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Virginia football team escapes with road win over Miami
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Virginia football team escapes with road win over Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Andres Borregales lined up for a 33-yard field goal to give Miami a win over Virginia.

The freshman pulled the ball left, slamming it into the upright. The ball bounced back to the turf as the clock expired.

Virginia, which seemed destined for a third consecutive ACC loss, escaped Miami with a 30-28 win over the Hurricanes. It’s the team’s first win at Miami since 2011.

UVa’s players stormed the field, madly celebrating a wild ending to a game they nearly gave away.

Virginia was either tied or leading Miami for the entirety of Thursday’s game, but it seemed like the team’s lead would slip away in the final seconds. Instead, the Cavaliers secured a much-needed road win to keep its slim ACC Coastal Division title chances alive.

The Hurricanes were without veteran quarterback D’Eriq King, who missed the game with an injury, and the team’s offense looked lethargic in the early going. Miami’s first five drives included four punts and a safety.

Fortunately for the home team, Virginia’s offense wasn’t at its best early either.

UVa took a 7-0 lead with 7:21 left in the first quarter on a one-yard touchdown run from Wayne Taulapapa, who looked good coming back from concussion. A safety, which came on a tackle for loss by defensive end and Miami native Mandy Alonso at the one-yard line after a perfect punt from Jacob Finn pinned the Hurricanes deep, put Virginia up 9-0 at the end of one quarter.

The Cavaliers failed to extend the lead after that, even as the Hurricanes sputtered.

Miami finally added points late in the first half, driving 54 yards in five plays to cut Virginia’s lead to 9-7 with 2:30 left until halftime. A one-yard touchdown run from running back Cam’Ron Harris pulled the Hurricanes within one score.

UVa responded like a veteran team.

Armstrong led the Wahoos on an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive before the end of the half. Mike Hollins’ 25-yard touchdown rush, which featured exceptional downfield blocking to help him break free down the right side of the field, ended the drive.

The Cavaliers led 16-7 at halftime.

A 43-yard field goal from Brendan Farrell — he started in place of an injured Justin Duenkel — put UVa up 19-7 early in the second half. A mistake from Armstrong – he fired an interception to linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. deep inside UVa territory – set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Van Dyke to Mike Harley.

That miscue helped spark the crowd and give Miami important energy.

UVa bounced back with a miraculous touchdown catch by Dontayvion Wicks. Armstrong tossed a pass into a crowd of two receivers and three defensive backs. The ball went through the hands of a Miami defender, bounced onto the back of Wicks as he fell to the ground and then fell into his waiting arms as he sat in the end zone.

Miami kept fighting back, gaining offensive confidence as the night progressed. Harris broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run. He went untouched up the middle to pull Miami within six points.

Leading 27-21, UVa answered yet again. The Cavaliers marched down the field, but settled for a 30-yard field goal from Farrell to take a 30-21 lead with 12:52 left in the fourth quarter.

The defense, which looked strong in the first half, faded as the game progressed. Miami responded with a touchdown drive to make the score 30-28 with 9:09 left. Van Dyke scrambled to his right for an athletic 24-yard touchdown run.

This time, UVa’s offense failed to answer.

That set the stage for Miami’s final drive, which began with 5:36 left. The Hurricanes drained the clock masterfully, driving into field goal range and leaving no time on the clock.

Miami did everything except make the kick.

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