'Canes hand Tech first loss of the season
By Jimmy Robertson
November 6, 2005

BLACKSBURG - Miami quarterback Kyle Wright threw a touchdown pass, kicker Jon Peattie hit two field goals and the 'Canes defense forced six turnovers - four on consecutive possessions in the second half - as No. 5-ranked Miami knocked off No. 3-ranked Virginia Tech 27-7 in an ACC game played in front of 65,115 fans at Lane Stadium on Saturday night.

The loss marked the Hokies' worst at home since Miami beat them 43-23 in 1992. With the loss, Tech fell to 8-1 overall on the season, 5-1 in the ACC. The Hokies, who lost for just the second time in ACC play since joining the league, saw their 11-game ACC winning streak and their 16-game regular-season winning streak come to an end as well.

Miami, meanwhile, improved to 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the ACC, and the 'Canes now control their own destiny within the Coastal Division. If Miami wins out, it wins the division and advances to the ACC championship game in Jacksonville on Dec. 3rd.

Only a 2-yard touchdown run by Tech quarterback Marcus Vick with around eight minutes left in the game kept the Hokies' scoring streak intact. Tech has now scored in 131 straight games, dating back to the 1995 season.

"You have to give Miami credit," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "They were well-prepared, and I thought their quarterback played excellent. I thought they did a good job of not turning the ball over. I thought they played great.

"For whatever reason, whether it was us or them, we just weren't hitting on all cylinders. We couldn't quite get there. I thought our effort was good, but we just couldn't quite get in sync."

Miami won by shutting down Tech's offense. Vick suffered his worst game as a collegian, throwing two interceptions and fumbling four times. In all, Tech's turnovers led to 17 Miami points.

Vick, who completed just 8-of-22 for 90 yards, fumbled on the Hokies' first three possessions of the second half and threw an interception on the fourth. Miami scored off Vick's first fumble of the half on a 9-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Wright to receiver Darnell Jenkins to take a 20-0 lead.

Vick's second fumble came in the Tech end zone on the Hokies' ensuing possession when he coughed it up under duress from Miami's Kareem Brown. Brown jarred the ball loose and recovered it in the end zone to give Miami a 27-0 lead.

Vick, who went into the game ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency, hadn't lost a fumble all season going into the game.

"The one fumble, that was off the side of my hand, and I'll have to work with the center to make sure that doesn't happen again," Vick said. "The others were just a matter of ball security. Obviously, I've got to work on that."

"He had a lot of people back there with him at times, and we probably didn't get it protected the way we should have," Beamer said. "I think there's a lot we can learn from in this game. In a situation like this, I don't try to find blame. I try to find causes.

"We were a good football team coming into this ball game and we're a good team coming out. We just got beat by a team that played great tonight."

The 'Canes got on the board first in this one thanks to a Vick fumble forced by Miami defensive end Thomas Carroll midway through the first quarter. Rocky McIntosh recovered at the Tech 29, and that led to a 27-yard field goal by Peattie with 8:40 left in the first quarter.

Miami added to its lead in the second quarter, using a 17-play march that was aided by some fine execution on third down and a gutsy call on fourth down. The 'Canes marched 82 yards, converting on three third-down situations. Miami's Quadtrine Hill got to the Tech 1 on third-and-goal, setting up a fourth-down situation.

Miami called a timeout and head coach Larry Coker elected to go for it. Charlie Jones barreled in from a yard out for the touchdown. Peattie's extra point gave the 'Canes a 10-0 lead with 9:49 left in the first half and that's how the first half ended.

Wright, a sophomore from California, missed a couple of series in the game after suffering a mild concussion. But he ended up completing 13-of-22 for 146 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Miami also got 97 yards rushing from Charlie Jones, who filled in for Tyrone Moss. Moss suffered a sprained knee early in the game and never returned.

Tech's rushing attack amassed just 77 yards. Branden Ore led the way with 35 yards on four carries.

"We'll bounce back," Tech defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis said. "We've done it before. We've lost tough games before and bounced back. It's all in the character of the people on this team. If we play like we can and stay together, we'll bounce back."

The Hokies will be off next weekend before heading to Charlottesville the following weekend to take on in-state rival UVa, Tech won 24-10 in Blacksburg last season, but lost in its last trip to Charlottesville, falling 35-21. The kickoff time and television status have yet to be determined.