The University of Virginia held on to beat the Miami Hurricanes last night, 28-21, in Miami. The Cavaliers (5-3, 2-2) looked pretty stout on defense and gave the Canes trouble all night.
Going into last night’s game, the Canes (4-4, 2-3) were coming off back-to-back wins over North Carolina and Georgia Tech, which was ranked No. 22 at the time.
Miami has beaten Ohio State, UNC, Georgia Tech and Bethune-Cookman, an FCS (D-IAA) team. The Canes have losses to Maryland (on the road), Kansas State (at home), Virginia Tech (on the road) and last night to UVA (at home).
UVA’s defensive philosophy was focused on stopping Miami’s punishing ground game, which it did very successfully, holding the ACC’s second leading rusher, Lamar Miller, to just 70 yards on 16 carries. Miller had been averaging 114 yards a game. As a team, the Canes were limited to just 85 total rushing yards.
Meanwhile, the Hoos have beaten William & Mary (an FCS school), Indiana (on a last second field goal), Idaho (in overtime), Georgia Tech and Miami. The Cavs’ losses came against Mississippi State, North Carolina and N.C. State.
What does this mean for the annual post-Thanksgiving matchup between Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1) and Virginia? Hokie fans might be a little more wary about their team’s chances heading up to Charlottesville in late November where Tech will try for its 8th straight win over its in-state and conference rival. The Hokies have dominated the “rivalry” of late having won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including five of the last six in Charlottesville.
UVA, however, has played well this season and it appears that second-year head coach Mike London is the man for the job. He’s been recruiting well and his teams play hard for him and this season will offer UVA fans their best hope in years of beating the Hokies.
However, Virginia Tech has proven that even if opposing defenses stack the box to try and stop David Wilson, the ACC’s leading rusher and the only running back in FBS to have more than 1,000 yards this season, he’ll still get his average.
Add to that Virginia Tech’s suddenly prolific passing attack and the Hoos will have their work cut out for them trying to defend one of the most balanced offenses Virginia Tech has put on the field in years. First-year starting quarterback Logan Thomas is on pace to have more passing yards in a single season than any quarterback during head coach Frank Beamer’s 25 years.
Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale have already obliterated Tech’s records for career receptions and receiving yards. And even if defenses manage to shut down one of them, chances are the other will have a big game. And the Hokies still have Marcus Davis and D.J. Coles, two physically gifted receivers who can hurt you.
Both teams have some tough games ahead. The Hokies are on the road against Duke this weekend and while that may not seem like a tough game, Tech’s defense could be without five starters. After than, Tech is on the road against Georgia Tech, home against UNC and then they close out the regular season in Charlottesville.
The Hoos are at Maryland, home against Duke, at Florida State and then home to host the Hokies. Right now, it’s setting up to be a great season-ending game and could be one of the most competitive we’ve seen in the rivalry in years.