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Recap: Canes Rally Not Enough

Recap: Canes Rally Not Enough

MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — A fake field goal. A halfback option for a touchdown. A 53-yard catch-and-run on a screen for a score, and 78-yard reception by a running back who slipped out wide for another.

Virginia got big plays in bunches Thursday night — and needed every one of them to beat Miami.

Michael Rocco passed for 226 yards and two scores, running back Perry Jones threw one touchdown pass and caught another, and the Cavaliers held off Miami 28-21 to snap a seven-game Atlantic Coast Conference road losing streak.

“All that matters is the people who believed in this team,” Virginia coach Mike London said.

On a night where the explosive play carried the Cavaliers, simple, gritty football saved the day. LaRoy Reynolds stopped Miami’s Mike James in the backfield on fourth-and-2 at the Virginia 15 with 2:10 remaining, and the Cavaliers (5-3, 2-2) held on from there.

Jacory Harris completed 21 of 30 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns for Miami (4-4, 2-3), which saw its two-game winning streak snapped and saw its chances in the Coastal Division take a huge hit. Tommy Streeter caught seven of Harris’ passes for a career-best 176 yards and two touchdowns for the Hurricanes.

“I’m tired of doing this,” Harris said. “Tired of always having to do a comeback victory. We’re always putting ourselves in bad situations. We’ve got to come out and do better.”

Kevin Parks ran for a game-high 85 yards for Virginia, which hadn’t won on the road in ACC play since beating Maryland on Oct. 17, 2009. Rocco went the whole way at quarterback, the first time this season Virginia scrapped the two-player system under center.

“It’s my job to get (receivers) the ball and kind of control the game,” Rocco said. “And I feel like we did a great job of that tonight.”

Miami took over with 7:12 left, needing a touchdown to tie, and went 37 yards in nine plays. Reynolds got past the Miami line and wrapped up James on the game’s biggest play, and the Hurricanes didn’t get the ball back until 25 seconds remained after a Virginia punt.

And for Miami, it was a little bit of deja vu. In all four losses this season, the Hurricanes had chances in the fourth quarter — all those defeats coming in one-possession games, where one failed play made the difference.

“We can’t have the penalties and the mental breakdowns that we did,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “We weren’t sharp and we didn’t execute as well as we needed to and that starts with me, period.”

Still, the Hurricanes nearly tied it with 9 seconds left, Harris looking for Streeter in the end zone, a 45-yard pass that was barely tipped away — and had Harris going to the sideline in pain after the play. Stephen Morris came into the game and got Miami to the 32 with 4 seconds left, then scrambled and found Eduardo Clements inside the Virginia 10 as time expired.

“Faith, family and football,” London said. “Those are the things. … It’s a great win. Road victory against a really good team.”

Harris said he was fine after the game, declining to say much in the way of specifics about what ailed him in the final moments. Golden said his quarterback has been aching for the past couple weeks.

Virginia’s first score came on a play that seemed harmless at first — a quick throw from Rocco to Darius Jennings, who caught the ball in the flat about four yards behind the line of scrimmage.

He made the rest look easy.

With plenty of downfield blockers, Jennings took off on what became a 53-yard touchdown play, the first in the big-play barrage by the Cavaliers, who went deep into their bag of tricks while running out to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.

A fake field goal — holder Jacob Hodges fielded the snap, then got up and ran 20 yards — set up a 22-yard kick by Robert Randolph later in the drive that put the Cavaliers up 10-0.

“It set the stage from a momentum standpoint,” London said.

