- - Thursday, October 27, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami’s feared teams of decades past claimed that they played with “swagger.”

Virginia coach Mike London pointed out recently that “kids now just say swag.”

Modern times call for a modern coach, and London is making his case for the job. He emptied his bag of tricks Thursday night, and his Cavaliers squeaked out a 28-21 victory against the Hurricanes.

It was two parts fundamentals, one part imagination.

Michael Rocco picked apart the Hurricanes blitz, LaRoy Reynolds made a key fourth-down stop, and, among other things, running back Perry Jones threw the ball 45 yards in the air with pinpoint accuracy for a touchdown.

London made no secret about his desire to make a statement in a nationally televised game.

Now the team that stumbled to losses against Southern Miss and N.C. State can boast a pair of high-profile victories against Georgia Tech and Miami.

The bigger the game, the better the Wahoos.

Jones, a junior who rarely draws the spotlight, finished off a big day with a 78-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter just as Miami was building momentum.

Reynolds forced a turnover minutes later with a fourth-and-1 stop deep in U.Va. territory.

The Cavaliers (5-3, 2-2 ACC) used a bruising rushing attack to set the tone in the third quarter, with true freshman Clifton Richardson finding a more regular spot in the rotation alongside Jones and Kevin Parks.

Miami (4-4, 2-3) did not go quietly, though. After self-destructing with embarrassing penalties all day, an injured Jacory Harris turned in a gutsy fourth-quarter touchdown drive to start a comeback attempt.

It made U.Va. regret two red-zone appearances in the third quarter that turned into just three points.

All of a sudden, a game that looked forgettable earlier in the week had turned into must-see TV, a boisterous battle between two teams looking to forge an identity.

The Hurricanes had the ball, down by a touchdown, with 7 minutes to play in the game. They drove to the Virginia 14, including a fourth-down conversion, by winning battles on the offensive line.

Story Continues →