No. 9 Miami faced its biggest test of the season and made it look easy.
Malik Rosier threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, Travis Homer had a 64-yard touchdown run and Miami moved to the brink of clinching what would be its first spot in an Atlantic Coast Conference championship game by topping No. 13 Virginia Tech 28-10 on Saturday night and extending the nation’s longest current winning streak to 13 games.
“We just came out and took what’s ours today,” said Rosier, who threw touchdown passes to Braxton Berrios and Christopher Herndon IV.
So one showdown is down, and another awaits Miami (8-0, 6-0, No. 10 CFP). No. 5 Notre Dame (8-1, No. 3 CFP) — the last team to beat the Hurricanes — visits next Saturday night, a game that will have national-title implications.
“It’s a tribute to our players, coaches, managers, trainers, our fan base, our students, band, everything, administration,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “It’s great. It takes a lot of work to get to a point that you can get into a game like this and then to win it, it was spectacular. At least that’s how it feels. I don’t know if it was a spectacular win, but certainly feels that way right now.”
Rosier survived a three-interception night, helped out by Miami’s turnover chain — the gaudy bauble that gets awarded amid much fanfare on the sideline when the Hurricanes get a takeaway.
Virginia Tech (7-2, 3-2) got a touchdown run from quarterback Josh Jackson, who was 20-of-32 passing for 197 yards and two interceptions.
“They schemed us up pretty good,” Jackson said.
The Hokies came in with the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense, giving up a mere 11.5 points per game. They were outgained 429-299 by a Miami team looking to make a statement.
“Congratulations to Miami and coach Richt,” Hokies coach Justin Fuente said. “They’re good, sound and talented in all three phases of the game.”
After winning their most recent four games by a combined 18 points and struggling mightily at times last weekend against North Carolina, the Hurricanes are in total control of the ACC’s Coastal Division. Miami’s magic number to win the Coastal title is down to one; another victory or any other league loss by Virginia would be enough to send the Hurricanes to the ACC title game for the first time.
The Dec. 2 matchup could be set next weekend. If Clemson wins at Florida State or North Carolina State loses at Boston College, the Tigers would clinch the Atlantic crown. And if Virginia loses at Louisville, the Hurricanes would — finally — be Coastal champions, a distinction they’ve annually chased in vain since the ACC went to a divisional system in 2005.
Rosier was picked twice early in the third quarter, and what was once a 14-0 Miami lead was trimmed to 14-10 when Jackson ran in from a yard out.
Later in the third, Rosier took a late hit from Virginia Tech rover Reggie Floyd and the penalty put Miami at the Hokies’ 43. On the very next play, Rosier found Herndon, who made Floyd miss and galloped down the left sideline to the end zone to restore an 11-point lead. Rosier scored on a 13-yard keeper early in the fourth, and Miami had the game in hand.
A Coastal title ring might be next.
“We’re not done yet,” Berrios said.