(Saturday, November 7th)
Final Score: (16) Miami-Florida 52, Virginia 17
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Jacory Harris threw for a pair of touchdowns and Thearon Collier returned a punt 60 yards for a score, as 16th-ranked Miami- Florida pounded Virginia, 52-17, at Land Shark Stadium.
Harris connected on 18-of-31 passes for 232 yards and was picked off once for the Hurricanes (7-2, 4-2 ACC), who have won two straight and five of their last six contests. Graig Cooper rushed 18 times for 152 yards and a TD for the Hurricanes, while teammate Damien Berry had a pair of rushing scores in the third quarter.
Marc Verica went 11-of-29 through the air for 75 yards with an interception for the Cavaliers (3-6, 2-3), who dropped their third straight game. Rashawn Jackson had eight carries for 77 yards and a touchdown.
"Miami's got a lot of playmakers in all three phases of the game, and we had a lot of difficulty controlling those playmakers and matching those playmakers," Virginia head coach Al Groh said.
Coming off a a fourth-quarter comeback at Wake Forest last Saturday which saw the Hurricanes rally with 14 points in the final frame to win 28-27, Miami didn't let Virginia hang round in the second half.
Already ahead 24-17 at the break, the Hurricanes turned on the jets in the third quarter. Berry capped a 79-yard drive to start the second half with a two-yard TD run up the middle.
Berry ran into the end zone from a yard out in the closing seconds of the third, carrying the Hurricanes to a three-touchdown advantage. The Hurricanes converted a trio of third downs during the 80-yard jaunt.
Cooper scored on a three-yard run four minutes into the final quarter for a 45-17 difference. Freshman QB A.J. Highsmith, son of former Miami running back Alonzo Highsmith, found Kendal Thompkins from 15 yards away for a TD later in the stanza.
Matt Bosher kicked a 42-yard field goal just over six minutes into the game, but Virginia tied the game later in the quarter on Robert Randolph's 34-yard kick. The field goal came shortly after Ras-I Dowling picked off Harris.
A blocked punt by the Cavaliers helped them grab a 10-3 lead later in the first quarter. Jackson rushed over right tackle for a 34-yard score.
Leonard Hankerson broke a tackle, on the way to a 35-yard scoring reception for Miami, tying the game at 10 with 2:15 left in the first.
Collier then moved Miami in front for good with his highlight-reel punt return. He caught the ball on one side of the field, shed a couple of tacklers, picked up a pair of crushing blocks and rolled down the sideline for the score with 1:17 remaining in the opening quarter.
"Thearon is someone that works hard and is a guy that may not get the ball as much, so in special teams he has to make things happen," said Harris. "He made a Devin Hester play - he went out there, had fun and got a touchdown."
Harris' five-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham early in the second opened a 24-10 lead, but Bill Schautz ran back a blocked punt 20 yards for a score for Virginia with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.
The Hurricanes play at North Carolina next Saturday, while the Cavaliers host Boston College...Miami leads the all-time series with Virginia, 5-2...Miami had 515 yards of offense.
11/08 01:50:56 ET