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Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Miami Hurricanes: 17-14 Miami at the Half

The game is proceeding with two struggling squads in a dog fight as both work to find some advantage. Hokie miscues and Miami persistence at running and staying under the zone have set the table for another fade.

Some good news for a change
John Schneider - SB Nation

Hokies opened up with a two running play limp in, after losing the toss and having to return a short kick. Then something happened and there was a sudden realization that the ball needed to come out. After a convincing conversion of 3rd and 6 or so, the Hokies didn’t run the ball again. Hazelton grabbed one, then Tre Turner took off up the seam for a huge chunk. The reverse roll screen flip to Keene sealed a touchdown for the Hokies.

The ensuing kickoff sailed out of the end zone for the Hurricanes who drove the field on several third and long situations, aided by a questionable defensive holding call, but stalled out on their 31 to have to kick the Field goal.

Tech stalled out after a couple of hopeful first downs, only have three plays evaporate with few opportunities to ether run or pass. The Bradburn punt landed the Hurricanes on their 15. The defense was back on and going to be challenged. Dax Hollified rose to the challenge with a critical sack on 2nd and a QB hurry on 3rd.

Hokies stalled their next drive with little or no quality plays. There were two slants to the left flowed by a pass to Phil Patterson who was running a pattern that was too close to back stick. The punt was a weird rugby style squibber that hit a Miami player and wasn’t close enough to anyone in maroon to count for more than a squib punt. Tech gave up a first down and then Dax Hollified stuffed a run on 3rd and short to force 4th and a bit longer as the quarter ended.

It didn’t take long for Tech to cough it up. The Miami punt ended up on the Tech 19, with a seriously egregious defensive holding call completely ignored by the refs, the very next play was a poorly read pass right into the arms of a Miami player who returned the ball to the 4 for a TD setup. The next play capped the embarrassment.

Tech took the ball on the 25 after an emphatic Miami kickoff into the end zone. The Hokies showed some life with a nice wheel to Keene. Willis was sacked though, as there was a potential targeting that would have been called against Tech that was not called. And Ryan Willis proves that he wants to win this football game by gaining 23 yards. Followed up by a lame sweep. Followed by a convincing set of play that resulted in a first down in the red zone. At which point Tre Turner finally scored that touchdown. On a jet-sweep that he cut up inside a stout block. 14-10 Hokies

The Miami return drive sputtered and wheezed to the Miami 45 and then stalled. The punt was pretty deep at 50 yards, and no return. Hokies take over at their own 7 and needed to drive the ball again. The next four plays were mostly Tech running off the right side to get out of the hole to the 20 aided by an offside called on Miami. But two tanked plays for a total of 3 yards and an incomplete pass to Damon Hazelton (which was a catch over turned on review) gave the ball back to Miami. Who then sneaked up to a 3rd and 1 and promptly stopped by Dax Hollifield and Rayshard Ashby.

The Miami 36 yard punt resulted in a non-flip of the field position. But Tech responded to the stop with a pass at the line of scrimmage for -1 yards… The next attempt at the in route to Phil Patterson was well defended and fell incomplete. Then a double covered Keene couldn’t handle the pass for the attempt at converting the 3rd. Bradburn put the ‘Canes on their 30 with a 49 yard punt.

Miami’s opening play was a clean 13 yard slant route. Miami suddenly was attacking with the pass under the zone. Miami’s receiver Mallory took an awkward hit on the 2nd down and 4 incompletion.

A well blocked flare to the left resulted in a 1st for Miami. And was followed by a flare to the right for another 1st down and 14 yards. Miami’s running back Travis Homer followed up with two first down runs at more than 10 yards each. Then a 9 yarder that resulted in a break and an eventual touchdown. Tech’s defense just cannot find the ball and rallies to the wrong place, leaving the runner open and only covered in a zone configuration with plenty of room.

Tech had no answer with 33 seconds left on the clock so it just tanked a 3 yard run at the line of scrimmage and went in for the half.

The Hokies were stopping the run, until they didn’t anymore. Miami threw underneath the zone, and did a good job of blocking on swings and flares. Then Travis Homer took over and just like last week with Pitt, the Hokie defense started to fade.

Miami gets the ball first in the 2nd half. Someone better get some heads and energy back in the game or it’s going to repeat last week’s slide. On the offensive side we degenerated back into the confused and ineffective as Willis began to have difficulty reading coverage, and hitting receivers. A couple of critical drops and missed patterns later and Tech’s offense had stalled at 14.

Both sides of the ball need to get a handle on what’s going on. Miami is adjusting and we aren’t. Hokies need to find a sense of urgency and an answer for the offensive stalls. Ineffective play calling is matched by disappointing execution.

Off season looms.