3:30 PM ET, November 26, 2005
MIAMI (AP) -- Defensive tackle Orien Harris hugged the mascot. Offensive lineman Eric Winston shook every hand he could clasp. Others knelt on the turf, taking souvenir blades of grass.
There won't be a national championship, but at least Miami's seniors left the Orange Bowl happy.
Kyle Wright threw for 248 yards and the go-ahead score and then scampered a career-long 31 yards to set up his team's final touchdown as No. 10 Miami beat Virginia 25-17 on Saturday.
Charlie Jones ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns for Miami, which remained in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division crown and a spot in the league's title game against Florida State next Saturday. Virginia Tech could clinch the Coastal title by beating North Carolina later Saturday night.
"We had a good season," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We didn't have a great season. For us, a great season would be playing Southern Cal or Texas in Pasadena."
His team bounced back from last weekend's 14-10 home loss to Georgia Tech -- a defeat that knocked Miami out of the national title picture and put its division title prospects in North Carolina's hands.
Wright completed 23-of-30 passes, including a 17-yard touchdown to Sinorice Moss that put the Hurricanes (9-2, 6-2) ahead for good shortly before halftime. And his long run on third-and-2 with 1:58 left set up Jones' 1-yard score that sealed the win.
"I kind of felt like I was back in high school, running around and trying to run people over," Wright said of his big bootleg. "I haven't done that in a couple years."
Deyon Williams had a pair of touchdown catches for Virginia (6-5, 3-5), including a 6-yarder from Marques Hagans with 27 seconds remaining. Williams also caught a 90-yard scoring pass from wide receiver Emmanuel Byers in the first quarter -- the longest pass allowed in Miami history.
Hagans completed 15-of-28 passes for 206 yards for Virginia, which also got 61 yards on 16 carries by Wali Lundy. Williams caught six passes for 152 yards for the Cavaliers, who are winless in 14 trips to Florida.
"We played our best football tonight," Williams said. "Eliminate the mistakes and we win this game."
Trailing by eight late in the fourth quarter, Virginia drove 59 yards with Hagans completing five of his first six passes. But facing a fourth-and-6 and with 4:04 left, Hagans' pass was too high for Williams.
Miami took over on downs, scored a little over two minutes later and survived.
"We don't care who or where. We just want to play," said Virginia coach Al Groh, when asked about bowl possibilities. "If we can have the same effort we did tonight, it doesn't matter what their name is, what color their jersey is, what bowl it is. If we play the same way we did tonight, we'll be all right."
Jon Peattie's 40-yard field goal opened the scoring midway through the first quarter, but Virginia's trickery silenced the half-full Orange Bowl.
Byers took a handoff from Hagans, sprinted right -- and threw to Williams, who outran Miami cornerback Marcus Maxey to the end zone.
Maxey collided with safety Brandon Meriweather on the play.
"We've been practicing that play for a while," Byers said. "I just took advantage of the fact that some of their defensive backs ran into each other and threw it out there."
But the Hurricanes -- who hadn't lost home games in consecutive weeks since 1996 -- rallied and led 15-10 at halftime.
Jones ran in from 4 yards out to get Miami within 10-9. After Devin Hester's 23-yard punt return gave Miami the ball at Virginia's 37 with 1:52 left in the half, Moss -- one of 18 Miami seniors -- took a short pass from Wright, broke a tackle and went 17 yards for his team-leading sixth touchdown catch of the year.
Peattie missed the point-after attempts after both of those touchdowns -- one bounced off the right upright, the other was simply wide right. Peattie made the first 99 extra points of his career, but his 0-for-2 start Saturday gave him four misses in his last eight PATs at that point.
Yet he came through on the final play of the third quarter, hitting a 30-yard field goal for an 18-10 lead. And he converted the point after following Jones' second touchdown, pushing the margin to 25-10.
"We made sure we sent our seniors off with a win," said wide receiver Darnell Jenkins. "It was real important to win it for them. Some of them might pursue their careers in the NFL. Some of them might not. We just wanted to get them a memory before they left the Orange Bowl."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Miami's Charlie Jones scored his second TD with 1:58 left in the fourth quarter to give the 'Canes a 25-10 lead.
Gameball goes to... 'Canes QB Kyle Wright, who threw for 248 yards and a TD. But more importantly, it was his 31-yard run that set up Jones' final TD.
Stat of the game... 90: The longest pass allowed in Miami history went for a UVa touchdown when Emmanuel Byers connected with fellow WR Deyon Williams for the Cavs' first score.