The Virginia football team beat Miami 41-40 Saturday at Scott Stadium, thanks in part to a historic day from quarterback Michael Rocco.
The junior QB completed 29-of-37 passes for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, including the game winner to tight end Jake McGee with :06 left in the game.
Rocco says, "Every win is nice, but the last one is always the nicest. Especially in this fashion. I'm excited and proud of our guys and I'm ready to get out there and get another one next week."
Rocco completed a school record 18 passes in a row during one stretch.
"Miami's a great defense, a great team," says Rocco. "They gave it all they've got and we had to give all we got out there. My hat goes off to them. We just game-planned right, and Coach Lazor called a great game. My job is to just throw completions, and receivers job is to catch the ball, and the linemen's job to protect. and we all did our job today, and that equals a victory."
Sophomore receiver Darius Jennings had 7 catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns.
"Michael's on fire," says Jennings. "We got two great quarterbacks. You know Phil's doing his part. Rocco's doing his part. Whomever is in the huddle, that's who we're going to play with, and Rocco definitely stepped up today."
Sophomore Phillip Sims completed 11-of-14 passes for 88 yards, and also ran for a touchdown against Miami (5-5, 4-3 ACC).
The win keeps Virginia's hopes for a bowl game alive.
Head coach Mike London says, "I'm an eternal optimist. I choose to be positive. If you can reflect that with the young men you're in charge of, and responsible for, and set the tone and atmosphere, of 'You Can,' if we do this and we do that, and accept nothing less, and believe that things can turn around. Against a very good Miami team today, we turned the corner."
Sophomore cornerback Demetrius Nicholson adds, "Staying optimistic about our season. Not hanging our heads. Our coaches are not allowing us to hang our heads one week, no matter what was going on with our season. The told us to stick together as a unit, and that's what we've been doing. Hopefully we can win November, and go to a bowl."
After a back and forth first half which saw Virginia (4-6, 2-4 ACC) leading 28-24, Miami took the lead on a touchdown reception in the 3rd quarter, and added another in the 4th.
Rocco connected with Jennings to cut the lead to three, but a UVA safety with 4:19 remaining pushed the deficit to 40-35.
The Cavalier defense was able to force a Miami punt, and Rocco drove the Wahoos 87 yards in 2:32 for the winning touchdown.
"What a blessing that is and to see something like that to come to fruition at the end of the game," says head coach Mike London. "There's been a couple times where we've come to the short end of that: a muffed punt, or interception. But to see the players and coaches be really resilient, I am just so elated, so happy for those guys."
Virginia will be back in action Thursday, as they host North Carolina at 7:30pm.
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