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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Virginia Tech forces Miami's Harris into early mistakes, wins 31-7

Hokies' defense forces the Hurricanes' quarterback to fumble on his fifth snap of the game, dominating the game in rainy conditions.

September 27, 2009|Associated Press

BLACKSBURG, VA — . -- Jacory Harris planned to play it cool against Virginia Tech.

The 11th-ranked Hokies blew up that plan in about five minutes, harassing the Hurricanes' quarterback into early mistakes and dominating No. 9 Miami, 31-7, in a downpour on Saturday.

Afterward, the player getting the hype took the heat.

"I take all the blame for what happened tonight," Harris said.

But the Hokies deserved the credit for making it happen, putting pressure on the heralded sophomore that he hadn't seen in his first two games and causing him to make crucial mistakes, including a fumble that led to a touchdown after his fifth snap.

Sacked only once in his first two games, Harris was hit by Dorian Porch as he looked downfield. He fumbled the ball and Porch recovered at the Hurricanes' 11. Five plays later, Ryan Williams scored from the two and the Hokies had a 7-0 lead after about five minutes.

"For Porch to come off the edge and make that kind of play, a big-time play, it gave us the momentum right away and it changed the outlook of the game," said Hokies defensive end Jason Worilds, who was involved in both of the Hokies' other sacks.

Miami (2-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), in the top 10 for the first time since 2005, missed a chance to take a commanding lead in the Coastal Division with its third win in a row against a ranked foe. Instead, Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0) won the game that may matter most, giving it the tiebreaking advantage against the Hurricanes should the two teams wind up tied.

The Hokies said they felt slighted by all the attention Harris and the Hurricanes received all week, and played as if they wanted to remind the country they were the ACC favorites coming into the season.

"We felt like we were being a little disrespected," linebacker Cody Grimm said. "We were defending ACC champs and no one was talking about us having a chance in this game."

Virginia Tech also took the wraps off Tyrod Taylor, and he combined with Williams for most of the Hokies' 272 yards rushing on the rain-soaked turf at sold-out Lane Stadium.

Williams ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and Taylor had 75 after being reluctant to run in the Hokies' nonconference games, leaving some fans so disgusted that they left early last week and missed the Hokies' stunning last-minute turnaround to beat No. 25 Nebraska, 16-15.

"With him running the ball today, it opened up a lot of things," Williams said. "We were able to get down the field faster and he was also able to throw the ball effectively."

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