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ACC establishes policy on potential UM bowl ban; UM-Virginia Tech fallout

Some have asked if UM can play in the ACC title game and accept the invitation to the Orange Bowl if it wins, but self-impose a bowl ban if it loses the ACC title game.

The ACC said that would not be allowed.

Why? The ACC says its championship game is considered a postseason game. So if a team self-imposes a bowl ban, it must do so before the game.

UM said Friday it has not made a decision whether to self-impose.

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Postscripts from UM’s 30-12 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium:

### Finally, the big win this program so desperately needed. And now UM stands just two wins away (Virginia, at Duke) from its first-ever appearance in the ACC championship game, and a potential rematch with FSU.

### Al Golden, on WQAM: "This is a big win. Don't let anybody kid you. The way we did it, by being tough, by being resilient, by being physical, it's good. It wasn't perfect. Last three games, we've played better on defense. We're making some plays now. We had three takeaways, a blocked punt. We've lost the 'young' moniker.

"I know there aren't a lot of people out there that have patience. But we're going to enjoy the journey. I know what the expectations are at Miami. I live it everyday. We're going to grow together and we're going to build it."

### For as abysmal as this defense has been much of the year, it deserves an enormous amount of credit for Thursday’s effort. The pass rush was better than usual (which isn’t saying much), with Olsen Pierre recording a sack and Luther Robinson, Anthony Chickillo, Shayon Green and Tyriq McCord among those applying pressure.

The cornerbacks and safeties were very good in pass coverage, with Brandon McGee, Ladarius Gunter, AJ Highsmith and Kacy Rodgers all making nifty plays. Rodgers rebounded splendidly after his poor effort against FSU. Linebacker Jimmy Gaines had an interception late on a tipped pass. Gunter also had an interception. Freshman cornerback Tracy Howard looked good.

And Curtis Porter, appearing in his first game of the season after an appendectomy, played far more than expected and stabilized the defensive line. The Porter/Olsen Pierre tandem was solid, and that looks like Miami’s best defensive tackle tandem heading down the stretch.

"I'm very pleased to be back," Porter told WQAM. "I'm overwhelmed. Everybody did their job. We didn't have that many mistakes. I'm not at my best [conditioning-wise], but I'm getting there."

The linebackers were active. Eddie Johnson had 11 tackles, Gionni Paul 8. And Gaines played well despite being beaten for two early completions, including a 35-yarder. "Gionni played a lot more than we thought because Denzel went down," Golden said.

And UM did it despite losing two of its best defensive players - Denzel Perryman (whose ankle continues to give him problems) and Deon Bush (who missed the second half with a stinger). "Bush has cat-like closing speed," Golden said.

Of course, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas helped by fumbling near the goal line late in the third quarter. "I was in conflict whether to run base goalline or the sneak - we went with the sneak call," defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said. "Curtis Porter got a tremendous push on that."

Robinson recovered the fumble for UM.

The only huge breakdown was on Logan Thomas’ 73-yard run, when Robinson and Anthony Chickillo were obliterated by blocks, and the defensive backs couldn't catch him. "We had no vision on the quarterback from the underneath coverage," D'Onofrio said. "It was the perfect storm. You take that play out, and the run defense showed up. Then you're talking about 3 1/2 yards a carry."

UM also jumped offside three times at inopportune times, including once by Pierre and twice by DeQuan Ivery.

"Job well done," D'Onofrio said of his unit's best effort of the season. "We played 27 guys. I'm really proud of what we did. We're still making mistakes at some critical times, but we're obviously improving."

### UM’s first six offensive series of the second half produced eight – 8! – yards, with each series lasting three plays. But then everything turned with one play – Stephen Morris’ 26 yard completion to Rashawn Scott. Miami had been 0 for 9 on third downs until that point.

And credit Jedd Fisch for a nifty play call on that drive: Morris threw behind the line of scrimmage to Phillip Dorsett, who found Morris for a completion that got Miami closer, setting up Duke Johnson’s 7-yard TD run.

### Johnson closed with 217 all-purpose yards --- including an 81-yard kickoff return and 64-yard run. Malcolm Bunche had a terrific block on his long run. He had 100 yards rushing on 11 carries - the second time he has reached the 100-yard mark on the ground.

"He benefitted from the bye week," Golden said. "He had ankle and toe [injuries] and just wasn't the same. We moved him to the right side on kickoff returns and he made us look good."

### Morris played an efficient first half (9 for 15, 140 yards), then opened the second half 1 for 10 before making the big throw to Scott. ESPN's Jesse Palmer noted that at least three times, Morris did not see open receivers, opting instead to throw elsewhere with poor results.

Morris can exasperate, overthrowing Dorsett twice on deep balls when he had one-on-one coverage. But his 16-yard TD pass to Allen Hurns was an exceptional throw.

### Morris, who closed 13 for 28 for 178 yards and two touchdowns, told WQAM afterward: "It feels great, knowing they're the reigning champions of the ACC, and we did our job. We had a complete game, almost. The defense really picked us up. We've been pushing Duke to play his best game. We cannot [usually] win a big game with third-down conversions the way it was today."

Mike James had 15 carries for 50 yards.

### Scott closed with three receptions for 50 yards. Dorsett had 2 for 27 and Hurns 2 for 21.

### Terry blocked a punt. "Mike Barrow designed that pretty well, and Gabe executed it," Golden said. "We had everybody in the right gap."

### Tight end Clive Walford, who entered with 15 catches for 178 yards, had back-to-back catches of 30 and 26 yards in the first half. "I told him, 'You had a great week of practice.' I'm so happy he went up and got the ball on the first one. We've been stressing that so much with him," Morris said.

### With Eduardo Clements out for the season, Dallas Crawford made a rare appearance on offense, appearing on a Wildcat-type play in which he regrettably tried to force a throw to Dyron Dye (it was incomplete) instead of delivering a short pass to Johnson, who was open.

### ESPN announcers made note of the poor crowd, which can't help with recruiting. "There is not a home field advantage if you're Miami," Palmer said.