Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

November 10, 2013

Hokies knock off Hurricanes

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Trey Edmunds ran for four touchdowns, the first three of them set up by Miami special-teams miscues, and Virginia Tech knocked off the 14th-ranked Hurricanes 42-24 on Saturday night.

Edmunds had scoring runs of 10, 2, 4 and 1 yards for the Hokies (7-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). Logan Thomas completed 25 of 31 passes for 366 yards, giving him consecutive games of 300 yards or more for the first time in his Virginia Tech career.

Stephen Morris completed 16 of 29 passes for 324 yards for Miami (7-2, 3-2), which lost its second straight. Morris had an 81-yard touchdown pass to Stacy Coley and an 84-yarder to Allen Hurns, but the Hurricanes were still outgained 549-352.

Virginia Tech held Miami to 28 rushing yards. The Hokies had 26 first downs to Miami’s 12.

The win turns the ACC’s Coastal Division into a muddled mess, with Georgia Tech at 5-2 in conference play, Virginia Tech a half-game back (but owning the tiebreaker over the Yellow Jackets), Miami and Duke at 3-2, North Carolina at 3-3 and Pittsburgh at 2-3.

Florida State has already clinched the Atlantic Division title and spot in the ACC title game on Dec. 7.

Joshua Stanford (107) and Willie Byrn (105) both had 100-yard receiving nights for Virginia Tech, helping carve a Miami defense that has allowed 1,066 yards in its last two games — both blowout losses.

Winning games with help of strong special teams play is nothing new for the Hokies. After all, it’s not called “Beamer Ball” after coach Frank Beamer for nothing.

But the Hurricanes were giving out plenty of gifts in that department early.

After the Hurricanes took a 7-0 lead on the Morris-to-Coley completion, Miami was primed to get the ball back in Virginia Tech territory following a punt. But Coley fumbled it away at the Hokies’ 45 — after getting hit by punter A.J. Hughes, no less. And five plays later, Edmunds scored his first of the night to tie the game.

Rain was falling steadily. The mistakes, from the Miami side, started coming at deluge rates.

The ensuing kickoff was eerily similar to the punt return, with things going from great to dreadful for Miami in the blink of an eye. Artie Burns fumbled the kickoff return near midfield, Edmunds scored five plays later once again, and the Hokies had the lead. It became 21-7 on the third Miami blunder, this one coming when punter Pat O’Donnell’s knee was on the ground as he fielded a low snap at the Miami 17.

The Hokies took advantage of the short field, scoring yet again, and Miami wouldn’t get any closer than seven the rest of the way.

Playing without running back Duke Johnson, out for the season with a broken right ankle, Miami struggled offensively. Take away the two long touchdown passes, and the Hurricanes managed only 3.7 yards per play the rest of the night.

Plus, the Hokies never made the mistake that Miami would have needed.

A third-and-12 play at midfield in the third quarter summed up the night. Virginia Tech took a time-out to keep Thomas, whose helmet was knocked off on the previous play, on the field. He found a wide-open Willie Byrn for a first down — and when Miami’s Ladarius Gunter punched the ball away around the 5, it bounded into the end zone, only to be recovered by Demitri Knowles for a 35-17 lead.

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