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November 05, 2012
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(BPRW) Defense Helps Lift Miami Hurricanes past Virginia Tech, 30-12

(BLACK PR WIRE) – The Miami Hurricanes took a big step toward the ACC Coastal Division Crown when they beat the Hokies of Virginia Tech, 30-12 before a nationally televised audience on Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium. Miami (5-4, 4-2 ACC) overcame a sluggish third quarter to score 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and stake a claim on top of the Coastal Division standings.

Miami QB Stephen Morris threw for two early touchdowns in the first quarter and with the Hurricane defense playing their best game of the year, those 14 points were enough to win their first game against Virginia Tech in four years.

Before this game, Miami’s young and inexperienced defensive line was pushed around in just about every game. But the return of junior DT Curtis Porter, who finally received the green light to play from team doctors, definitely energized the young defense. Porter, together with sophomore DT Olsen Pierre, finally got penetration into the Hokie’s offensive backfield and put pressure on Tech QB Logan Thomas, who threw two interceptions and lost one fumble.

When it counted the most, Miami’s defense shut out the Virginia Tech offense in the second half. The tide seemed to turn in the middle of the third quarter, when Virginia Tech had the ball on the Miami one yard line and down by only a score of 20-12. With a third down and goal, Virginia Tech QB Thomas fumbled the ball and Miami DT Luther Robinson recovered it, dashing once again the hopes of the Hokie offense to score. All in all, Virginia Tech could only register two field goals with the four chances they had inside Miami’s 20 yard line.

In the first quarter, Miami’s special teams came through with two big plays that allowed Miami to score two quick touchdowns on only 36 yards of offense. A blocked punt by Miami’s Gabe Terry, a freshman LB from Palm Beach Gardens, gave Miami the ball on the Tech 16 yard line. Two plays later, Morris connected with WR Allen Hurns for the first touchdown of the game.

After Virginia Tech kicked a 22 yard field goal with 2:14 left in the first quarter, Miami’s freshman standout Duke Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the Virginia Tech 19 yard line. Again, two plays later, Morris threw another 16 yard touchdown pass, this time to RB Mike James to make the score 14-3.

Johnson also had a big game rushing the ball gaining 100 yards on only 11 carries. His seven yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter sealed the victory for Miami. For the fourth game this season, Johnson generated over 200 yards of all purpose offense for Miami. It appears that the midseason turf toe injury, one that has noticeably slowed him down recently, has finally healed.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been all year. I’ve been taking treatments for the past month, month and a half and I’m feeling 100 percent now,” Johnson said after the game.

That’s good news for Hurricane fans as Miami travels this week to Charlottesville to play the Virginia Cavaliers in a crucial ACC Coastal matchup. Should Miami win at Virginia, they will then only have to beat Duke to guarantee their place in the ACC Championship game on December 1 in Charlotte, NC.

“It's critical,” Coach Al Golden said of Miami being all alone and on top of the ACC Coastal standings.

“I know everybody wants us to be national champions yesterday and get back to the BCS games and all that, but the reality of it is that the pathway to the BCS is through the Coastal…This game coming up against Virginia is critical. It's truly critical for us. We have to get focused, get right, and get back to work.”