Brad Kaaya leads Miami to win in Russell Athletic Bowl

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (15) prepares to pass from the pocket against West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Wednesday.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)

Miami fans asked Brad Kaaya to end the school’s 10-year bowl-victory drought, and he delivered.

Now they have another request.

“One more year! One more year!” they chanted at Kaaya on Wednesday night, after he threw four touchdown passes to help Miami top No. 16 West Virginia, 31-14, in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

And it’s easy to see why they’re clamoring for the school’s most prolific quarterback to return.

Kaaya completed 24 of 34 passes for 282 yards for Miami (9-4) — and went 18 for 19 in one dazzling stretch, the lone incompletion in that span being a drop. The four TDs tied both a Miami bowl record and Kaaya’s collegiate best.

“I’ve got some soul-searching to do,” said Kaaya, who already was Miami’s career leader in passing yards and took over the No. 1 spots in attempts and completions on Wednesday.


“Regardless of if I’m here or not next season, I think this team is headed to greatness,” Kaaya added. “I think there’s a lot of good things going on and a lot of progress has been made, so I think this team will be good regardless of what happens over the next few days.”

Skyler Howard passed for 134 yards and ran for a touchdown for West Virginia (10-3), which fell to 3-17 against Miami. Kennedy McKoy also had a touchdown run for the Mountaineers, who committed 11 penalties and allowed four sacks.

West Virginia came in averaging more than 500 yards per game. Miami held the Mountaineers to 229.

“That’s the best defense we faced all year,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said.

Miami’s offense wasn’t bad, either.

The Hurricanes had lost six straight bowl games, and punted on their first six possessions Wednesday. But Kaaya finally got rolling, and Miami soon had total control.

Kaaya connected with Ahmmon Richards, Malcolm Lewis and Braxton Berrios for touchdowns in the final 6:30 of the first half to get Miami rolling, and found David Njoku for another touchdown on the first possession of the second half.

“They were ready to play,” Holgorsen said. “This meant a lot to them. Outcoached us, outplayed us on all three sides.”