BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Tyler Van Dyke threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns to lead Miami to a 20-14 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Van Dyke, coming off a 496-yard performance in Miami’s loss to North Carolina, threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Frank Ladson, Jr. and 17 yards to Colbie Young in the first half for the Hurricanes (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a three-game losing streak.
“This whole thing today, honestly, it’s about the players in that locker room,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said. “Everything has to be about the players. The way they prepared, the way they overcame injuries … and to be on the road and to still find a way to win, those guys in there (locker room) deserve all the credit. They deserve all the credit, and they deserve praise for it.”
Virginia Tech (2-5, 1-3), which has lost four straight, trailed 20-0 before scoring twice in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Grant Wells’ 3-yard touchdown run with 3:20 left cut the deficit to 20-14.
But Miami converted twice on third down on the ensuing drive, with the final conversion coming on Van Dyke’s 9-yard run on third-and-6 from the Miami 46 with under a minute left. Virginia Tech had no timeouts, so two Van Dyke kneel-downs ended the game.
“Just get first downs,” Van Dyke said of the offense’s mindset going into that final drive. “Run the clock out and get first downs … We just had to stop the momentum, stop the bleeding, and did a great job of it.”
Van Dyke completed 29 of 46 passes for the Hurricanes, who finished with 458 yards. Young had nine catches for 110 yards.
Miami held Virginia Tech to just 257 yards and sacked Wells six times.
“There is just so much evidence of who we can be as a team,” Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry said. “That’s what I told them (his players). We’ve got to stop stubbing our toe and finding ways to not make people earn it. We’ve got to stop that.”
Miami: The Hurricanes picked up a much-needed win despite playing without five starters who were out with injuries. They controlled the game for the most part, but season highs in penalties (17) and penalty yardage (159) helped to allow the Hokies to stick around. Miami had the fewest penalties and least amount of penalty yardage in the ACC coming into this one.
“We had some really, really unacceptable penalties,” Cristobal said. “For us, honestly, we’ve got to learn not to get anxious. As the game gets tighter and things start getting a little bit closer, we’ve got to learn to play with poise. We’ve got to start taking more pride and confidence and conviction in performing that way. All that is just more and more work.”
Virginia Tech: The Hokies’ offense has been difficult to watch all season, and Saturday was no exception. For the fourth time this season, Virginia Tech finished with fewer than 300 yards.
BACK-TO-BACK STRONG PERFORMANCES
For the eighth time in 15 career starts, Van Dyke threw for more than 300 yards in a game. He’s now thrown five touchdown passes and just one interception in two starts since being benched in Miami’s 45-31 loss to Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 24. Primarily as a result of his performances, Miami has amassed more than 450 yards of offense in each of the past two games.
“There’s a lot of room to grow,” Van Dyke said. “Obviously, we moved the ball great (against Virginia Tech). We had almost 500 (yards). That’s a pretty good day. It’s all about converting and scoring. We’re going to still work on it. But at the end of the day, we got the win, and that’s what matters.
Van Dyke went to Young frequently because an injury to Michael Redding III prevented him from playing and then tight end and leading receiver Will Mallory went down with an injury early in the game. Young, a sophomore who came to Miami from Lackawanna College, entered the game with six receptions on the season, but finished with career highs in receptions and yards.
“What can you say about the guy?” Cristobal said. “The guy got dropped off here. You might as well fly by in a helicopter and jump out right before camp and start training and get ready to play football.
“He just goes. That guy just goes. He’s on three starting units on special teams as well, and he doesn’t ask for a breather. He just wants more and more and more. He’s going to get more because he’s a very valuable player for this organization.”
Miami: The Hurricanes play at home against Duke on Saturday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at NC State on Oct. 27.