Virginia Tech football clinches ACC Coastal Division with win over Miami

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 20, 2010; 10:00 PM

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. - That No. 14 Virginia Tech won the ACC's Coastal Division, just 70 days after becoming the second ranked team to ever lose to a division I-AA opponent, is illogical enough.

That the Hokies accomplished the feat with a 31-17 win at No. 23 Miami on Saturday despite giving up 464 yards of offense and falling behind for the seventh time in 11 games this season simply defies logic.

Then again, nothing about these Hokies and their nine-game winning streak since that devastating loss to James Madison has been conventional.

"I think there's something special about this group," Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said. "It's really a neat feeling to be the head coach of a crowd like this."

With the victory, the Hokies clinched the ACC's Coastal Division title and will face Florida State, Maryland or North Carolina State in the conference's championship game on Dec. 4 in Charlotte, with a trip to the Orange Bowl on the line.

In what has become a defining characteristic for these Hokies, though, they would use all kinds of resiliency and luck to earn that opportunity.

Virginia Tech didn't take the lead for good until early in the fourth quarter, when running back Ryan Williams broke off an 84-yard touchdown run, the longest by a Virginia Tech player since it joined the ACC six years ago.

On the ensuing drive, Miami wide receiver Travis Benjamin broke free of the Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller for what would have been a 64-yard touchdown, only the pass from quarterback Stephen Morris (15 of 133 for 202 yards) grazed off his fingertips and bounced to the ground.

From there the Hurricanes unraveled, throwing three interceptions - part of a six-turnover day - and Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor capped an otherwise pedestrian day for him with an 18-yard scoring run that gave him more rushing touchdowns than any quarterback in program history.

"It makes me mad," Taylor said when asked about the Hokies' two losses to begin this season. "I thought those were games we could have won. Looking back on it now, it hurts to know that we lost those two games. But I think we learned a lot and grew a lot from it."

As has been its habit almost the entire season, though, an inauspicious start greeted Virginia Tech once it took to the Sun Life Stadium field.

Before the first quarter was complete, Virginia Tech watched starting cornerback Rashad Carmichael limp to the bench with an injured ankle, emerging wide receiver Marcus Davis leave the game after being temporarily knocked unconscious and Taylor laying on the ground in pain and forced to the sideline for a play.

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