No. 11 Virginia Tech Routs No. 9 Miami in Huge ACC Matchup, 31-7

Stephen UrbaniakCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2009

In a huge ACC contest that pitted the red-hot No. 9 University of Miami Hurricanes and the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies, the game did not live up to the hype that had been piled on by people across the country. 

The Hokies cooled off the storm that was the Hurricanes by a score of 31-7 in a rain-drenched affair that saw newly discovered Heisman contender and Hurricanes' sophomore QB Jacory Harris under fire for most of the game.

The tempo for the game was set after Virginia Tech DB Dorian Porch sacked Harris on his fifth snap which led to a fumble recovery by Porch at the Hurricanes' 11-yard line. 

The Hokies limited the 'Canes offensive opportunities by leaning on the running game with RB Ryan Williams leading the way with 154 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

This accounted for the 272 rushing yards by the Hokies' balanced offense after having difficulty finding balance offensively after getting manhandled in a loss to Alabama and coming to a desperation 80-yard completion and game-winning touchdown to beat Nebraska in the final seconds. This game was an entirely different story.

Harris' stat line was alarming: 9-of-24 for 149 yards and one interception with many more passes errant or thrown into coverage. 

He faced pressure from the Hokies' defense all game, was forced into early mistakes and couldn't get the offense going, the most critically of all, having a huge 3rd quarter drive deep into Virginia Tech territory stall after tight end Jimmy Graham dropped two passes.

A fourth-and-13 attempt was completed to WR Dedrick Epps, but was stopped short of a crucial first down. 

Harris threw a fourth quarter interception to Hokies' DB Rashad Carmichael which was the deciding factor in the game. 

Hokies' QB Tyrod Taylor was efficient in the game, combining with Williams to power the Hokies' ground game.  Taylor's stats weren't flashy, but an efficient 4-for-9 for 99 yards and one touchdown pass to WR Jarrett Boykin for 49 yards.

With the loss, Miami lost a opportunity to establish itself as the team to beat in the Coastal Division and also lost an opportunity to quiet the doubters that the "U" was truly back, and Virginia Tech now has the head-to-head advantage against the 'Canes in the event they finish tied.

Miami's ACC Coastal Division hopes will rest with the hope that the Hokies lose 2 games in conference play, but the schedule favors the Hokies.

Miami would most likely have to run the table over the rest of the season to have a shot at the division and the ACC championship game. 

There is no time for the young Hurricanes to mope around about this loss as they have No. 10 Oklahoma next week.

That will present a chance for Jacory Harris and the 'Canes to rebound from this tough loss, and again make a statement against an excellent Sooners team that may or may not have reigning Heisman trophy winning QB Sam Bradford in the lineup. 

Give Virginia Tech credit for getting the pressure on Jacory Harris that he had not seen in wins against Florida State and Georgia Tech and pressuring this young Miami team into mistakes.

Miami has a lot of questions that must be answered over the next few weeks, as they are going into a non-conference slate of games that feature Oklahoma, Florida A&M and UCF before having an important ACC test at Clemson on Oct. 24. 

I believe the Hurricanes will rebound and respond to adversity well, and that Randy Shannon will have them ready to play and this loss behind them when Oklahoma comes to town next week.


Look for my Miami/Oklahoma preview later in the coming week, and as always feel free to comment as you wish and support me by becoming a fan and support my bid to become an FC for the 'Canes.


Special Thanks to ESPN for the photo.  Pictured are Miami's RB Javarris James and Virginia Tech's LB Jake Johnson.