Miami vs. Virginia Tech was one bizarre football game. The ACC Coastal match-up featured a first quarter quarterback benching, compounding turnovers, a player barfing on the field right before a play, a massive comeback, the network cutting away from the game before it was over, and a successful hail mary. That last part got the ESPN broadcast duo of Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek some heat from Virginia Tech fans.
Virginia Tech went up big on The U, after the Hurricanes managed to turn the ball over five times in their first six drives. Heading into the last play of the first half, Miami faced a 28-0 deficit, and looked pretty dump for all intents and purposes.
Things started to turn around on the last play of the first half. N’Kosi Perry, who replaced Jarrett Williams after his disastrous start, let go a long Hail Mary, which was hauled in by Mark Pope for a touchdown to cut VT’s lead to 28-7.
Miami pulls off the Hail Mary TD right before halftime 😱pic.twitter.com/Wq8dVEdI55
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 5, 2019
The play clearly gave Miami a bit of life. After forcing a punt, Miami scored on its first drive of the second half, and wound up tying the game at 35 late in the game. They scored touchdowns on all but three drives in the second half to get back into the game.
After coming back from a break, ESPN showed the booth reaction to the Hail Mary. Dvoracek was very fired up, and high-fived Jones after his call.
Here they are high-fiving after the Miami Hail Mary TD earlier pic.twitter.com/l244OAiIEo
— Cameron Overton (@coverton_) October 5, 2019
Virginia Tech fans were very angry with the broadcast throughout the game, accusing the pair of Miami homerism. To Hokies, this Hail Mary, which seemed like it wouldn’t have a huge impact at the time, was the prime example.
There were plenty of accusations of unprofessionalism being lobbed their way throughout the game.
As someone with a journalism degree, if I went into a courtroom and high-fived my co-worker after a judge hands down a life sentence in a murder trial, I’d be fired.
Not advocating he be fired, but they took a dump all over professionalism with that move.
— Ryan Dye (@Ryan4VT) October 6, 2019
That referee crew and Dusty Dvoracek should never work in this business again
— Nick (@VTBox) October 5, 2019
— Play Ball! (@boomerfan15) October 5, 2019
— Sharon Conner (@sc2713) October 5, 2019
After the game, Dvoracek took to Twitter to defend his excitement. He responded to an Awful Announcing article about various issues during the ESPN Miami-VT broadcast, saying it was his first time seeing a Hail Mary live, and he was excited.
1st Hail Mary I’ve ever seen live in all my life being around football, let alone in a game Im calling.I get excited when I call a game.Especially when big plays happen.I’m not gonna apologize for that. Congrats to @HokiesFB on the win.The venom coming my way hurts and is trash https://t.co/HORfBFLlu8
— Dusty Dvoracek (@DustyDvoracek) October 6, 2019
That’s pretty understandable, honestly. Dvoracek is an Oklahoma alum, while Jones went to York University in his native Toronto. Neither is a ‘Cane, and if they were, plenty of broadcasters call their alma maters’ games without issue.
To that point, both probably thought they were going to have to sit through a 48-7 slog. Calling a blowout can’t possibly be fun, so it seems reasonable that they were excited about the prospect of the game gaining some steam. As it turns out, they were right, as Miami had a chance to tie the game on its final play.
The Hokies picked up a much needed 42-35 win, after a pretty huge collapse. That should be the bigger focus coming out of Blacksburg.