Miami ends miserable half on a Hail Mary high note

Sam Cooper
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14:  N'Kosi Perry #5 of the Miami Hurricanes looks on against the Bethune Cookman Wildcats at Hard Rock Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Miami QB N'Kosi Perry connected on a Hail Mary touchdown pass to end the first half vs. Virginia Tech. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Miami had a miserable first half against Virginia Tech, but it ended on a positive note.

Miami’s offense, already with five turnovers to its credit, got on the board for the first time with no time left on the first-half clock. N’Kosi Perry, on in relief of ineffective starter Jarren Williams, lobbed a Hail Mary into traffic and somehow found Mark Pope for a 38-yard touchdown, cutting VT’s lead to 28-7 at the break.

(via ESPN)
(via ESPN)

Perry threw the ball high into a crowd, but none of the Virginia Tech defenders in the area were able to knock it to the turf. Instead, the ball bounced into the air, where Pope was in the right place at the right time for his first career touchdown.

Here’s another look:

(via ESPN)
(via ESPN)

Miami will take anything it can get after playing that bad of a half. Miami’s first three drives of the game ended with Williams interceptions, two of which resulted in short touchdown drives for VT. The third touchdown of the first quarter for the Hokies came after a Miami fumble.

Virginia Tech’s lead was 28-0 by early in the second quarter. By that point Williams had been benched for Perry, but things didn’t get much better. Perry hit Brevin Jordan for a 51-yard gain to set up first-and-goal, only to throw an interception — Miami’s fourth of the half — a few plays later.

Perry, though, would go into halftime with some positive vibes thanks to his improbable scoring connection with Pope. Perry, who started much of the 2018 season, finished the half 9-of-15 for 170 yards — far better than Williams statline: 4-of-7 for 47 yards and three INTs.

Miami staged wild comeback, still lost

The Hail Mary gave Miami some momentum going into the second half, but VT would expand its lead to 35-14 early in the fourth. But Miami did not give in. Somewhat miraculously, the Hurricanes came all the way back and tied the game at 35-35 with 3:16 to play. On top of that, Miami would have taken a one-point lead, but Bubba Baxa missed the extra point.

The lead did not last long. Virginia Tech marched right down the field and re-took the lead on the ensuing drive. Miami would get one last possession, but the two shots it had from the 10-yard line in the final seconds fell incomplete and the Hokies escaped with a 42-35 win.

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