The Hokies retaliated by going 77 yards in eight plays, the last coming on quarterback Logan Thomas' dash up the middle on fourth-and-one at Miami's 19-yard line.
Only 56 seconds remained, and as impressive as he had been in the second half, quarterback Jacory Harris had no more miracles.
The game ended when Tech linebacker Alonza Tweedy dragged Miller to the ground on Tech's side of the 50-yard-line on the game's final play, leaving the Hurricanes far short of the yardage they needed to try for a game-tying field goal.
Coach Al Golden was emotional after the game.
"I'm not too concerned too much about myself. I'm process oriented and I'm going to get right back at it here today," he said the day following his team's second loss in two ACC games and third defeat in five games. "We've already done that. We've moved on now.
"It's time to get going and see how much better we can get."
It's not going to get any easier.
The Hurricanes will play a third consecutive conference game on the road in their next outing when the play at 5-1 North Carolina team in Chapel Hill.
Miami's next home game is Oct. 22 when Georgia Tech visits.
--Miami was penalized nine times at Virginia Tech, which is never good, but what particularly irked coach Al Golden were what he called "selfish penalties." He singled out two personal foul penalties, one against Gionni Paul on a kickoff return and a second against OT Seantrel Henderson, and a pass interference penalty against S Ray-Ray Armstrong. The Hurricanes were able to overcome the personal fouls, but the interference call, which came on third down, kept alive a Tech drive for a touchdown just before halftime.
K Jake Wieclaw's kickoff out-of-bounds, which put the ball at the Tech 40-yard line and led to a 60-yard touchdown pass for the Hokies, wasn't "selfish but certainly unacceptable," Golden said. "You kick it out of bounds and the next play they throw a 60-yard shot play. So again, I think three of them are selfish in nature, personal in nature, and we've got to get them cleaned up."
--Miami pulled out a trick play to score its fourth touchdown against Virginia Tech with freshman WR Phillip Dorsett taking a pitch from QB Jacory Harris and rolling left on a fake end run, then stopping and throwing back to RB Lamar Miller, who was wide open in the end zone on the opposite side.
--Coach Al Golden has talked in recent weeks about the need to get tight ends more involved in the passing game, and the Hurricanes did that against Virginia Tech. Redshirt freshman TE Clive Walford, who had only three receptions coming into the game, caught four passes for 66 yards against the Hokies.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DE Anthony Chickillo -- The true freshman made his second start and recorded another sack, giving up a team-high 4.5 for the season. He had eight tackles against the Hokies.
LOOKING GOOD: The Hurricanes came up with another solid effort in their running game with RBs Lamar Miller and Mike James combining for 231 of Miami's total of 236 yards on the ground. The passing game produced four of Miami's touchdowns -- three thrown by QB Jacory Harris, one by WR Phillip Dorsett. WR Travis Benjamin had a 77-yard catch and run for a touchdown to ignite Miami's second-half comeback.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Hurricanes continued to struggle trying to stop the run. They gave up 172 yards on the ground to the Hokies, with 113 of that coming in the second half. In their 77-yard drive for the decisive touchdown. the Hokies got 46 of it on the ground, including one run of 18 yards and another covering 19 for the touchdown.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We stayed together. We didn't splinter. It could have got real ugly down 21-7 on the road, in Blacksburg. It could have got ugly. And the guys refused to let it do that. We outscored them 28-14 or whatever it was in the second half and clearly had a chance to win the game. If you had said, 'Coach, you're going to get 519 yards of offense and you won't turn the ball over,' I'd never thought I would feel the way I did this morning." -- Coach Al Golden, after the heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--Sophomore RB Lamar Miller continued his incredible start to the season by topping the 100-yard rushing mark for the fifth consecutive game. He had 18 carries for 166 yards, all but 25 of the total coming in the second half. Only three other Hurricanes have accomplished the feat led by Edgerrin James' seven-game streak and the six-game streaks of Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis.
--Senior QB Jacory Harris had one of his best efforts going back to probably his sophomore year. He was 13-of-21 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns and didn't have an interception for a second consecutive game.
--Junior RB Mike James, who had been slowed by nagging injuries in recent outings, made his 10 carries good for 65 yards.
--Junior DT Marcus Forston will be out for the season after injuring his knee in practice during a non-contact drill three days before the game at Blacksburg. The Hurricanes had lost LB Ramon Buchanan to a leg injury in the win over Bethune-Cookman the week before.
--Junior DT Adewale Ojomo, moved from end the previous week, got his first start at his new position inside. He did not play a snap in the second half after being injured in the first half. His status is considered day-to-day.
--Junior S Ray-Ray Armstrong made his first appearance of the season after serving a four-game suspension for his role in the booster scandal. He had seven tackles -- six in the first half -- and recovered a fumble that stopped a Tech drive at Miami's 16-yard line. He also drew a penalty for pass interference.