Miami Hurricanes big second half keys win over Virginia


The Miami Hurricanes overcame two 14 point deficits and scored the last 30 points of the game to defeat the Virginia Cavaliers 44-28.

The Cavaliers got off to a hot start. Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert completed 17 of his 18 passing attempts in the first half with three touchdown passes. Virginia scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives of the game to take a 14-0 lead.

Miami’s offense struggled early. Malik Rosier threw an interception on the first drive and the Hurricanes had to punt after four plays on the next drive. Miami was able to get back in the game when they recovered a failed Virginia onside kick. That gave the Hurricanes the ball at the UVA 45 yard line.

The Hurricanes went 40 yards in five plays. The drive culminated with Malik Rosier to Ahmmon Richards eight-yard touchdown pass.

The teams exchanged punts on the next two drives. The Hurricanes came up with another big play. Travis Homer recovered a muffed Virginia punt. That gave UM the ball at the Virginia 36 yard line.

Mark Richt chose to go up top on the first play from scrimmage after the turnover. Rosier connected with Dayall Harris for a 36-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14.

The Cavaliers would go back on top with a six-play, 81-yard drive to regain the lead shortly before halftime. Benkert connected with Andre Levrone 33 yards for a touchdown.

The second half could not have started any worse for the Hurricanes. Virginia blocked a Miami punt on the first drive of the half. Two plays later Benkert connected with Daniel Hamm 26 yards for a touchdown for Benkert’s fourth touchdown pass of the game. That would be the Cavaliers last score.

Virginia managed only 91 yards the remainder of the game. A seven-second span of the third quarter turned the game around. The Hurricanes scored on their next drive following the UVA touchdown.

Miami went 63 yards in seven plays. Rosier threw nine yards to Lawrence Cager on first and goal from the Cavalier nine to get within seven. On the first play after the touchdown, Miami safety Jaquan Johnson jumped the route and returned the interception 30 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

That play energized the crowd and the Hurricanes didn’t look back. A Michael Badgley field goal gave Miami the lead after a poor Virginia punt gave the Hurricanes the ball at the UVA 35 yard line. Fourth quarter touchdown runs by Rosier and Homer put the game away for Miami.

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  • The Hurricanes sacked Benkert five times and had three turnovers. The Hurricanes have now forced 19 turnovers in their last five games. If they had forced one more, UM would have become the first team in college football history with five straight games with at least four turnovers.

    Rosier had another good all-around game. He finished 15-28 for 210 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added 38 yards rushing on nine carries with another touchdown.

    Homer finished with 96 yards on 17 carries with the touchdown. He was exceptional in the second half after being held to six yards on five carries before halftime.

    Ahmmon Richards had one of his best games of the season. He finished with four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown.

    In addition to the three turnovers, the Miami Hurricanes defense had 11 tackles for loss and five sacks. R.J. McIntosh and Trent Harris led the defense. McIntosh had four tackles, three TFL’s and a half a sack. Harris finished with three tackles, two and a half tackles for loss and two sacks.

    The win improves Miami to 10-0. It’s the Hurricanes first ten-win season since 2003. Miami concluded that season with a victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. It was also Miami’s last season in the Big East Conference.

    Next: Miami Hurricanes 2017 seniors going out on high note

    Miami will finish up the regular season Friday at Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh will enter the game 4-7, 2-5 in the ACC. They have lost their last two games.