BLACKSBURG (HokieSports.com) – Paced by quarterback Jerod Evans’ 259 yards passing, Travon McMillian’s 131 yards rushing and a defense that recorded a season-high eight sacks, Virginia Tech rolled to a 37-16 victory over Miami in an ACC game played Thursday night at Lane Stadium.
Joey Slye added three field goals for the Hokies, who moved to 5-2 overall, 3-1 in the ACC. Tech snapped a two-game losing streak to Miami, which fell to 4-3 overall, 1-3 in league action.
Despite playing without starting defensive linemen Ken Ekanem and Nigel Williams, the Hokies’ defense played one of its most productive games of the season, holding Miami to 42 yards rushing in addition to getting the eight sacks. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for 323 yards, but was sacked the eight times.
“I’ve played this team three times, and you know what kind of team they are,” said defensive tackle Woody Baron, who led the way with 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss. “They’re just like us. They’re fundamentally driven, and they always have great athletes at all 11 positions at any time of the game. So we tried to take it upon ourselves and our execution versus them. Getting pressure on them was really a benefit, and we just tried to keep it going the whole game.”
The Hokies led 16-9 at halftime thanks to three field goals from Slye and a touchdown pass from Evans to Bucky Hodges. Tech then broke things open with two touchdowns in the third quarter, scoring on a 12-yard pass from Evans to Hodges and a 13-yard touchdown strike from running back Sam Rogers to fullback Steven Peoples. The latter score gave the Hokies a 30-16 lead with 4:01 left in the third quarter.
McMillian rushed a season-high 18 times and finished with the second-most rushing yards in his career. The game marked his second 100-yard performance of the season (Tennessee) and was the biggest chunk of an evening in which Tech rushed for a season-high 251 yards.
Evans, who sealed the game with a 34-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run, completed 21 of 33, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and he also rushed for 98 yards. The Hokies finished with 523 yards of offense.
Sam Rogers’ career-long 52-yard reception in the second quarter set up Hodges’ 7-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown was the only one of the half for the Hokies, and Rogers’ reception broke his previous career long of 51 yards, which came last season against Ohio State.
Tech faced third-and-7 from the Miami 38 late in the first half when Evans found Isaiah Ford for a 9-yard gain to the Miami 29. The drive stalled after that, but the play led to a 38-yard field goal by Slye to give the Hokies a 16-3 lead.
Miami cut the Tech lead to 23-16 midway through the third quarter, but the Hokies answered with a 75-yard drive. An 11-yard pass from Evans to Hodges on third-and-9 kept the drive going and ultimately led to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Sam Rogers to Steven Peoples that gave the Hokies a 30-16 lead.
Miami’s best chance in the fourth quarter ended at the Tech 25. The Canes faced a third-and-14, and Tech’s Trevon Hill sacked Kaaya on the play for a 6-yard loss. Kaaya’s pass on fourth down fell incomplete, giving the Hokies the ball with 5:51 to go.