Virginia Tech-Miami Preview
MIAMI (AP) From the wreckage of Virginia Tech’s lopsided loss last season to Miami comes material for motivation.
A year ago, Tech hosted the Hurricanes and lost 30-6. The teams meet again Saturday in Miami, and the Hokies’ preparation has included a lecture on recent history from coach Frank Beamer.
”I talk about what’s reality,” Beamer said. ”And the reality of it is they came in here and kicked our tail. They beat us soundly. Badly. Soundly. All of the above.”
Not all of the current Tech players’ memories regarding the rivalry are unpleasant. The last time they played in Miami was two years ago, when the Hokies upset the 11th-ranked Hurricanes 42-24.
Miami is again favored, but the Hurricanes (3-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost their past two games, while Tech (3-3, 1-1) is coming off a win over North Carolina State. Here are things to consider when the teams meet for the 33rd time:
Some other things to look for when Miami plays Virginia Tech on Saturday:
RECALL BUTTON: Tech players didn’t really need a reminder from Beamer about last year’s loss to Miami. Playing in prime time, the Hokies trailed 24-0 at halftime, gave up 364 yards rushing and were shut out until the final 90 seconds. ”You remember that feeling you had after that game,” receiver Isaiah Ford said. ”That was the first time I ever got booed at a home game in my whole career. So that wasn’t a feeling that I ever want to feel again.”
SPEAKING OF LAST WEEK: In 2013 and 2014, losses to Florida State sent the Hurricanes into a tailspin that lasted until the end of the season. They lost again to the Seminoles last week in Tallahassee, and Saturday will show how much the sting has lingered. ”It’s never easy,” tight end David Njoku said. ”But you can’t really do anything about it, and have to keep on fighting.”
QUARTERBACK QUESTION: Tech quarterback Michael Brewer might return from a broken left collarbone that has sidelined him since the season-opening loss to No. 1 Ohio State. Replacement Brenden Motley has 10 touchdowns passing and three rushing. Miami coach Al Golden said the Hokies’ offense looks similar with either quarterback. ”I don’t know that they’re going to change much,” he said. ”Both of them can move in the pocket. We’ll get ready for both.”
MIAMI QB: Sophomore Brad Kaaya threw for a career-high 405 yards at Florida State, and he leads the ACC in passing yards (1,499) and total offense (1,462). His production has come despite shaky protection and a sputtering ground game, and he won the admiration of teammates for his toughness in Tallahassee. ”`Brad is a tough kid,” receiver Stacy Coley said. ”We looked at the film and saw how many hits he took and still got up. It uplifted us and showed him being a leader.”
EMBATTLED GOLDEN: Miami’s latest loss only intensified fan restlessness regarding the Hurricanes’ fifth-year coach, whose job is in jeopardy due to a poor record against ranked teams. When asked if fan expectations are unrealistic, Golden said no. ”We all come to the University of Miami with high expectations,” he said. ”That comes with the territory.”
AP Sports Writer Hank Kurz Jr. in Blacksburg, Virginia contributed to this report.