MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami mentor Mark Richt made available these prescient text to his group throughout the week as it geared up to perform Virginia:
“I’m not likely to sit here and disregard the truth there is a good deal of wonderful things going on here … but we are the identical group that commenced this time grinding and fighting and trying to uncover approaches to win online games. And if we ignore that, then we are likely to uncover ourselves in problems.”
Effectively, No. 3 Miami (10-) located alone in problems all appropriate, unable to muster the identical intensity or defensive relentlessness that buoyed them to primary-time victories above Virginia Tech and Notre Dame the former two months.
Potentially it was the early Saturday afternoon begin perhaps it was a purely natural letdown. Possibly way, Miami at instances Saturday looked like the group that struggled to eke out wins towards North Carolina, Syracuse and Georgia Tech.
Virginia (6-5) transpires to be improved than all those a few educational institutions, a group that has knowledgeable its personal renaissance this time less than Bronco Mendenhall. The Cavaliers now are bowl-suitable and have a quarterback in Kurt Benkert who is able of generating large performs with his arm.
That is how the activity unfolded in the 1st half and by the early parts of the third quarter. Then, momentum shifted on 1 critical perform — Benkert threw his worst pass of the activity. Jaquan Johnson was there to intercept it, a 30-yard decide on-six that allowed Miami to arrive from powering to beat Virginia 44-28. Miami (11-) scored 30 unanswered points to complete the activity.
Miami stays undefeated headed into the common-time finale at Pitt following Friday, its College or university Soccer Playoff hopes fully intact. A reduction could have derailed them, even with an ACC championship activity victory above Clemson on Dec. 2.
That scenario could have become the matter of substantially debate. But in the conclusion, there was no have to have to discuss the likelihood following but a further win.
It wasn’t simple, but no one expected it to be irrespective of the betting line that favored Miami by 19½ points when the activity started. Virginia plainly qualified the weakest portion of the Miami defense, its secondary. With cleverly intended rollouts and rapid passes, Benkert threw 1 completion following a further — opening the activity with 12 straight.
At halftime, Benkert was 17-of-18 with a few landing passes, and Virginia experienced a 21-14 lead, sending anxious Miami enthusiasts into “here we go yet again” mode. Not only experienced Miami played close online games towards underdogs, Virginia experienced pulled several upsets in this series’ the latest history.
Then the third quarter started. Miami experienced a punt blocked and Benkert threw a 26-yard pass to Daniel Hamm to extend the lead to 28-14. The crowd within Challenging Rock Stadium looked on, pretty much silent. But a little something changed on the Miami sideline. Malik Rosier threw a 9-yard landing pass to Lawrence Cager, then Johnson scored on a decide on-six on the following possession.
Johnson has arrive to embody the turnover chain on defense, especially at critical moments in online games throughout the earlier thirty day period. Johnson is tied for the group lead with 5 takeaways this time, and that interception was a terribly needed momentum-changer as Benkert experienced been obtaining his way all working day with the Miami defense.
From there, Miami ended up with a 44-yard discipline intention from Michael Badgley and came up with a number of fourth-down stops on defense, bringing the crowd to its ft. Right after Trent Harris created his 2nd sack, Rosier and Travis Homer came up with large fourth-quarter landing runs.
It may not have been the excellent performance, but Miami does continue to be excellent. And at this phase in the time, what extra could anybody request?