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Hokies get Back on Track Against Miami

By Carlos Pineda
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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.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — As the rain came down, 14th-ranked Miami's hopes of playing for its first ACC championship took a major hit.

Once in control of their own destiny, the Hurricanes (7-2, 3-2 ACC) are now one of four teams with two losses in the Coastal Division after a 42-24 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

Miami seized control early with an 81-yard Stephen Morris touchdown pass to freshman receiver Stacy Coley but special team errors put UM in a big hole early as it surrendered 21 points off of those mistakes in the first half and trailed 28-14 at the break.

"You can't spot them 21 points like that," Miami coach Al Golden said.

With star running back Duke Johnson out for the season, the Hurricanes' anemic offense needed any help it could get. They got a spark from Coley, who sprinted past defenders to give Miami a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game. But after forcing the Hokies (7-3, 4-2) to punt on their first two drives, Coley along with cornerback Artie Burns fumbled a punt return and kickoff return near midfield where Virginia Tech scored on consecutive five-play drives to take a 14-7 lead. In the second quarter Miami punter Pat O'Donnell was ruled down on the UM 17 and resulted in a third Hokie touchdown.

"Just inexcusable," Golden said of the problems on special teams. "At the end of the day, we executed the punt return and kickoff return exactly what we wanted...and we fumbled both of them.

Running back Trey Edmunds scored the first three touchdowns for Virginia Tech and finished with four on the night. He rushed for 74 yards on 14 carries and the Hokies rushed for 183 yards. Quarterback Logan Thomas avoided turning the ball over and completed 25 of 31 attempts for 366 yards and two touchdowns. Virginia Tech was turnover-prone during its two-game losing skid — eight, in fact. But took advantage of every Miami problem to get a win.

"I thought we did a great job of keeping it mixed up," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "I thought we kept changing formations and I think we got them on their heels a little bit."

Miami's offensive struggles this season were more evident in this game without the injured Johnson. UM rushed for 28 yards on 24 attempts and converted only three third downs on 12 attempts. The offense looked very flat and Morris, despite passing for over 300 yards and not turning over the ball, continued to have trouble passing the ball.

The Hurricanes travel to Durham next week, where they desperately need a win to remain in the Coastal hunt and to snap a two-game losing streak.

"It's something that we have to overcome," defensive end Shayon Green said. "We have to get in Monday morning and fix it."

Carlos Pineda - Carlos Pineda is a featured writer for Southern Pigskin. He covered the UCF Knights football team for Florida Today in 2010. Carlos' work has been published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Business Journal. He attended the University of Central Florida. Follow Carlos on Twitter @CarlosFPineda.