MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Mark Fletcher hadn’t carried the football in more than a month for Miami. In his comeback, he gave Miami another overtime moment to savor.
Fletcher’s 11-yard rush — his first touchdown since Week 1, after he missed more than four weeks with a foot injury — ended overtime and the Hurricanes rallied past Virginia 29-26 on Saturday. It was the second consecutive OT win for Miami, which got a last-play stop to beat Clemson 28-20 last week.
This time, it was the offense that delivered at the end — and it was all Fletcher in the extra session. Miami ran three plays, giving the ball to the freshman for all of them, and rushes of 9 and 5 yards preceded the gamewinner.
“Feels great to be back, and to make an impact like that," Fletcher said.
Miami also became bowl eligible. The Hurricanes went 5-7 last season, and have now surpassed that win total.
“Progress,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said, “and a long way to go.”
Andy Borregales kicked three field goals for Miami (6-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which needed OT to beat Virginia for the second consecutive year. The Hurricanes topped the Cavaliers 14-12 in four OTs last year, a duel where Borregales and Will Bettridge — a pair of South Florida natives — each kicked four field goals.
Bettridge kicked four more on Saturday, including one to cap the first possession of overtime, but it wasn't enough for Virginia (2-6, 1-3). Borregales forced OT last season at Virginia by making a chip shot with no time left, and had a pair of game-tying kicks — from 50 and 48 yards — in the fourth quarter Saturday.
"Thank God for Andy Borregales," Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said. “I think without him, we would have lost the game.”
Tony Muskett threw for 239 yards and Mike Hollins — who was injured in the shooting that killed three Virginia players last year — ran for two scores for Virginia (2-6, 1-3), which outgained Miami 377-276 and didn't commit a penalty.
“It’s a hurting football team," Virginia coach Tony Elliott said. “They care. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t show up every single week. You think about kind of the world they live in, especially everything that happened last year, a lot of people probably would tell them ‘Why would you?’”
Ajay Allen hurdled a Virginia defender on the way to the end zone on a third-quarter TD run for Miami, and Kam Kinchens ran back an interception for a score 7 seconds later for the Hurricanes.
Hollins — who has five TDs in his last two games, the first three coming in last weekend's win over North Carolina — opened the scoring for Virginia, and his second TD run came late in the third to put the Cavaliers up 20-17. Bettidge made a tie-breaking field goal in both the fourth quarter and OT.
“We just respond," said Muskett, who was 24 of 38 passing with 12 of those completions — for 152 yards — going to Malik Washington. “We’ve done it all season. If things don’t go our way, we come right back.”
Virginia: It was the third time this season — all on the road — that the Cavaliers had a double-digit lead before the opponent got on the scoreboard. They’re now 0-3 in those games. Virginia led Maryland 14-0 before falling 42-14, and led Boston College 14-0 before falling 27-24.
Miami: Van Dyke has seven interceptions and five touchdown passes in his last three games. He had eight interceptions (with 34 TD passes) in his last 17 games played entering this stretch. He was 20 of 30 for 163 yards, no TDs and two interceptions Saturday. “Obviously, I did not play well at all,” Van Dyke said.
Miami was fourth in ‘also receiving votes’ last week behind Florida (which lost 43-20 to No. 1 Georgia), Liberty (moved to 8-0 with a 42-29 win over Western Kentucky on Tuesday) and Kansas State (moved to 6-2 with a 41-0 win over Houston).
ANOTHER CLOSE ONE
It marked the sixth consecutive instance of a Miami-Virginia game being decided by eight points or less. Miami was an 18.5-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Virginia: Host Georgia Tech on Nov. 4.
Miami: Visit N.C. State on Nov. 4.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football