WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Wright got the news after he
already was done for the night. He needed one more touchdown pass
for a Miami record.
"Selfishly, I wanted to go back in and get another one," the
sophomore said with a smile.
No chance. Thanks to another lopsided victory, he and the
third-ranked Hurricanes have much more important goals to chase.
Wright settled for his five touchdown passes, Charlie Jones ran
for two more scores and Miami stayed on track for a spot in the
first Atlantic Coast Conference championship game by beating Wake
Forest 47-17 Saturday.
A week after a surprisingly easy victory at Virginia Tech, the
Hurricanes (8-1, 5-1 ACC) used a quick-strike offense to avoid a
letdown in their first visit to Groves Stadium since 1971. Injured
tailback Tyrone Moss (torn ACL) and return star Devin Hester
(hamstring strain) hardly were missed as Miami piled up 515 yards
"Kyle Wright really had a great day," Miami coach Larry Coker
said. "Guys really stepped up for him. But there's a lot of things
we have to get better at."
And now he can think about more than simply a conference title.
With Alabama's overtime loss to LSU, the Hurricanes should move
past the Crimson Tide to third in the Bowl Championship Series
"A lot of things have to go our way, but I think we're still in
the hunt for the whole thing," Coker said.
Wright finished 17-for-27 for 319 yards and Jones rushed for 90
more, yet it wasn't quite as easy as the final margin indicated.
The Demon Deacons (4-7, 3-5) completed their third straight losing
season with an inspired effort, taking a 17-14 lead late in the
second quarter on a 7-yard run by Chris Barclay.
Wright responded on the third play of the ensuing possession
with his first TD toss, waiting patiently in the pocket for
Sinorice Moss to break open in the middle of Wake Forest's zone.
The pass led Moss perfectly and he outran the secondary untouched
for a 64-yard score to give the Hurricanes the lead for good, even
though Jon Peattie's extra-point bounced off the left upright.
"Athlete-wise, across the board, we definitely had the
advantage, and that showed," Wright said. "It really came down to
athletes -- they're good and tough, and they played hard. But our
guys handled them up front, and our wide receivers made the
An interception by Kelly Jennings -- the first of six turnovers
for the Deacons -- set up Miami again, and Wright needed four plays
to drive his team 28 yards. A wide receiver screen to Darnell
Jenkins covered the final 11 and made it 27-17.
Barclay fumbled on the first play following the kickoff and
Wright connected with Ryan Moore for a 15-yard touchdown to
complete the scoring binge, giving the Hurricanes a 34-17 halftime
lead. Each of those three scoring drives took less than 60 seconds.
"You don't have a chance to stay close to these guys if you
don't take care of the ball," Deacons coach Jim Grobe said. "That
was the story of the night. We were playing well enough from a
scheme standpoint to stay with them."
The third quarter was more of the same. Wright completely fooled
Wake Forest by faking a screen to Jenkins, and Lance Leggett got
behind the defense to haul in another beautiful pass for a 76-yard
score. Wright got his fifth TD pass with a 10-yarder to tight end
Greg Olsen, tying the mark set by Ken Dorsey, Steve Walsh, Bernie
Kosar and Brock Berlin.
Wright left for good with 11 minutes remaining, allowing backup
Kirby Freeman to finish out the blowout. Miami needs to beat
Georgia Tech and Virginia to set up a rematch with Florida State in
the ACC title game, and both of those remaining regular-season
games are in the Orange Bowl.
"We're right where we want to be record-wise, so we've just got
to keep winning," Wright said. "We can't control what everyone
The Deacons again won't have a postseason, but there were a
couple of highlights in the lopsided loss. Despite two fumbles,
Barclay became only the third player in conference history to rush
for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in a career. He had 105 yards
against the top-ranked defense in the country and will lead the ACC
in rushing for the third straight season.
And punter Ryan Plackemeier cemented his spot as the NCAA's
all-time leader by averaging 46 yards on five kicks, including a
62-yarder in the third quarter. That was his 13th of the season of
at least 60 yards.
"I was a little disappointed in my performance, fumbling
twice," Barclay said. "That's something that I take pride in. It
was just disastrous."