MIAMI — Javarris James ran for a touchdown, Matt Bosher kicked three field goals, and Miami got a huge defensive stand in the final minutes to beat Virginia Tech 16-14 on Thursday and move into first place in the ACC's Coastal Division.
Marcus Robinson had three sacks and a third-down tackle for a loss with 2:27 left to help the Hurricanes win their fifth straight.
Robinson's stop on Dustin Pickle forced the Hokies, who were out of timeouts, into fourth and 3, and Allen Bailey sacked Tyrod Taylor to seal it.
Taylor ran for two touchdowns, including a 6-yarder with 3:28 remaining for the Hokies (6-4, 3-3), who had won four of the past five meetings against the Hurricanes but now essentially need a miracle to stay in the ACC title picture.
So for now, Miami (7-3, 4-2) holds the outright lead in the ACC Coastal, a half-game ahead of North Carolina, which will need to win Saturday at Maryland to keep pace in the race for a trip to the league title game in Tampa.
Plant High graduate Robert Marve threw for 121 yards and rushed for 44 more for the Hurricanes, who won just five games total last season and started 0-2 in the ACC this year — yet have been the league's hottest team since.
And it was the defense that carried the 'Canes once again.
Miami ran 20 plays from scrimmage in the third quarter compared with six by Virginia Tech, which never advanced the ball farther than its 18 in the quarter.
Over the past five games, the Hurricanes defense has been on the field for 76 plays in third quarters and given up a mere 139 yards, a 1.8 yard-per-play average.
And with defense like that, Miami didn't necessarily mind settling for field goals to stretch the lead.
Bosher connected from 21 and 31 yards in the third then added a 23-yarder early in the fourth for a 16-7 advantage.
Needing two scores at that point and with time running short, the Hokies looked for a big play — and nearly got it.
Taylor's pass to Dyrell Roberts on a stop-and-go route was perfect, but Roberts dropped the ball inside the Miami 20 with 7:34 left, a play in which he could have easily beaten Chavez Grant for a touchdown.
Virginia Tech eventually got Taylor's second touchdown run on that drive, but 4:06 after the big drop, time that the Hokies could have used at the end.
James capped a 76-yard, 12-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown burst late in the first quarter.
Miami caught two big breaks on that drive, one when Orion Martin was penalized 15 yards for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Marve on what was a failed third-down pass, the other when Marve's fumble inside the Virginia Tech 10 was recovered by Hurricanes receiver LaRon Byrd.
Virginia Tech's out-of-synch offense eventually found a way to respond.
The Hokies started the season with Sean Glennon as the starting quarterback, went to Taylor then endured both of them being hurt.
And the Hokies' wacky season at quarterback continued Thursday. Glennon and Taylor alternated often and with a direct snap to tight end Greg Boone in the "Wildcat" formation had three different players behind the center in as many plays on the drive after Miami's first score.
Eventually, Taylor broke through, his 14-yard run through the right side tying the score with 4:54 left in the half.
But the Hokies stumbled quite a bit offensively from there, and Miami did enough to hold on.
Clemson, ex-Raiders coach reportedly talk
CLEMSON, S.C. — Former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin met with Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips last week about the coaching vacancy, ESPN.com and the State of Columbia, S.C., reported. Phillips declined to comment, and a call to Kiffin's agent was not immediately returned. Clemson is seeking to replace Tommy Bowden, who stepped down last month. Interim coach Dabo Swinney is 1-2.
Charlotte: The board of trustees voted to accept chancellor Philip Dubois' recommendation of starting a program by 2013. But the school must raise about $45-million to pay for coaches, scholarships and a 12,000-seat, on-campus stadium. That might pose a problem because the city of Charlotte, the second-largest banking center in the country, has been hit hard by the financial crisis.
West Virginia: Maxwell Anderson, a tight end, and Jeremy Kash, the holder on kicks, were charged with battery stemming from a fight at a Morgantown bar Oct. 25. Arraignment for the misdemeanors is scheduled for Dec. 3, and coach Bill Stewart said he hasn't decided on disciplining the two.