Off­side penalty is worth more than five yards for Hur­ri­canes

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY STEVEN WINE

mi­ami gar­dens, fla. — When an off­side penalty gave Brad Kaaya a free play, he cashed in with a long com­ple­tion to help the Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes beat Vir­ginia Tech.

The 45-yard gain led to the touch­down that put the Hur­ri­canes ahead to stay. Kaaya also di­rected a 75-yard touch­down drive in the fi­nal min­utes of Satur­day’s 30-20 win.

Kaaya fin­ished 19 of 30 for 296 yards. His piv­otal com­ple­tion came with the score tied, Mi­ami at its own 11-yard line and 42 sec­onds left in the first half.

The Hur­ri­canes were try­ing to run out the clock. But on third and 20, Vir­ginia Tech jumped off­sides. The Hur­ri­canes took ad­van­tage by switch­ing to deep pass.

“If they jump off­sides, it’s an au­to­matic go route,” Kaaya said.

“Brad is re­ally sharp with that,” Coach Al Golden said.

Kaaya hit Herb Wa­ters for a gain to the Tech 44, and Mi­ami went on to score with four sec­onds left in the half.

“That’s a game-changer right there,” Kaaya said. “It changed mo­men­tum. I think it changed the out­come.”

Mi­ami (4-2, 1-1 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence) bounced back from a loss a week ear­lier at Florida State and beat the Hok­ies (3-4, 1-2) for the sec­ond year in a row. The Hur­ri­canes are hop­ing for a re­match with the Semi­noles in the ACC ti­tle game in De­cem­ber.

Mi­ami’s de­fense, which has strug­gled for much of the sea­son, forced four turnovers and had three sacks. Hok­ies quar­ter­back Bren­den Mot­ley threw two in­ter­cep­tions and lost a fum­ble, lead­ing to 10 Mi­ami points.

“We played great on de­fense,” end Chad Thomas said. “We were greedy.”

Af­ter Vir­ginia Tech scored a touch­down to cut Mi­ami’s lead to 23-20 mid­way through the fourth quar­ter, Kaaya led a nine-play drive and capped it by throw­ing a two-yard touch­down pass to Rashawn Scott with 2 min­utes 44 sec­onds to go.

Ar­tie Burns then sealed the vic­tory with his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion. The Hur­ri­canes com­mit­ted no turnovers of their own.

“We made too many mis­takes, gave them too much,” Hok­ies Coach Frank Beamer said.

Beamer sec­ond-guessed him­self for de­ploy­ing an ag­gres­sive de­fense at the end of the first half, when Mi­ami went the length of the field to score on Kaaya’s sev­en­yard pass to Scott.

“If I have to do it over, I play be­fore the half dif­fer­ent,” Beamer said.

Mot­ley went 14 for 23 for 136 yards. He was re­placed mid­way through the sec­ond half by Michael Brewer, who played for the first time since he broke his left col­lar­bone in Tech’s sea­son-open­ing loss to No. 1 Ohio State.

Brewer threw a 33-yard touch­down pass to Isa­iah Ford be­fore the Hur­ri­canes an­swered with their fi­nal touch­down drive.

“Un­for­tu­nately it wasn’t enough,” Brewer said. “But it was nice to get out there and get my feet wet a lit­tle bit.”

Mi­ami played the last 20 min­utes with­out mid­dle line­backer Raphael Kirby, who was carted to the locker room with a right knee in­jury. His re­place­ment, sopho­more Ju­won Young, had an in­ter­cep­tion and a tackle for a loss.

“I’ve been kind of down, wait­ing for my chance, and to­day I got it,” Young said. “It made me feel good my prepa­ra­tion paid off.”

Hur­ri­canes sopho­more Michael Bad­g­ley made a ca­reer-long 49-yard field goal, and was also suc­cess­ful from 24 and 21 yards.

Mi­ami’s vic­tory should slightly ease pres­sure on Golden, with fan sen­ti­ment about him di­vided. Be­fore the game, small planes fly­ing over the sta­dium tugged ban­ners that sup­ported Golden and oth­ers that called for his fir­ing.

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