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Virginia Tech backup QB Connor Blumrick bulldozed his way into the lineup against Miami

Virginia Tech backup QB Connor Blumrick bulldozed his way into the lineup against Miami

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Virginia Tech Miami Football

Virginia Tech quarterback Connor Blumrick (center) runs the ball as Miami linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. brings him down during the second half Saturday night. Blumrick ran for 132 yards on 20 carries.

MIAMI GARDENS — It was hard to tell what color uniform Virginia Tech quarterback Connor Blumrick was wearing by the end of Saturday night’s game.

Blumrick’s No. 4 jersey was caked with mud and smeared with grass stains as he walked off the field at Hard Rock Stadium after a 38-26 loss. The condition of Blumrick’s apparel highlighted how often he had the ball in his hands.

“You just kind of always be ready when your number is called,” Blumrick said after the game.

According to Blumrick, the game plan was for him to get some snaps in the first half to run the ball. He was a little surprised when he took over for starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister early in the third quarter and played a season-high 31 snaps.

Tech interim coach J.C. Price said it was Blumrick’s physical run style that inspired him to make a change after Burmeister fumbled inside the Hokies’ own 25-yard line.

“The offense was moving when Blumrick was in there,” Price said. “The threat of him being able to run and run physically, and we thought he was our best chance of moving the ball. ... Braxton’s fine. He was not injured. It’s just we decided we would go with the hot hand.”

It was Blumrick’s first game back since suffering a knee in Week 5 against Notre Dame. He returned to practice two weeks ago and was dressed out for the Duke game, but didn’t play.

He showed no signs of the injury on Saturday night as he lowered his shoulder on every carry and fought to get yardage on a rain-soaked field against a hard-hitting Miami team. He had 53 rushing yards by the half on 6.6 yards per carry.

In the second half, he was given more opportunities to throw the ball and made some nice throws, including a 7-yard completion to Kaleb Smith (it was Blumrick’s first career touchdown) and a fourth-down conversion to freshman Da’Wain Lofton.

Blumrick had only attempted five passes in his collegiate career coming into the game. He spent the previous two seasons at Texas A&M where he bounced around from tight end to running back. He was 5 of 11 on Saturday night for 39 yards with two touchdowns.

“The rain was unfortunate,” Blumrick said. “I knew what I was doing. I trust my guys out there and hope maybe I could do that some more.”

He was still most effective with that physical running style that netted five plays of 10 yards or more, including a 44-yard rush up the middle that helped set up his first touchdown. Blumrick finished with 20 carries for 132 yards and didn’t slide once.

“I feel like that’s kind of my thing,” Blumrick said. “I like putting my head down and running.”

The change at quarterback was almost enough to get Tech back into the game since Blumrick orchestrated a pair of scoring drives to cut Miami’s lead to 31-26. The Hokies even had a chance to make it a three-point game if he had converted on a two-point conversion after the second score.

Price didn’t discuss what Tech would do at quarterback going forward, but Blumrick was eager to help next week against the University of Virginia in any way he can.

“They said this is the game,” Blumrick said of his teammates. “This is the one. I’m very excited. I’m excited to get over there and beat UVa.”

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