Miami swaggered in, then staggered out of Lane Stadium Saturday evening, taking a 31-7 beating at the hands of Virginia Tech with them.
Ryan Williams carried the ball 34 times in the torrential weather conditions, racking up 150 yards and two touchdowns.
It was the second straight time that a road favorite has come into Blacksburg and been blown out by the Hokies, dating back to Clemson in 2006.
We learned a lot from this game about both teams, but I’ll try to narrow it down to just five things:
Jacory Harris was overhyped
Harris was hearing murmurs of Heisman Trophy consideration this week, after two stellar performances against Florida State and Georgia Tech.
It looks like the hype was not quite well deserved, because Bud Foster dialed up blitz after blitz on the Hurricanes’ quarterback, forcing him into some bad throws and a key fumble.
You do have to take Harris’ struggles with a grain of salt, because Mother Nature made it much harder to throw the football. Even so, Harris looked rattled for the first time this season, rushing some throws and forcing some ill-advised passes later into the game.
The Hokies defense exposed Harris as the inexperienced quarterback that he is, and that Heisman hype was all for naught.
Bud Foster’s defense is finally up to speed
After giving up more big plays than anyone else in America the first three weeks of the season, Foster’s crew buckled down Saturday to hold Miami to 59 rushing yards.
Graig Cooper broke a couple of runs through the line of scrimmage, but nothing compared to what the Hokies had been allowing in the earlier games.
Dorian Porch led the group by playing a fantastic game, including a forced fumble and recovery in the first quarter that led to a touchdown.
The Hurricanes have a very talented array of skill players on offense, but the Hokies blew right through the ‘Canes and made it look easy.
The intensity was back, and that is where the Hokies get their M-O. With the defense back on track, and the offense showing signs of life, Tech is the clear favorite in the ACC.
Tyrod Taylor can still be a runner and stay healthy
Bryan Stinespring finally allowed his mobile quarterback to be mobile. In the first three games, it was obvious Tech was being very conservative with Taylor, emphasizing the importance of staying in the pocket and avoiding injury by running. Today, the coaches unleashed Taylor, and the added dimension of him to the offensive package gave them a much-needed spark.
Taylor did a great job of making nice gains while still getting out of bounds before he could be hit. As long as he is smart when he takes off from the pocket, the coaches should encourage him to use his best asset.
As crazy as the ACC is, the Hokies are its one sure thing
Georgia Tech looks awful against Miami, yet shuts down North Carolina a week later. Florida State crushes BYU, yet falls to South Florida the next time out.
The list goes on and on of ACC teams that suffer letdown games every so often. It seems like the team that always avoids those games is the Hokies. They hardly fall as the favored team, and when they are the underdog, they give their opponent one hell of a fight.
Because of this very reason, the Hokies have to be the favorite to win a third straight conference championship. The schedule gets much easier from here on out, so an 11-1 season seems very possible right now.
This game played out perfectly for Beamer and company, because it now gives his team great confidence heading into games against Duke and Boston College, both winnable games for sure.
“Beamerball” wins football games, period.
In three of the first four games this season, the Hokies have scored a touchdown thanks to its special teams.
This time, Tech blocked its first punt of the season, and then Matt Reidy scooped it up in the end zone for the score.
The Hokies thrive off of those plays, and use the momentum they create to bury teams in their own misery.
The Hokies have not looked like themselves the past few seasons, and this game marked the return of the style of play that marked the Hokie teams of the early-to-mid decade.
A power running game, stifling defense, and game-changing special teams plays brings back great memories for the Hokie faithful, and has to make them excited for what’s to come.