Canes Win 31-21

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Miami Hurricanes (7-2, 4-2) proved on Saturday that you can never count them out, ever. Miami went into Virginia (7-2, 4-2) and came away with a 31-21 victory. The play of the game came in the fourth quarter with Miami clinging to a three point lead facing 4th-and-4 from the Virginia 25-yardline. With 58 seconds remaining Brock Berlin found Roscoe Parrish in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown sealing a Miami win.

"I felt like they couldn't cover Roscoe Parrish," said head coach Larry Coker. It wasn't really a pretty play. It was just a great play on his part. I knew he'd be single covered and I just didn't want to give the ball back to Virginia."

That wasn't the only big play Parrish made in the fourth quarter. He scored on a 62-yard punt return as he juked his way down the Miami sideline to give the Hurricanes a 24-14 lead. With the two touchdowns on the day he is the team leader with eight scores.

"He's been a tremendous return man for us," said head coach Larry Coker. "He broke the Boston College game open a year ago. He's very elusive, very explosive, and very talented."

Coker playfully joked with running back Frank Gore this week in practice about getting into the secondary to break long runs. Gore took his advice and did just that. He finished with a career-high 195 yards on 28 carries. He had runs of 18, 22, 44, and 35 yards.

"Frank Gore and Roscoe Parrish are very special couple of guys to me," Coker said. "They were the first two guys I brought into the class when I got the job. I am so proud of the way they played tonight."

Miami made the plays when they mattered the most. In the fourth quarter, Brandon Meriweather intercepted a pass immediately following Parrish's punt return.

"There are certain things that will either make you win or cause you to lose," said Virginia head coach Al Groh. "There were too many things in the cause-you-to-lose column today."

Senior leader Antrel Rolle was hampered by an ankle injury he sustained last game against Clemson and participated in one play prior to joining the defense with 8:28 remaining in the game. He did not make any big plays, but his presence was felt.

On the opening drive of the game Gore found a hole in the Virginia defense and picked up 23 yards and an additional 15 yards were tacked on after he was pushed after he was out of bounds. Gore's run put the Hurricanes on the Virginia 31-yardline. Jon Peattie missed a 29-yard field goal after the drive stalled at the 13-yardline.

Down 14-7 in the third quarter, Virginia running back Alvin Pearman took a handoff up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown run. Pearman finished the day with 106 yards on 21 carries. It was the fifth straight game Miami has allowed a 100-yard rusher.

Gore would put the Hurricanes up 7-0 with an 11-yard touchdown run fighting off a number of tackles and willing himself into the end zone. The run capped off a 12-play, 69-yard drive spanning 5:35 with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Since 1983, the Hurricanes have gone 175-16 when scoring first.

At the end of the first quarter, Miami out gained Virginia 122-37 in total yards and dominated the time of possession battle holding the ball for 10:39 compared to 4:21 for Virginia.

The Cavaliers answered Miami's touchdown with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Marques Hagans to Heath Miller. Miller made a spectacular catch as he stretched out with one hand and slightly bobbled the catch until he was able to bring it close to his body. It was Miller's fifth touchdown of the season. He finished the game with three receptions for 45 yards.

With less than five minutes left in the first half, Parrish escaped from tackles up the right sideline for a 45-yard punt return to give the Hurricanes good field position. Gore made sure they would take advantage of the short field and took the first snap of the drive off to the right in an I-formation with the receivers stacked left. Talib Humphrey finished off the drive by scoring from two yards out on a pass from Brock Berlin to give the Hurricanes 14-7 lead.

Late in the second quarter, Miami faced a 4th-and-2 from the Virginia 27-yardline, but decided against kicking a 43-yard field goal. After discussing the play call during a timeout, Gore took the handoff up the middle for minus-three yards causing a turnover on downs. A score would have been nice to have right before halftime, instead they settled for a 14-7 lead.

Hagans was 2-for-7 in the first half for zero yards. It was an amazing performance by a Miami defense without Rolle, for most of the game. In the secondary Miami started two juniors, a sophomore, and a freshman. Hagans finished the game 10-for-25 passing for 94 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

Two freshmen led the Hurricanes in tackles. Safety Anthony Reddick had 12 tackles and linebacker Jon Beason had eight.

NOTES: LB Romeo Davis made his first career start at weakside linebacker…FB Talib Humphrey returned to the starting lineup in place of Quadtrine Hill and touched the ball for the first time of the season on a touchdown reception…K Jon Peattie missed his first field goal inside of 35 yards this season after making the first seven…QB Brock Berlin moved into 10th place on Miami's career passing list for yards with 4,428 in his two years at Miami…the announced attendance was 63,701 breaking a Scott Stadium record

NEXT: November 27 vs. Wake Forest in Miami, Florida.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com.

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