MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Virginia Tech tailback Trey Edmunds ran for four touchdowns and quarterback Logan Thomas threw for 366 yards as the Hokies racked up a season-high 549 yards of offense in knocking off the No. 14 Miami Hurricanes 42-24 at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday night.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Tech, which moved to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. Miami, which lost to the Hokies for the fourth time in the past five meetings between the two teams, fell to 7-2 overall, 3-2 in the ACC.
The Hokies also got a big road win over a ranked opponent. The last time Tech beat a top-15 team was in 2009 when it beat Miami 31-7 at Lane Stadium. The last time the Hokies beat a top-15 team on the road was in 2006 when it knocked off No. 14 Wake Forest 27-6 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“I’m proud of our players and proud of our coaches,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks here, but it’s so good to see kids hang in there and keep fighting and keep playing. They were relentless, and then come down here and play a great football game … I thought Logan was fantastic, and we ran the ball. We had some holes to run.
“It was one of the more solid offensive performances we’ve had in a while, and defensively, I thought we played well. We had a couple of long plays, but after that, I thought we got after their running game pretty well.
“I’m proud of our football team. This is a great win for us – against a good team.”
Tech’s offense did it all after a season in which it has struggled for consistency. Thomas completed 25 of 31, including two for touchdowns, and Edmunds and J.C. Coleman combined for 142 yards rushing. Perhaps more importantly, the Hokies did not turn the ball over after turning it over eight times combined in the previous two games – losses at home to Duke and on the road at Boston College.
The Hokies trailed 7-0 less than four minutes into the game when Miami quarterback Stephen Morris connected on a short pass to Stacy Coley, who managed to go 81 yards for a touchdown. But the Hokies took advantage of two Miami fumbles on special teams and another Hurricane special teams mistake to grab the lead and never look back.
The first Miami turnover came when Tech punter A.J. Hughes nailed Coley, Miami’s punt returner, on a return, causing him to fumble, and the Hokies’ Tariq Edwards recovered at the Tech 46. The Hokies took advantage when Edmunds scored his first touchdown, a 10-yard run with 7:37 left in the first quarter to tie the game at 7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tech’s Derek DiNardo stripped Miami returner Artie Burns of the football, and DiNardo himself recovered at the Tech 49. A five-play drive ended when Edmunds bulled his way in from 2 yards out to give the Hokies a 14-7 lead with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
The ’Canes’ third mistake on special teams came early in the second quarter. Miami punter Pat O’Donnell fell to a knee to field a low snap, and the officials ruled him down at the Miami 17, giving the Hokies the ball at that spot. That mistake led a 4-yard touchdown run by Edmunds with 13:01 left in the half to give the Hokies a 21-7 lead.
Miami’s mistakes sparked a Tech offensive onslaught. The Hokies took a 28-14 lead into halftime after Thomas completed a short pass to Josh Stanford, who broke two tackles and got a great block from Willie Burn for a 32-yard touchdown. Tech then added to the lead in the third quarter when Demitri Knowles pounced on a Byrn fumble in the end zone for a touchdown that made the score 35-17.
For a team that hadn’t seen much go its way in the past two weeks, the Hokies were certainly grateful.
“If you stay in this game long enough, they’re going to bounce against you some and bounce for you some,” Beamer said. “A couple bounced for us [Saturday tonight], but I also thought it was great effort to get there. If you don’t have great effort, it doesn’t matter if the ball bounces our way or not.”
Late in the third quarter, Miami cut the lead to 35-24 after an 84-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Allen Hurns, but Tech responded with a 75-yard drive that ended with an Edmunds’ 1-yard touchdown run with 11:32 left in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Tech’s defense forced a three-and-out of the ’Canes, and the Hokies’ offense took over at its 20. Tech then went on a 16-play march that chewed more than nine minutes off the clock. The drive ended when Tech went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Miami 3 and didn’t get it, but the damage had been done, as Miami wasn’t going to rally from an 18-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining.
“I thought we did a good job of mixing it up,” Beamer said. “I thought we did a good job of motioning. I thought we kept changing formations and got them on their heels a little bit. Then, I thought we ran the ball really hard. I thought our running backs really stuck it in there, but they had a little hole. We got a little something going. We got some great catches. We had some great effort. It was just our night.”
Tech ran for a season-high 183 yards, getting 74 yards on 14 carries from Edmunds. Coleman rushed for 68 yards on 22 carries, and Thomas finished with 42 yards rushing.
“We had to get it going,” Edmunds said of the running game. “This wasn’t a game where you maybe could get the running game going or maybe not, maybe things would go our way, maybe not. We knew we had to do it, and we did it. It was just hat on hat all night. It was just tough, physical downhill running.”
Stanford caught seven passes for 107 yards – his second consecutive 100-yard game – and Byrn caught six passes for 105 yards to pace Tech’s receivers. The last time Tech had two receivers go over the century mark was in 2010 when Dyrell Roberts (134) and Danny Coale (103) did it against Wake Forest.
Thomas became the school’s all-time leader in career touchdown passes with the two scoring tosses, giving him 50 for his career. He also became the first quarterback under Beamer to throw for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games
“It feels great,” Thomas said. “Didn’t turn the ball over like the past couple of weeks or it else would have been the same outcome those times [as it was with the Miami game]. I’m just thrilled with the way we played offensively. We were able to run the ball. We were able to throw the ball. We did a great job after the catch. The offensive line did a great job. I’m extremely proud of everybody.”
Lost in the offensive fireworks was the play of Tech’s defense, which held Miami to just 28 yards rushing and sacked Morris three times. The ’Canes finished with 352 yards, but almost half of that came on the two big pass plays. Morris threw for 324 yards to lead Miami’s offense.
Tech now returns home to Blacksburg for its final home game of the season. The Hokies take on Maryland next Saturday, with the kickoff slated for 12:30 p.m.
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