3 takeaways from Miami's stunning loss to Middle Tennessee
Miami fell 45-31 to Middle Tennessee on Saturday evening.
It’s the first home loss of the Mario Cristobal era and a shocking result. The Canes were favored by more than 3 touchdowns in this game.
Here are 3 takeaways from Miami’s performance:
Tyler Van Dyke benched
Van Dyke entered the year as a Heisman hopeful, but didn’t get out of September with a full grasp on Miami’s starting quarterback job. He was benched midway through the third quarter on Saturday afternoon vs. Middle Tennessee, and the Canes’ offense was largely better without him.
Jake Garcia entered the game to plenty of applause from fans, and nearly led Miami to touchdowns on each of his first 2 drives. The second attempt fell short inside the 5-yard line as Miami’s red zone offense issues continue to be a major problem.
Tracking this quarterback controversy will be one of the more interesting storylines for the rest of Miami’s 2022 campaign. The Hurricanes have an open date in Week 5.
The defense was horrible
Miami’s offense struggling meant this game was likely to be close, but the defense’s performance meant the Canes didn’t have a chance.
Middle Tennessee’s offense made big play after big play, and Miami seemingly had no answer. Even as the Canes were trying to mount a comeback, the Blue Raiders were met with very little resistance.
Backed up near their own goal line, Middle Tennessee found a 98-yard TD pass to go up 3 scores early in the 4th quarter. Then, after Miami responded with a kickoff return touchdown, Miami’s defense yielded a long, methodical touchdown drive to put the game away for good.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Chase Cunningham threw for 408 yards. The Blue Raiders also cleared 100 yards on the ground and rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
The honeymoon is officially over
The Mario Cristobal era got off to a good start, but then hit a speed bump last week in College Station. But this? The pressure is about to be cranked up in Miami — and now with a quarterback controversy to manage and a defense that’s going to be low on confidence.
Cristobal will be tasked with figuring this out before ACC play begins. That’s the lone silver lining of this outcome for the Canes — they still have a chance at the ACC Coastal crown if they can get things figured out.
Miami is off next week but will face North Carolina in Week 6.