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Dr. Saturday

Upstart Virginia continues to prove its critics wrong

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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Virginia 28, Miami 21.
I'm not sure many people would have since this coming at the beginning of the season, but don't look now: Virginia is one game away from bowl eligibility .

No one this summer could have forecast the upsets of Georgia Tech and, on Thursday night, Miami to put the Cavaliers in a position to return to the postseason for the first time since 2007 in coach Mike London's second year. In July, Virginia was picked to finish last in the ACC's Coastal Division, well behind Miami, which was picked to finish second. But as they did a year ago, the Cavaliers found a way to beat the Hurricanes to end a seven-game slide in ACC road games, and it was by using a few tricks against them.

The Cavaliers used two trick plays - a fake field goal and a halfback pass - and a little luck - a Jacory Harris fumble that slipped out of his hand while he was cocking his arm back to pass - to account for 17 of their 28 points and put Miami on its heels. And though Harris, who has had something of a renaissance this year as a senior, completed 70 percent of his passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns, and Tommy Streeter caught seven passes for a career-high 176 yards and two scores, it wasn't enough to overcome Virginia's moxie and confidence, which was evident from the opening kick.

Now, it's probably too big of a task for Virginia to challenge for the ACC Coastal title, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility — especially with games against Maryland and Duke coming up before the Cavaliers' final two games against heavier hitters Florida State and Virginia Tech. The Hokies are the runaway favorite to win the division, but the way Virginia has willed its way to wins against teams that (on paper, anyway) seem clearly superior, seeing the Cavaliers play for the division title against its rival would be fitting the way this year has played out.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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