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Virginia Tech 31, Miami 17: Hokies Clinch Coastal Division

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When the schedule came out and the Hokies were presented with a November gauntlet that included Georgia Tech and road games against North Carolina and Miami right in a row, there weren't many who thought Virginia Tech would go unbeaten in those games. I know I didn't.

But here we are, after three wins consecutive wins in November and nine consecutive wins overall and the Hokies have already clinched their spot in the ACC Championship Game even before their showdown with rival UVa. Tech's latest win was done in typical Tech fashion. By falling behind early and owning the fourth quarter to win somewhat comfortably.

When we look back on this season we'll be able to appreciate the resiliency of this team, both in the way they rebounded after their first two games and the way they rebounded in games against ECU, NC State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami.

But there is still plenty of work to be done before we can look back on how this team was able to accomplish what it has despite its youth and mistakes. Next week we have to (and I mean HAVE TO) crush UVa's soul and then the next week we have a date with either FSU or NC State in Charlotte.

Postgame Stream of Consciousness

  • Last week in this same space I said the Hokies couldn't afford to make the same mistakes they made against UNC and expect the Canes to turn the ball over five times like the Heels. Well, I was a little off. Miami turned the ball over six times Saturday, including four times in Virginia Tech territory according to the stats sheet.
  • Tyrod Taylor, after looking about as bad as he's looked all year in the first half against Miami, finished with a decent game. However, he still only completed half of his pass attempts, was sacked five times and lost a fumble. What happened to the Tyrod we saw in October? Well, he's facing a lot better defenses.
  • Also, the guys around him are struggling. The offensive line didn't pass block well against Miami's front seven and nearly all the wideouts are hurt. Marcus Davis went down after getting his bell rung on his only catch of the game and didn't return. That meant Xavier Boyce and Austin Fuller were promoted to the second team behind Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale.
  • Those receivers weren't able to get open, especially Boykin, who finished with no catches and was thrown to I think once. Coale stepped up and had four catches, including a huge 43-yard touchdown catch and run in the second half.
  • The good news for the Hokies is that Ryan Williams appears to be back to being Ryan Williams. He had his best game of the season and ripped off an impressive 84-yard touchdown run to put the Hokies up for good. Combined, VT ran for 251 yards.
  • The one thing I didn't get about our playcalling today was the insistence on giving the ball to David Wilson. It was apparent early that he still wasn't over his Mononucleosis and was a step or two slower than what we're used to. He finished with 10 carries and averaged 2.8 ypc.
  • And the defense. Things did not look good for about three quarters, but dammit, Bud Foster's group found a way to make plays. Six turnovers, including a big interception by Jayron Hosley after he struggled early. 
  • Hosley played boundary corner for much of the game after Rashad Carmichael went down early with an ankle injury. Once he got his feet under him, he turned into the Jayron we're used to seeing. Hopefully Rock will be back on the field against UVa, but if not I have confidence in Jayron to play boundary after his second half performance.
  • We still can't stop the run. No matter who we had in at linebacker, we just couldn't stop any of Miami's backs. The speedy Lamar Miller did the most damage, running for 163 of Miami's 262 (!) yards on the ground. Fortunately for the Hokies, cramps stopped Miller and Damien Berry missed more than half of the game with an injury.
  • At the end of the day, the Hokies made the stops they had to when they needed to and Miami's last three drives of the game ended with interceptions, similar to what happened last week. The Hokies haven't fixed any of the flaws we've seen all month, but somehow they just keep winning thanks to big games from the running backs and the ball-hawking secondary.
  • Here is SB Nation's coverage of the game.
  • Check The 7th Floor for Miami's POV on this game.