MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Deshawn McClease's 3-yard run with 1:03 remaining capped a wild back-and-forth final few minutes and gave Virginia Tech a 42-35 win over Miami on Saturday, in a game where the Hokies wasted a 28-point lead.
Dalton Keene caught three touchdown passes for the Hokies (3-2, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who went up 28-0 in the first half and led 35-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
That's before Miami scored three touchdowns in less than four minutes to tie the game — oddly going for a two-point conversion after the second of those scores, then having kicker Bubba Baxa miss an extra point after Deejay Dallas' 62-yard run with 3:16 left tied the game.
But the Hokies needed only five plays to go 63 yards to take the lead. McClease's 3-yard run capped the drive, with Keene's 26-yard catch on third down putting the Hokies on the doorstep.
Miami's final drive got to the Virginia Tech 10 with 5 seconds left, but N'Kosi Perry — who was brilliant in relief for the Hurricanes, throwing for a career-best 422 yards and a career-high-tying four touchdowns — had his final two throws to the end zone get knocked away.
The Hurricanes lost despite outgaining the Hokies 563-337. Jeff Thomas had two touchdown catches and 124 receiving yards for Miami, and Brevin Jordan had a TD grab to go along with 136 receiving yards.
It was a wild end to a wild game, one where Virginia Tech forced five turnovers — including one on each of Miami's first four possessions — and got a strong first career start from quarterback Hendon Hooker. He was 10 of 20 passing for 184 yards and three touchdowns.
The Hokies were two-touchdown underdogs, had lost six of their last seven ACC games and were coming off a 45-10 home loss to Duke.
No matter. They dominated the turnover battle, posted a season-high seven sacks, had the 28-0 lead before Miami's Mark Pope caught a deflected pass in the end zone on the final play of the half — and then found a way to win after Miami's huge rally.
Perry relieved starter Jarren Williams and completed 28 of 47 passes. Williams didn't have any of his seven passes hit the ground — problem was, only four were caught by Hurricanes, the other three by Hokies for interceptions, and he failed to make it out of the first quarter.
The Hurricanes are still off to their worst five-game start since also going 2-3 in 2011, Al Golden's first season at Miami.
New Miami coach Manny Diaz now has the same record in his first season at the Hurricanes' helm, and even got booed by the home fans when his face appeared on the giant video screens around the stadium in the second quarter.
Miami was bidding for what would have tied the largest comeback win in school history. The Hurricanes were down 28-0 before topping Boston College in 1999.