Freshman quarterback Jacory Harris might’ve led the Hurricanes out of the tunnel before Saturday’s homecoming game, but it was starting quarterback Robert Marve who ran Miami to victory.
Marve orchestrated the go-ahead seven-play, 65-yard drive during the third quarter as the Canes defeated Wake Forest 16-10 at Dolphin Stadium.
Two plays after scrambling for 43 yards to the three-yard line, Marve reached the end zone on a quarterback sneak to give Miami (5-2, 2-2) its first lead, 13-10.
The run was the longest by a Hurricane quarterback since Ryan Collins’s 51-yard touchdown dash in 1993 against Temple.
“I felt like there were just a lot of fast guys around me,” Marve said. “I just try to keep going forward and make a play. I was happy I was able to show my running ability a little bit this game.”
The redshirt freshman finished the game 11-for-20 with 153 yards passing and carried the ball six times for 56 yards rushing.
“He looked like Jacory out there,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “He did a good job of executing our offense. We have two tough quarterbacks. They look frail but they really aren’t.”
Through the first quarter, however, it looked as though it would be all Wake Forest.
On their first drive, the Demon Deacons (4-3, 2-2) ran a 10-play, 66-yard drive, which resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Mike Rinfrette.
It marked the first time Miami had given up a score on an opening possession.
Wake Forest controlled the clock for 11:20 and had 118 yards. Sophomore running back Josh Adams ran 21 times for 111 yards over the course of the game.
“When they got the ball, Coach [Jim] Grobe was playing field position the whole game,” Shannon said.
UM’s defense initially failed to stop the run as Wake called 22 straight rushing plays to start the game, despite having the ACC passing leader in junior Riley Skinner.
Skinner completed just three passes on eight attempts for 57 yards.
After going three and out, Marve hit freshman receiver Travis Benjamin for a career-high 48-yard pass on the next possession for the fifth-longest play of the season.
As a team, the Canes have recorded 16 plays over 30 yards, and Benjamin has accounted for four of the six longest plays this year.
The Hurricanes settled for three as sophomore kicker Matt Bosher nailed a 36-yard field goal, his first of three, to make the score 7-3 with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
Wake Forest fired right back on third and 10 when freshman running back Brandon Pendergrass ran for 25 yards to set up a 24-yard field goal by freshman kicker Shane Popham. The lead was extended to seven at 10-3.
Outplayed in the first 30 minutes, the Hurricanes came on strong with a trick play to start the second half.
Benjamin fielded the kick and reversed to junior Sam Shields for a 45-yard return. Another 15 yards were tacked on a personal foul to start the drive at the Demon Deacon 30-yard line.
Over three plays, the offense lost four yards and Bosher connected on a career-high 52-yard field goal to cut the deficit to four at 10-6.
He later added a kick from 33 yards out and is now 12-of-13 on field goals this year.
“Each game, each kick is one in its own,” Bosher said. “I just have to go out there and do what I have to do. If the hold and snap are good, which I know they will be, I just need to go out there and do my job.”
In the second half, Miami’s defense held Wake Forest to 68 total yards.
“I think our young guys did a lot of great things and our older guys also responded by making some great plays for us,” Shannon said. “I thought in the second half defensively, we did a lot of great things.”
The closest the Demon Deacons came to scoring the rest of the game came on a 40-yard missed field goal with 5:47 left to play.
With the victory, the Canes tied last year’s win total and need just one more to qualify for a bowl game. It also marked the first time UM has won consecutive league games since Oct. 2006.
Last season, however, the Hurricanes started off 4-1 before losing six of their last seven.
Miami heads to Virginia to face the Cavaliers (5-3, 3-1) next Saturday at noon.
“It was tough today,” Shannon said. “It was a tremendous effort on both sides of the football and on special teams. These guys keep getting more experience and they’re not babies anymore. They’re more mature and understand what we need to get done.”