No. 3 Miami Hurricanes Rally In Second Half To Defeat Virginia 44-28
By David Villavicencio, HurricaneSports.com // November 18, 2017
Miami Visits Pittsburgh next week
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MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA (HurricaneSports.com) – The Miami Hurricanes survived an early scare to remain undefeated, beating Virginia, 44-28.
An appreciative crowd of 63,415 fans packed Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday to support the No. 3 Hurricanes (10-0, 7-0 ACC) and honor Miami’s 14 seniors in their final game on their home field. But a strong start by the Cavaliers (6-5, 3-4 ACC) had the orange and green faithful on edge for most of the day.
“First off want to give props to Coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff,” Miami head coach Mark Richt said.
“Without a doubt, they were ready to play. Give credit to their players. They were ready to play. Not that we weren’t. We were ready to play, too. They took it to us early on, especially their offensive side of the ball, both sides of the ball really. Not used to having guys move the ball like that on our defense. They did a great job. Offensively, we were hot and cold. Pretty typical day for us. Made some nice plays and kept banging away. That’s what the whole team did. We had some special teams issues, some defensive issues, some offensive issues, but the thing we didn’t have was a heart issue. We didn’t’ have an issue with belief and team unity when things weren’t looking too great. That’s the thing I appreciate most about this team of coaches and players.”
Virginia wasted little time showing it came to play on Saturday, as quarterback Kurt Benkert hit Olamide Zaccheaus for a 33-yard touchdown that gave the Cavaliers a 7-0 lead a little over five minutes into the game. Benkert was 5-for-5 for 70 yards and a score on the nine-play scoring drive that covered 75 yards.
The Cavaliers picked up momentum when senior safety Quin Blanding intercepted a Malik Rosier pass on third-and-9 from the Miami 43 that was deflected by cornerback Juan Thornhill. The pick, which was Blanding’s fourth of the season, meant Virginia’s second possession began on its own 38.
But Miami’s defense forced a turnover three plays later, as sophomore linebacker Zach McCloud forced Zaccheaus to fumble and defensive back Michael Jackson recovered the loose football at the Miami 45. The junior corner donned Miami’s turnover chain for the fifth time this season.
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