‘Canes defeat Wake Forest 52-7 in race for ACC title and BCS Bowl bid

Brock Berlin wasted no time letting the Orange Bowl crowd know that it was not going to be Wake Forest’s afternoon.

Berlin threw for a career-high 361 yards and four touchdowns as the Hurricanes scored touchdowns on their first three possessions en route to a 52-7 blowout victory. With Florida upsetting Florida State late Saturday night, a Miami win over Virginia Tech would likely clinch an ACC title and a BCS berth, and Berlin is the favorite to be the ACC Offensive Player of the Year.

Roscoe Parrish led all receivers with 141 yards and five catches, his first 100-yard game as a Hurricane. Sinorice Moss added three catches for 82 yards.

After several dropped passes in last week’s win at Virginia, Moss said the receivers felt a sense of urgency to perform against Wake Forest.

“We took it personally as a receiving corps,” Moss said. “Staying out later, catching more balls, just going after balls harder. Just doing what we have to do to make plays.”

On the first offensive play of the game, Berlin found Moss for a 42-yard completion. After recovering a fumbled snap on the next play, Berlin connected with Parrish for a 39-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

A Demon Deacon three-and-out gave Miami the ball at its own 24-yard line, and Berlin completed a 24-yard pass to Kevin Everett and a 22-yard strike to Moss before finding the diminutive wide out again for an 18-yard touchdown to make the score 14-0.

Wake Forest began to mount a drive on its next possession before quarterback Ben Mauk fumbled the ball and Greg Threat recovered it for the Hurricanes. After a 29-yard reception by Parrish, running back Frank Gore took over, finishing the drive with a one-yard plunge into the end zone. Gore finished with 88 yards on 13 carries.

Miami’s scoring binge subsided until the 7:56 mark of the second quarter when Berlin hit Lance Leggett in stride for a 56-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead. Wake Forest responded with its best drive of the afternoon, covering 80 yards in 13 plays, capped off by ACC-leading rusher Chris Barclay scoring a seven-yard touchdown to bring the Demon Deacons within 21 points.

That was as close as Wake Forest would get, as Rashaun Jones blocked Ryan Plackemeier’s punt and recovered it in the end zone to put Miami up 35-7. Berlin would add another touchdown pass, this time to Ryan Moore, before giving the ball to Derrick Crudup midway through the third quarter.

A 34-yard Jon Peattie field goal and Andrew Johnson’s three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter made the final score 52-7, marking the first time the Demon Deacons have lost by more than seven points this season.

Head Coach Larry Coker said the Hurricanes focused on playing a complete game without letting up at any point in the contest.

“This was the type of game we needed,” Coker said. “Starters played very hard. I think offense, defense and special teams contributed. We have a saying that we want to finish. I think certainly we did a good job of finishing today.”

The Hurricanes have two weeks to prepare for Virginia Tech, who crushed Miami last season in Blacksburg, Va. Coker said the team will relax during Thanksgiving before getting back to work.

“Well, we’re going to work on ham and turkey,” Coker joked. “Not necessarily in that order… Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we’ll practice. We’ll have a normal week for Virginia Tech.”

Eric Kalis can be contacted at e.kalis@umiami.edu.