next drive, the Hokies came out quick with a pair of first down completions to Phil Patterson and Steven Peoples. However, a Damon Hazelton fumble two plays later set Miami up at the Virginia Tech 41. Fortunately, the Hokies' defense was able to rally while also benefitting from a third down drop by Darrell Langham leading to a 3 and out, and a punt.
Virginia Tech's offense continued their third quarter struggles with a 3 and out on the next series. However, Miami had an immediate response as Jeff Thomas returned the Hokies' punt 51 yards for a touchdown to give the Hurricanes a 31-14 lead.
Virginia Tech came out and had nothing on offense with a 3 and out followed by a long return from Jeff Thomas. On the next drive, true freshman Nasir Peoples opened the drive on a safety blitz with a sack. However, the Hokies gave up a 10-yard gain followed by a 30-yard run to Travis Homer to set Miami up in the red zone. After back tracking, N'Kosi Perry found Cam'Ron Davis on a swing pass for 16 yards and a touchdown to give Miami a 38-14 lead.
Virginia Tech started out their next drive quick with a trio of first down completions including two to Damon Hazelton and one to Phil Patterson to get into Miami territory. However, the Hokies didn't get much more from there before a 3rd and 9 sack of Ryan Willis led to a failed 4th and 18 conversion.
Miami kept their momentum going moving the ball quickly to midfield. Cam'Ron Davis had a big gain on the ground on third and long to push the ball to the VT 25 a few plays later. However, a penalty pushed Miami significantly farther back in their territory leading to a Miami punt.
The Hokies started the next drive with a 22-yard gain from Willis to Tre Turner to get away from their own endzone. VT converted a fourth down with a Ryan Willis run before Jalen Holston had a major gain. However, the Hokies stalled out before Ryan Willis threw his second interception on a jump ball that led to a skirmish after Demetrius Jackson took a cheap shot on Willis. After a pair of personal foul penalties, Miami kneeled out the clock right in front of their endzone.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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