Scores

Final

Virginia 26

(2-9, 0-7 ACC)

Miami (FL) 45

(8-3, 4-3 ACC)

Coverage: ESPNU

12:00 PM ET, November 23, 2013

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
UVA 10 3 0 1326
MIA 14 7 10 1445

Top Performers

Passing: S. Morris (MIA) - 214 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: K. Parks (UVA) - 26 CAR, 130 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: A. Hurns (EAST) - 6 REC, 126 YDS, 1 TD

Miami snaps slide, tops Virginia 45-26

Associated Press
Virginia vs Miami (FL) Highlight
Alec Vozenilek extra point BLOCKED.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Tracy Howard knew exactly what was coming. First play of the game, screen pass, something that has burned Miami countless times in recent weeks.

He guessed right.

And with that, the tone was set for a redeeming day for Miami and its maligned defense.

Howard returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown a mere 6 seconds after kickoff, the first of four turnovers that Miami turned into touchdowns, and the Hurricanes snapped a three-game slide by beating Virginia 45-26 on Saturday to remain alive in the Atlantic Coast Conference race.

"Defense, I thought, really played their tails off," Miami coach Al Golden said.

Added Miami quarterback Stephen Morris, on the defense: "They were dominant."

Giving up 483 yards, 28 first downs, 11 third-down conversions and being on the field for nearly 38 minutes wouldn't seem dominant. But being largely responsible for 28 points more than made up for those numbers. David Gilbert had a 72-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, and interceptions set up two drives that Dallas Crawford capped with touchdown runs for Miami (8-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Morris passed for 214 yards and two touchdowns in his home finale. Allen Hurns had 126 receiving yards and a score and Stacy Coley had a 62-yard touchdown grab for Miami, which got a huge momentum shift late in the half when Ladarius Gunter had an interception in the Miami red zone. Gunter returned the ball 81 yards to the Miami 3, the Hurricanes took a 21-13 lead three plays later on Crawford's first score of the day, and weren't in trouble again.

"That's a good Miami team," Virginia coach Mike London said. "They played well and they capitalized when they needed to and we didn't."

Taquan Mizzell caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, while Kevin Parks ran for 130 yards and a touchdown for Virginia (2-9, 0-7), which has dropped eight straight and lost to Miami for the first time in four years. Starting quarterback David Watford completed 10 of 25 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times.

"It's very frustrating," Parks said. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated right now. But we've got to make more plays and be positive."

Gunter was carted off with 2:02 remaining and briefly hospitalized while being evaluated for an upper-body injury. He had a helmet-to-helmet collision with Mizzell on a play where the Cavaliers freshman ran into the end zone from 7 yards out, remained on his feet for a few seconds, then fell to the ground.

Gunter was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, then released later Saturday night. Golden said Gunter was moving his extremities and alert, and teammates said he was talking and joking with them while he was down on the turf, even as they kneeled around him.

"I told him he's still ugly," Rodgers said. "Something to joke around, to make sure he laughed."

Hurricanes football spokesman Chris Yandle said Gunter "will be able to play football again this season once he is fully healed."

Miami had allowed at least 40 points in each of its last three games, plus lost cornerbacks Corn Elder and Nate Dortch to injuries that Golden said afterward he feared were "significant."

But the fretting over secondary depth can resume Sunday. This win, the Hurricanes said, was for their seniors, especially after all they went through over 2-1/2 years of dealing with an NCAA investigation.

"I think we should be remembered as a group that stuck together," Morris said. "We fought through a lot and we're having one of the best seasons a Miami team has had in a decade."

Miami's win means the ACC Coastal Division race, and the right to play Atlantic Division champion Florida State in the conference title game, won't be decided until the season's final weekend.

For Miami to win the Coastal, it needs three outcomes next week: A win at Pittsburgh, a Duke loss at North Carolina and a Virginia Tech loss at Virginia.

"We just have to worry about the Pitt game," Golden said.

Howard's pick-six gave Miami a 7-0 lead -- "I knew it was coming," Howard said -- and turnovers kept ensuring that the Hurricanes stayed on top.

Miami's lead was 14-13 and Virginia was driving deep into Hurricanes territory with less than 2 minutes before intermission, when Gunter intercepted a pass from Watford. And with Virginia within 31-20 in the fourth, after Mizzell caught a 10-yard TD pass, Rodgers had an interception that set Miami up at the Cavaliers 16. Crawford finished off that drive two plays later.

"If it wasn't for the turnovers, it's a whole different game," Watford said.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
UVA
MIA
1st Downs2811
Total Yards483304
Passing240214
Rushing24390
Penalties10-617-70
3rd Down Conversions11-205-14
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers42
Possession37:4922:11

Passing Leaders

VirginiaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Lambert13/191347.100
Miami (FL)C/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Morris13/262148.221

Rushing Leaders

VirginiaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Parks261305.0124
Watford9465.1018
Miami (FL)CARYDSAVGTDLG
Crawford16553.4216
Clements4205.0011

Receiving Leaders

VirginiaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson25125.5035
Dockins44812.0018
Miami (FL)RECYDSAVGTDLG
Hurns612621.0147
Coley58116.2162

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERUVAMIA
TD14:54Tracy Howard 19 Yd Interception Return (Matt Goudis Kick) 07
FG06:05Alec Vozenilek 33 Yd 37
TD05:25Stacy Coley 62 Yd Pass From Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis Kick) 314
TD01:51Kevin Parks 24 Yd Pass From David Watford (Alec Vozenilek Kick) 1014
SECOND QUARTERUVAMIA
FG08:46Alec Vozenilek 25 Yd 1314
TD00:17Dallas Crawford 1 Yd Run (Matt Goudis Kick) 1321
THIRD QUARTERUVAMIA
FG11:12Matt Goudis 33 Yd 1324
TD00:25Allen Hurns 26 Yd Pass From Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis Kick) 1331
FOURTH QUARTERUVAMIA
TD12:51Taquan Mizzell 10 Yd Pass From David Watford (Alec Vozenilek Kick) 2031
TD07:21Dallas Crawford 5 Yd Run (Matt Goudis Kick) 2038
TD05:10David Gilbert 72 Yd Fumble Return (Matt Goudis Kick) 2045
TD02:02Taquan Mizzell 7 Yd Run (Pat Blocked) 2645