The Miami Hurricanes had too many dropped passes and penalties. They also had Frank Costa and a swarming defense.
Costa passed for 265 yards and the Hurricanes forced five turnovers Saturday in a sloppy 21-2 victory over Virginia Tech.
“We’re stopping ourselves with penalties and dropped balls, which is uncharacteristic of University of Miami teams in the past,” Costa said. “For two games we’ve been dropping balls, and we just can’t have it.”
The third-ranked Hurricanes nonetheless improved to 2-0 overall and in the Big East Conference.
The Hokies (2-1, 1-1), who rolled up 675 yards a week ago in a 63-21 victory at Pittsburgh, advanced inside Miami’s 20 only once.
“I’m disappointed with how we played on offense and encouraged with how we played on defense,” Miami Coach Dennis Erickson said. “I guess that leaves me level.”
Bothered by Virginia Tech’s constant blitzing, the Hurricanes’ offense was slowed for much of the game. But two interceptions, two fumbles and a muffed punt return by the Hokies ruined any chance of an upset.
Costa, who completed 19 of 37 passes with no interceptions, connected with A.C. Tellison for a 45-yard touchdown pass play, and the Hurricanes scored on fourth-down, one-yard runs by Larry Jones and Derrick Harris. The touchdown runs capped drives of 85 and 80 yards.
Virginia Tech’s only score came on a safety with 4:35 left when Willie Wilkins blocked Mike Crissy’s punt and the ball rolled out of the end zone. Miami limited the Hokies to 176 yards.
The only points of the first half came on the opening possession. Miami’s 20-play, 85-yard touchdown drive took 11 minutes, and the Hurricanes overcame three penalties and converted four third-down situations to set up Jones’ dive over the middle.
Virginia Tech limited Miami to 32 yards the rest of the half and recovered two fumbles.
The Hurricanes then struck quickly on their first possession of the third quarter. Tellison ran a short pattern over the middle, caught Costa’s pass in stride and ran the final 30 yards to score.
The Hokies’ best threat came late in the third quarter, when they reached the Miami 18 before Dexter Seigler intercepted Jim Druckenmiller’s third-down pass. With an interception in his fifth consecutive game, Seigler tied a school record set by Bennie Blades in 1986-87.
The Hokies pressured Costa constantly and sacked him four times.
The Hurricanes extended several winning streaks. They’ve won 52 games in a row at the Orange Bowl, 29 consecutive regular-season games and 59 straight over unranked opponents.