MIAMI GARDENS — Keep it locked here for updates from the press box at Miami’s last regular-season home game, against Virginia (noon, ABC):
FINAL: Miami 44, Virginia 28
Was writing for most of the fourth quarter. Apologies for not keeping up the live blog.
Miami 31, Virginia 28 (0:21 3Q)
Miami leads for the first time.
Michael Badgley, 44-yard field goal.
That came after Virginia’s Juan Thornhill picked Malik Rosier at the 11, and Miami’s defense responded by driving UVa backward six yards and forcing a punt.
Virginia turnover on downs (6:28 3Q)
Kurt Benkert and the Hoos wanted a pass-interference call in the end zone, but Trajan Bandy wasn’t called for pushing Olamide Zaccheaus.
Virginia 28, Miami 21 (10:04 3Q)
Lawrence Cager’s 9-yard touchdown catch gave the home team some life.
Malik Rosier’s 24-yard keeper put Miami in deep field-goal range, an a critical catch by Braxton Berrios on third down (24 yards) put Miami at the 9.
Virginia 28, Miami 14 (12:21 3Q)
And just like that, people here are worried.
Kurt Benkert to Daniel Hamm, 26-yard touchdown.
Blocked Miami punt (13:26 3Q)
Malik Rosier was sacked on the first play of the second half, for a loss of 7, and Navaughn Donaldson false-started. That put the ball at the Miami 13. With his receivers locked up, Rosier scrambled for a short gain.
Charles Snowden charged in and blocked Zach Feagles’ punt, and Virginia recovered at Miami’s 21.
HALF: Virginia 21, No. 3 Miami 14
Virginia 21, Miami 14 (0:30 2Q)
Kurt Benkert dropped a 33-yard dime over the shoulder of receiver Andre Levrone. It was ruled incomplete, but overturned. Touchdown.
Benkert’s first-half stat line: 17-for-18, 263 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions. Ridiculous game for him.
Joe Reed gained 16 on a reverse, but Virginia committed a false start and narrowly avoided a delay of game call on back-to-back snaps.
Miami punt (3:40 2Q)
UM moved the chains with a second-and-4 run by DeeJay Dallas and a third-and-5 catch by Braxton Berrios, but stalled at its 45.
Virginia punt (6:43 2Q)
RJ McIntosh dropped running back for a loss of 2 yards on third down. Crowd enjoyed it.
Miami 14, Virginia 14 (9:14 2Q)
On the first play after the fumble recovery, Malik Rosier found Dayall Harris behind two defenders for a 36-yard touchdown.
Turnover Chain Pt. II (9:20 2Q)
A muffed punt was recovered by Travis Homer, the Miami starting running back. He is believed to be the first offensive player to wear the chain.
Miami’s run game , however: not established. The Hurricanes had 5 yards on their first eight carries. Rosier’s 7-yard keeper put Miami at third-and-2 from the Virginia 30.
Ahmmon Richards was swallowed up for no gain after a catch.
Virginia punt (13:23 2Q)
Miami forced a punt. Progress for the Hurricanes, who slept through the first quarter.
Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert started 12-for-12 for 188 yards and two touchdowns before a throwaway, on which he was chased by Chad Thomas.
END 1Q: Virginia 14, Miami 7
Michael Badgley kicked it out of bounds, setting UVa up at the 35.
Virginia 14, Miami 7 (0:14 1Q)
Ahmmon Richards looks healthy.
Richards, struggling all year with a hamstring injury (and ankle injury, too), caught a 10-yard touchdown, his second of the year and first since Sept. 29 at Duke.
He has three catches for 51 yards.
Jeff Thomas made a strong play, outsmarting cornerback Juan Thornhill on an underthrown 33-yard ball, to get inside the red zone.
The drive started at the Virginia 45. The Cavaliers tried an onside kick, but it didn’t appear to travel the required 10 yards before Virginia recovered. It was challenged, but remained Miami ball.
Virginia 14, Miami 0 (2:12 1Q)
In what was billed as a potential letdown game, Miami is letting down.
On third-and-4 at his own 14, Kurt Benkert was pummeled by a freely rushing Shaq Quarterman and completed an 11-yarder. Tough guy.
After that, he rolled out and hit a wide-open Joe Reed for a 75-yard touchdown pass. Cornerback Michael Jackson had the speed to close off Reed inside the 20, but Reed shook off his tackle attempt.
Benkert’s stats so far: 10-for-10, 178 yards, two touchdowns, and a tidy passer rating of 315.5.
Miami punt (4:44 1Q)
Zach Feagles used the lob wedge to set up UVa at its own 8.
First play after the turnover: Malik Rosier to Ahmmon Richards for 25 yards. A chop block credited to Travis Homer saddled Miami with first-and-20 at the Virginia 45. UM didn’t get anything from there. Rosier overthrew Braxton Berrios on a third-down try.
Turnover Chain Pt. I (6:01 1Q)
Nice touch by Miami after Michael Jackson recovered a fumble by Olamide Zaccheaus: playing “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by the entertainer of the same name.
That’s the 25th takeaway of the year for Miami, moving the Canes into a tie for fourth nationally. Of course, they are even on the day in turnover margin (still second nationally).
Miami turnover (7:22 1Q)
Restless crowd here after Virginia’s Quin Blanding came up with an interception. Shades of last year, when UVa linebacker Micah Kiser got Brad Kaaya with a pick on UM’s opening drive. (Miami won that game 34-14).
Cavaliers cornerback Juan Thornhill, draped all over receiver Jeff Thomas, shot his hand up and deflected the pass. It was Malik Rosier’s eighth interception of the year.
Miami couldn’t get the run going (Travis Homer: 2 yards on three carries), but a third-down catch by Ahmmon Richards (16 yards) got Miami to the 42.
Virginia 7, Miami 0 (9:49 1Q)
The crowd is here and loud. Miami’s defense has yet to arrive.
Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert, praised by Mark Richt this week as a tough customer, went 5-for-5 for 70 yards on a five-minute, 11-second opening drive. His 33-yard touchdown pass to Olamide Zaccheaus capped a 75-yard march down the field.
He completed a pair of throws for first downs before Trent Harris sacked him for a 3-yard loss. Operating from behind the sticks, Benkert moved the chains again, hitting tight end Evan Butts for 15. His touchdown pass to Zaccheaus came after Miami cornerback Malek Young bit on an outside-inside move.
Miami is trailing for the first time since it was down 6-0 at North Carolina on Oct. 28.
The Hurricanes won the toss and deferred. Can’t remember the last time Miami lost a coin toss. That kind of year.