Hurricanes Comeback Falls Short; Virginia Beats Miami

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The Hurricanes fell to 4-4 on the season Thursday night, and hopes for an ACC Coastal Division crown took a nose dive with the 28-21 loss to Virginia. The Canes fell to 2-3 in the ACC.

Miami started slow on both sides of the ball, but managed a last minute touchdown at the half for the second week in a row. Last week they extended their lead over Georgia Tech 21-7 before halftime; this time they narrowed Virginia’s lead 17-7.

Miami has real scoring power. It’s nice to see them use it. Now if only they could keep it going for a full four quarters. On their first five possessions, the Canes punted twice, missed a field goal, and fumbled. Not exactly the start Miami was looking for after a couple solid starts against North Carolina and Georgia Tech. They eventually got things moving in the second half with late third and early fourth quarter touchdowns.

The defense, meanwhile, had loads of trouble stopping the Cavaliers. They allowed 205 yards on the ground, and Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco threw for 226 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks averaged 5.5 and 5.6 yards per carry, respectively. Miami defenders struggled to get off blocks most of the night as Virginia won the battle up front.

The Cavs won the battle at the line of scrimmage on the other side of the ball, too. They held Miami to just 86 yards rushing, and Lamar Miller to 70 yards on 16 carries. Miller was stymied early, carried four times for four yards in the first, and seven times for 13 yards in the first half. Miller started to find some rhythm late in the game, but after Miami failed to pick up a fourth-and-1 in the red zone with a little over two minutes to go, the rhythm on the ground didn’t help much.

Hope remained as defense forced a punt to give Miami the ball back with under half a minute left. Quarterback Jacory Harris made a good decision to tuck it and run for 20 yards into Cavaliers territory on the first play of the final drive. He was injured the next play, though, and Stephen Morris came in for the final two plays. He moved a little closer with a completion to Travis Benjamin down to the Virginia 32, but the final play, a pass to Eduardo Clements, came up short at the nine-yard line as time expired.

Expect a few calls for Morris to see playing time based on his two plays, but the truth is that Harris played pretty well. He fumbled twice, losing one, but he’s making the right decisions and doing a good job of spreading the ball around. He hit eight different receivers Thursday night, and overall nine Hurricanes caught a pass with Clements’s final reception. Harris finished with 311 yards and three touchdown passes on 21-of-29 passing; he plans to play against Duke. He was productive, but he wasn’t the Hurricanes’ MVP.

America, meet Tommy Streeter.

The senior receiver caught 7 passes for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns Thursday night. He is having a breakout year for the Canes. He leads the team with 604 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions. He is second on the team with 28 receptions behind Benjamin (30). He has been a reliable target this year, as well as a big-time playmaker. He has 12 receptions of 25 yards or more this year. He beat two Virginia defenders on his a 51-yard touchdown reception, positioning himself to make the play.

Virginia is 3-2 in the ACC with a win over Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-2). They have yet to play Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1). If Virginia wins out, they’re Coastal Division champs. They face Maryland (2-5, 1-3) November 5 in College Park. Miami will face Duke (3-4, 1-2) on November 5 in Miami.