Stats |Notes | Videos

  1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
Miami 0 7 7 7 21
UVA 7 14 3 8 28

Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 21 20
Rushing 1st Downs 10 6
Passing 1st Downs 9 13
Net Yards Rushing 207 85
Rushing Attempts 42 28
Avg Per Rush 4.9 3.0
Rushing TDs 0 0
Net Yards Passing 263 347
Cmp-Att-Int 12-21-0 23-32-0
Avg Per Attempt 12.5 10.8
Avg Per Completition 21.9 15.1
Passing TDs 3 3

Individual Stat Leaders
Passing Leaders
  Cmp-Att-Int Yds TD Lng
J. Harris 21-30-0 311 3 57
M. Rocco 11-20-0 226 2 78

Rushing Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Avg
  L. Miller 16 70 0 4.4
  J. Harris 6 22 0 19
  K. Parks 16 85 0 5.3
  P. Jones 12 67 0 5.6

Receiving Leaders
Miami No Yds TD Lng
  T. Streeter 7 176 2 57
  T. Benjamin 4 68 0 39
  T. Smith 3 55 1 37
  K. Burd 3 33 0 15

And with 4:15 left until halftime, Jones’ first career throw became one he’ll likely never forget.

Miami handled Georgia Tech’s countless tries at misdirection almost perfectly last weekend. When Rocco tried it, the Hurricanes made a costly mistake. Rocco faked a handoff before pitching to Jones, who rolled to his right and passed to Tim Smith for a 37-yard score and a 17-point lead for the Cavaliers.

Virginia’s second touchdown drive was set up by a bit of Miami misfortune. Harris had the ball slip out of his hand at the Virginia 15, the fumble being recovered by the Cavaliers’ Jake Snyder.

Harris atoned on the next Miami possession.

A 20-yard pass to Streeter on third-and-11, followed quickly by a 39-yard throw to Travis Benjamin got Miami down to the Virginia 3. He and Streeter — old high school teammates from Miami Northwestern — did the rest, Streeter stretching high to haul in a fade for a touchdown that got the Hurricanes on the scoreboard with 35 seconds left until halftime.

“Just relax,” Golden said at halftime. “It’s a long game.”

Down 20-7 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, it looked like long odds for Miami as well. That’s when Streeter went over two Virginia defenders for a 51-yard touchdown catch, getting the Hurricanes within 20-14.

Right on cue, Virginia came back with yet another big play — Jones slipping out wide, then darting back into the middle and catching a short pass that turned into a 78-yard touchdown from Rocco that put the Cavaliers up by 14 with 14:08 left.

“It’s a great feeling,” Jones said. “We did what we came here to do. … It’s a big win, especially against these guys.”


Sean Spence Denzel Perryman
Jimmy Gaines Tommy Streeter
Jacory Harris  

Final Notes

Jacory Harris, Tyler Horn, JoJo Nicolas, Sean Spence and Travis Benjamin

Miami’s offensive starters today were:
WR Tommy Streeter, LT Brandon Washington, LG Harland Gunn, C Tyler Horn, RG Brandon Linder, RT Malcolm Bunche, TE Dyron Dye, WR Travis Benjamin, QB Jacory Harris, WR Allen Hurns, HB Lamar Miller.
Starting for Miami on defense were:
DE Anthony Chickillo, DT Adewale Ojomo, DT Darius Smith, DE Marcus Robinson, SLB Jordan Futch, MLB James Gaines, WLB Sean Spence, CB Mike Williams, SS JoJo Nicolas, FS Vaughn Telemaque, CB Brandon McGee.

Al Golden is in his first year as Miami’s head coach and owns an overall record of 31-38.

The weather at kickoff was 80 degrees under partly cloudy skies with winds out of the east at eight miles per hour.

Attendance at the game was 40,403.

