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Miami poised to rise in CFP rankings after dominant win over Virginia Tech

By beating No. 13 Virginia Tech 28-10, No. 10 Miami finally has a signature win and showed it can put a team away in the process.

And now, after another Saturday of chaos, the undefeated Hurricanes are poised to rise up in the College Football Playoff rankings when the latest batch is released on Tuesday night.

It was all about the defense for the Hurricanes, too.

Virginia Tech entered Saturday night’s game putting up an average of 446.5 yards and 35.4 points per game. Miami limited the Hokies to 299 yards and 10 points while forcing four turnovers in the process.

That meant four different Hurricanes (not including Alex Rodriguez) — R.J. McIntosh, Jaquan Johnson, Jonathan Garvin and Sheldrick Redwine — got to wear Miami’s famed “turnover chain.”

Miami defensive back Amari Carter (5) sacks Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson (17) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

We’ll start with McIntosh.

There wasn’t a lot of offense in the early going, but Miami finally broke through when Malik Rosier connected with Braxton Berrios for an eight-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. After forcing a punt, Miami’s Travis Homer broke off a 64-yard rushing touchdown to increase the lead to 14-0.

Virginia Tech got on the board on its next drive with a field goal and then got the ball back when Rosier was intercepted by Adonis Alexander.

All of a sudden, the Hokies had a chance to significantly cut into the Hurricanes’ lead before halftime, but McIntosh and Johnson thought otherwise.

Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson hit Sean Savoy inside the red zone, but Johnson hit him hard and forced a fumble. The ball bounced to McIntosh, a 293-pound defensive lineman, and he reeled off a big return.

More importantly, he got to wear the turnover chain.

Miami started the second half with a 14-3 lead, but Rosier threw another interception. This time, the Hokies capitalized and scored on a Jackson touchdown run, cutting the Miami lead to 14-10.

After yet another Rosier interception later in the third, Virginia Tech decided to go for it on fourth and two from the Miami 32 and the Hurricanes defense came up with a big stop. Two plays later, Rosier found Christopher Herndon for a score on a 43-yard catch and run to make it 21-10 with seven minutes left in the third.

Early in the fourth, Miami tacked on its final score — a 13-yard Rosier run — after a ridiculous interception by Johnson.

Watch this:

Yeah, he earned the chain with that one.

Miami’s final two turnovers came as Virginia Tech made a last-gasp attempt at a comeback. Turnover No. 3 was courtesy of freshman Jonathan Garvin, who exploded around the edge and registered a strip sack before recovering the fumble for good measure.

To Virginia Tech’s credit, it fought all the way down to the wire even with the game out of reach. On the second to last play of regulation, Jackson threw to the end zone but was intercepted by Sheldrick Redwine.

He got to wear the chain for the second time this season. He had a message this time around: “Ball game.”

The celebrating then carried over into the locker room with a Gatorade bath for Mark Richt.

The win was an impressive one for Miami, which had squeaked by inferior opponents — its last four wins came by a combined 18 points — on a weekly basis before Saturday.

Now at 8-0 and 6-0 in ACC play, Miami has a firm grip on the ACC Coastal. But more importantly, the Hurricanes will move up the rankings following losses to Penn State and Ohio State on Saturday.

Miami has a chance to make an even bigger statement — and keep climbing in the rankings — next weekend when No. 3 Notre Dame comes to town.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!