Hokies Find a Way to Win
Sunday, November 5, 2006
MIAMI, Nov. 4 -- He was able to jog the last two yards into the end zone, which is saying something when you start your run from eight yards out and everybody is expecting you to carry the football. Virginia Tech star Branden Ore added another installment to his growing reputation in Blacksburg, Va., when, on second and goal against the University of Miami with the score tied and less than two minutes remaining, he wrapped his arms around the football and juked and slipped easily into the end zone.
The touchdown gave the No. 23 Hokies enough for a 17-10 victory in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night, keeping alive their ACC title hopes while adding another black mark to a miserable season for the Hurricanes. Miami is now 5-4 and losing hope for a bowl bid, and the loss will surely ignite another week of calls for the firing of Coach Larry Coker, who looked forlorn after the game.
Asked about the resounding boos from the crowd of 41,504, Coker said, "They're not as disheartened as we are."
Ore did not perform as stunningly as he did in running for 200 yards in each of the Hokies' previous two games. He carried 29 times for just 79 yards with two touchdowns against the fourth-best rushing defense in the nation, but he clinched the victory with the slippery run and another moments before. On a third and 10 from the 26 with 2 minutes 21 seconds left, Ore burst through the middle of the defense for 16 yards. Miami's defenders missed him, but tackled each other.
"There were a couple of funky plays where I don't know what happened," Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said. "They played hard, and we're just excited to come out here with a win."
Despite outgaining the Hokies (237 yards to 139), Miami watched its comeback hopes fizzle when quarterback Kyle Wright threw his first interception with 3:33 remaining and completely extinguish when Wright threw another after Ore's score with 1:39 left. "It's a travesty to lose a football game when you give up 139 yards," Coker said. "Offensively we did not -- an understatement -- contribute much."
Wright's misfire with just over three minutes left smacked into the outstretched hand of lineman Chris Ellis, and the batted ball was grabbed by linebacker Xavier Adibi. That gave the Hokies possession at Miami's 26, setting up Ore's touchdown jaunt five plays later.
Wright completed 14 of 29 for 84 yards with two interceptions. Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon hit just 5 of 19 for 86 yards with one interception.
"Every loss is frustrating, [but] this is the most frustrating one," Wright said. "The defense played unbelievable tonight, and once again, we didn't get it done."
Miami played most of the night without freshman rushing star Javarris James, who limped to the locker room early in the second quarter with a hip pointer. James, the cousin of Arizona Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, returned to the sidelinein uniform later but did not return to action.
His backup Tyrone Moss -- who was suspended at the start of this season for disciplinary reasons -- tied the score at 10 early in the fourth quarter after making a magnificent move that extricated him from a stacked line and sent him into the open field. On the third-and-one play at midfield, Virginia Tech's defensive line stopped Moss cold, but he did a 360-degree turn to his left, and sprinted 50 yards to the end zone.
Moss finished with 103 yards on 13 carries.
His touchdown completed a relative blitz of scoring for Miami, which started slowly but was helped by the ferocious wind blowing through the open end of the stadium to earn its first points late in the third quarter. Jon Peattie's field goal attempt from 55 yards out cleared the uprights with several yards to spare, bringing Miami within 10-3 with just under five minutes left in the period.
Midway through the second quarter, the Hokies took over at the Miami 36 after Hokies corner Brandon Flowers intercepted Miami backup Kirby Freeman, who played one series and attempted just one pass.
Glennon immediately connected on a 30-yard catch-and-run to Josh Morgan, and three plays later, Ore sprinted right for a two-yard touchdown, giving Virginia Tech a 10-0 lead at the 3:17 mark.
"The way we did it," Beamer said, "we just got away."