Junior wide receiver Tommy Streeter moved into the record book with 176 receiving yards in the game, good enough for ninth in the record book. See below for the Top 10 Hurricanes in receiving yards in a game.
1. Eddie Brown – 1984 vs. Boston College, 10 Rec., 220 Yards
2. Wesley Carroll – 1990 vs. California, 11 Rec., 208 Yards
3. Andre Johnson – 2002 vs. Nebraska, 7 Rec., 199 Yards
4. Michael Irvin – 1986 vs. East Carolina, 8 Rec., 194 Yards
5. Andre Johnson – 2002 vs. Virginia Tech, 6 Rec., 193 Yards
6. Joe Schmidt – 1969 vs. Houston, 5 Rec., 186 Yards
7. Andre Johnson – 2002 at Syracuse, 6 Rec., 181 Yards
8. Santana Moss – 1999 vs. Florida State, 9 Rec., 180 Yards
9. Tommy Streeter – 2011 vs. Virginia, 7 Rec., 176 Yards
10. Yatil Green – 1995 vs. Virginia Tech, 8 Rec., 171 Yards

Against Virginia, QB Jacory Harris surpassed Gino Torretta (7,690 yards) to rank second among Hurricane quarterbacks in career passing yards. Harris entered the game with 7,584 yards, then gained 311 yards against the Cavaliers to move into second, behind the 9,565 yards by Ken Dorsey from 1999-2002.
1. Ken Dorsey, 9,565 yards, 1999-2002
2. Jacory Harris, 7,895 yards, 2008-11
3. Gino Torretta, 7,690 yards, 1989-92

Miami’s leading tackler Sean Spence once again led the Canes in tackles with 10 tackles, six of which were solo. The Miami native ranks 10th nationally in tackles per game and seventh in tackles for loss. Spence has been named the ACC Linebacker of the Week each of the last three weeks and on three occasions has been recognized as the College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention Linebacker of the Week.

Streeter continues to be a lightning rod for the Miami offense. Entering the game, the Miami native ranked fifth nationally with a 20.4 yards per reception average. Of Streeter’s 28 receptions on the season, 12 have gone for 25-yards or more, including catches of 57, 51 and 26 yards against Virginia. The 6-5 speedster also has seven TD receptions on the season, leading the team.

Streeter collected 112 yards on five receptions and one TD in the first half for his first-career 100-yard receiving game. Streeter’s previous game-high was 96 yards last week against Georgia Tech. Streeter ended the game with seven catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns, tying his career-high in TDs in a game. The last time he had a pair of TD receptions was against Bethune-Cookman earlier this season.

Streeter has made his mark with 12 big plays this season, including his career-long 57-yard reception against Virginia. Tonight is the fourth time this season, and the third-straight game, that Streeter has had two or more big plays in a single game. The first-quarter reception was Streeter’s longest big play of the year, passing his 56-yard TD against Bethune-Cookman. See the chart below of Streeter’s big plays (25+ yards) of 2011.
Harris to Streeter, Virginia, 57 yards
Harris to Streeter, Bethune-Cookman, 56 yards
Harris to Streeter, Virginia, 51 yards
Harris to Streeter, Georgia Tech, 48 yards
Harris to Streeter, Georgia Tech, 32 yards
Harris to Streeter, Ohio State, 29 yards
Harris to Streeter, North Carolina, 28 yards
Harris to Streeter, Bethune-Cookman, 27 yards
Harris to Streeter, North Carolina, 27 yards
Harris to Streeter, Virginia, 26 yards
Harris to Streeter, Virginia Tech, 26 yards
Harris to Streeter, North Carolina, 25 yards

Senior WR Travis Benjamin collected 130 yards on four kick returns, passing the century mark for the second time in his career. The first time was on Oct. 4, 2008 against Florida State when he racked up 185 yards on six returns.

Freshman LB Denzel Perryman has collected at least five tackles in his last five games after starting the season with three-straight games with three tackles. Perryman made seven tackles vs. Virginia, seven vs. Georgia Tech, five at North Carolina, six at Virginia Tech and seven against Bethune-Cookman.

The Canes are 196-98-8 all-time during the month of October.

Junior DB Davon Johnson returned the opening kickoff 24 yards, his first-career kickoff return.

R-So. Dalton Botts’ first punt of the game was 58 yards, tying his career-long which he has done twice this season. The first time was against Ohio State earlier this season.

