Deshawn McClease’s 3-yard run with 63 seconds left in the fourth quarter led the Virginia Tech Hokies to a 42-35 win over the host Miami Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
Miami, which trailed 28-0 in the second quarter and 35-14 with under eight minutes to play, had rallied to tie the score 35-35 with 3:16 left in the fourth.
But Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker, a redshirt sophomore who had thrown just two collegiate passes before this game, led a 63-yard drive in 2:13 to retake the lead and win his first career start. He finished 10 of 20 for 184 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 76 yards and one score.
All three of Hooker’s TD passes were to junior tight end Dalton Keene.
Caleb Farley and Jermaine Waller each intercepted two passes to lead Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-2 ACC). Jaylen Griffin recovered a fumble for the Hokies’ swarming defense, which forced five first-half turnovers.
With the win, the Hokies redeemed themselves after losing 45-10 to Duke last week, Virginia Tech’s worst home defeat in 45 years.
Miami (2-3, 0-2) benched quarterback Jarren Williams, who entered the game with 1,027 passing yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions but was pulled after getting picked three times in the first quarter.
Miami backup N’Kosi Perry went 28 of 47 for 422 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.
Virginia Tech scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions. Hooker scored on a 12-yard run and then passed 20 yards to Keene for a 14-0 lead at the 3:19 mark. Then, after James Mitchell scored on a 1-yard run late in the first, Hooker hit Keene for a 17-yard touchdown pass at 9:30 of the second.
Miami cut its deficit to 28-7 on a Hail Mary to end the first half. Perry threw the ball up for grabs, tight end Will Mallory deflected the pass in the end zone, and the ball fell into the arms of Mark Pope for a 38-yard touchdown.
The Hurricanes scored on their first second-half possession, a 6-yard pass from Perry to tight end Brevin Jordan, who finished with game highs of seven catches and 136 yards.
Hooker and Keene connected for a third touchdown pass — this time, a 5-yarder with 12:43 left in the fourth quarter — to break Miami’s momentum at the 12:43 mark of the fourth.
But Perry threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Thomas, who made a good end zone adjustment, to cut Miami’s deficit to 35-21 with 7:03 left in the game.
Another Perry-Thomas connection — this time from 25 yards — put Miami in the end zone again. A two-point conversion run by DeeJay Dallas cut Miami’s deficit to 35-29 with 4:55 left. Dallas made a spectacular dive to the right pylon, extending the ball with his left hand to get the two points.
On Miami’s next possession, Dallas four broke tackles at the line of scrimmage and ran 62 yards for a touchdown. Bubba Baxa missed the extra point, leaving the score tied 35-35.
After McClease put the Hokies back ahead, Miami got to the Virginia Tech 10-yard line on the final drive of the game, but Perry’s last pass was batted down in the end zone as time expired.
—Field Level Media