|MORRIS (J. Pat Carter/AP Photo)|
Stephen Morris threw for two early touchdowns, both set up by Virginia Tech special-teams miscues, and Miami took a major step forward in the chase for a berth in the conference title game by beating the Hokies 30-12 on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes were outgained 421-347, went 1 for 12 on third down, and managed exactly 3 yards on 12 plays in the third quarter. And in the end, somehow, none of that mattered.
"It's critical," said Golden, the Hurricanes' second-year coach. "Again, I know everybody wants us to be national champions yesterday and get back to BCS games and all that, but the reality of it is the pathway through that is the Coastal. It's almost like we have to re-educate our team. They have to understand, that's how you get there."
Duke Johnson had a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and finished with 217 all-purpose yards for the Hurricanes (5-4, 4-2), who snapped a three-game slide. The division is hardly a done deal, however - Miami has conference games left with Virginia and Duke, both on the road.
Logan Thomas had a 73-yard scoring run on a quarterback draw for Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3), which lost to Miami for just the third time in the last 10 meetings. The loss also ensures the Hokies' streak of eight straight 10-win seasons will end this year.
"I don't fault our effort," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "I fault our execution. We didn't do the things to win the football game."
The win puts Miami a half-game ahead of Duke and North Carolina in the Coastal race, though the Tar Heels are ineligible for postseason play, including the ACC title game.