Miami recorded 311 passing yards against the Cavaliers, who, entering the game, possessed one of the nation’s most potent pass defenses allowing only 176 yards per game through the air, ranking 12th nationally.

Quotes for Virginia Coach Mike London

On team needing to find offensive identity…
I think when you have an opportunity to run the ball like that and run with authority that you always want to find what your identity is. Sometimes through game planning you look at things, you’re like ‘a certain pass might work here,’ but to get back to the true identity of who you are even if there is a down safety or you’re strutting of the edge, the mentality is we just have got to block it and the backs have to make that guy miss. Keep that type of mentality going. I think they kind of copied what NC State was doing last week with the extra man coming off the edge and chasing guys down from behind. That made us get after it and practice and look at how we can block things better, how the running backs can see the holes better. I thought today we got the type of game plan we practice for, basically and I was pleased that when it counted, when it mattered the ground game got us going.

On the touchdown Perry Jones threw…
We always practice a number of trick plays but when you practice those plays you try to use them conducive to what the other team does. We said before that Miami was a very fast, run-to-the-ball team and a lot of times if you can get that first initial reaction with pursuit, whether they’re coming up or the corners are involved in the run, we thought that we could fake that we were going to run a toss with Perry and Perry slowed down as he was going to stop block and then he took off. Perry made that throw all week in practice but there’s other things that you have and you plan for and that was one of the plays that we thought could work based on how aggressive they were.

On Roy…
When you read it on a playbook the line goes straight. Teams are allowed to run passes, run blocks and do different things and you have to learn how to take those blocks and learn how to maneuver and I think perhaps Roy would run a straight line and whatever happened, happened. But I think his development this year is not only does he run the straight line hard but he can react to his own run.

On passes to Jennings…
With Matt Snyder being out, Darrius kind of took that spot along with a couple other guys as far as route running was concerned. That’s how that worked out. Whatever covers your end, we throw the spots and he happened to be in a couple of spots that the ball was thrown to.

On Lamar Miller
He’s an excellent running back. We always try to find the one that is on the other team. Obviously they had a bunch of them, a bunch of them with the quarterback, Miller, Benjamin, Streeter, a couple of offensive linemen. We thought we had to stop the run for sure, that was the main focal point of game plan this week. Make them throw the ball. They threw the ball and made some great catches but the guys did a great job defending the things that were giving us problems, and making plays in those situations. That last play guys scrambled all over the place. It’s amazing. I’m just really happy for the team right now.

Quotes for Virginia Players

Quarterback Michael Rocco
On pulling out the close victory…
It’s the resilience of our team. We bend but don’t break. We came out here and got a great victory. It was a complete team effort. The coaching staff did a great job of putting a game plan together in a short week and we carried it out to a T. It was a great team effort and we did a great job of executing.

On the bounce back win after last week’s loss…
We had complete confidence that we were come out and do this thing. We did it and we did it in crazy fashion with that last play. We got the job done and we give credit to our coaches for putting the game plan together.

Linebacker Steve Greer
On the improvement of the run defense…
We worked really hard on it all summer, getting the run fits right. If you watched the film last year and it was not a matter of guys not being physical, it was a matter of technique and assignments. We have improved on those areas and it has showed up in games.

On the fourth down stop…
Towards the end I think they were trying to pick up their run game and get that part of their game back. The coaches planned that they were going to run the ball. It was a great call by Coach (Jim) Reid and the coaches.

On the win on national television…
It is awesome. You want to come out and show what you can do.

Running Back Perry Jones
On the halfback pass for a touchdown…
We have had it in for numerous weeks. I have been talking to (Coach Bill) Lazor during the previous games and he said he would call it when it was right. Going into this game, he said that we were going to run it no matter what. He was just looking for the right time to call it.

On the 78-yard touchdown catch…
We have been working on that since training camp. Me and Rocco have been talking about it that if a linebacker comes out to cover me one on one, be ready to get the ball. He looked for me to beat him and I think I did that.