COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Bryan Pata would have been proud.
Playing five days after the shooting death of their senior leader, the emotionally drained Miami Hurricanes played valiantly before succumbing to No. 23 Maryland 14-13 Saturday.
Miami fell behind 14-0 early in the second quarter, then fought back behind a determined defense and the prowess of backup quarterback Kirby Freeman, making his first career start in place of injured starter Kyle Wright.
But Maryland (8-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) held on for its fifth straight win despite making only six first downs.
It was the third straight loss for Miami (5-5, 2-4), all to ranked opponents. The Hurricanes haven't lost three in a row since 1999.
Sam Hollenbach completed TD passes of 65 and 96 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey on Maryland's first and third possessions to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter. That was just enough offense to beat the Hurricanes, who were burdened by the death of Pata, a standout defensive lineman.
The Hurricanes decided to play the game because, as many players put it, Pata would have wanted it that way. Miami put forth an outstanding effort under extremely difficult circumstances, yet it wasn't enough.
To remember Pata, the Hurricanes wore decals with his number (95) on their helmets. Miami hoped to further honor him with a victory, but Maryland wouldn't comply.
Pata was killed outside his apartment complex after Tuesday's practice. He appeared in 41 games with the Hurricanes, starting 23, and was a big part of a unit that came in ranked third in the nation in rushing defense.
Miami's defense carried on, limiting the Terrapins to 56 yards rushing.
Hollenbach went 11-for-16 for 202 yards, and Heyward-Bey caught five passes for 175 yards.
Down 14-10, the Hurricanes held the ball for more than 10 minutes during a 77-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Jon Peattie with 11:02 left. Miami was left wanting more, however, because wide receiver Ryan Hill dropped a pass in the end zone three plays earlier.
The Hurricanes got the ball back on their 43 before Trey Covington intercepted a deflected pass at the Maryland 32 to end the drive.
Miami then forced a punt, but Bruce Johnson fumbled the kick and the Terrapins recovered before running out the clock.
NO. 20 VIRGINIA TECH 23, KENT STATE 0
In Blacksburg, Va., Brandon Pace kicked three field goals to set a school record with 19 consecutive successful attempts and No. 20 Virginia Tech posted its third shutout of the season.
Branden Ore added a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Noland Burchette returned a fumble caused by a sack 15 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Hokies (8-2), who gained only 214 yards, but allowed the Golden Flashes 182.
Kent State (5-5) managed nine first downs. The Golden Flashes did drive to the Hokies' 6 in the second half, but Michael Machen was sacked by Carlton Powell for a loss of 9 yards, and Nate Reed missed a field goal try from 32 yards.
Pace kicked field goals of 34, 37 and 24 yards for the Hokies, and now has the second-longest streak in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
On the second play after Pace's third field goal made it 16-0, Hokies defensive end Chris Ellis sacked Machen, forcing the fumble that Burchette turned into points.
Ore, who rushed for 72 yards, capped a 65-yard drive with his TD run with 10:42 left in the third quarter. The drive was highlighted by a 15-yard pass from Sean Glennon to David Clowney, and bolstered by 29 yards in penalties against Kent State.
© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us