Miami football: Enough blame to go around after horrid loss to NC State
Tyler Van Dyke has lost his confidence.
The Miami Hurricanes, meanwhile, have lost their way.
Saturday night’s 20-6 loss at NC State was embarrassing as the Hurricanes failed to get into the end zone.
Miami produced just 3 points in 3 trips to the red zone.
Van Dyke, by the way, has been intercepted 10 times in his past 4 games.
All of that is shocking for a Miami program that was ranked in the top 20 less than one month ago.
Since then, however, the Hurricanes have lost 3 of 5 games – and their only 2 wins in that span required overtime.
Miami (6-3 overall, 2-3 ACC) is bowl eligible, but that’s a low bar. The Hurricanes will travel to Tallahassee to face No. 4-ranked Florida State (9-0) next Saturday.
The Hurricanes will be massive underdogs to beat their biggest rival.
A Miami win would shock college football, and it would – presumably – help the Hurricanes immensely in recruiting.
But let’s face it: a victory over FSU, the way Miami has looked in the ACC this season, is a longshot.
In reality, we’re looking at an 8-5 season or perhaps even 7-6.
Miami’s loss on Saturday was sad for the Hurricanes’ defense, which was outstanding for most of the night.
But then again, there was enough blame to go around:
Van Dyke: He was intercepted 3 times and lost a fumble. As stated above, he appears to have lost his swagger. He looks tentative.
Perhaps his worst mistake came when Miami – with a likely field goal already in the bag – called for a pass on 3rd-and-9. The NC State defensive back seemed to bait Van Dyke, allowing the receiver to get behind him … only to retreat and extend to make the pick.
Van Dyke needed to lob the ball in that spot, but he instead tried to rip it in there.
“I had to put that one in the back of the end zone,” Van Dyke admitted.
Miami went 4-for-15 on 3rd down, and that was largely on Van Dyke.
Andres Borregales: The Miami kicker who had only missed 1 field goal all year, misfired in a key spot on Saturday, hooking a 45-yarder. Had he made that kick, Miami could have gone for a go-ahead field goal with 5:13 left in the game.
Coaching: State scored just 1 touchdown and 10 points total in the first 45 minutes of the game. But that TD came largely due to a 36-yard catch-and-run by KC Concepcion.
That comes under the heading of “coaching” because N.C. State ran an odd alignment with half its team on the left side of the field and the other half on the right.
Miami was seemingly caught off guard, and Concepcion took a 1-yard toss and broke through the Hurricanes’ defense.
Four plays later, State scored on a 12-yard pass to Jordan Poole, who was converted from linebacker to fullback roughly one month ago.
Poole was essentially uncovered, and it fed into the thought that Miami’s coaches were caught by surprise.
Also, when Miami was stopped on downs, State’s perimeter players crashed down on freshman running back Mark Fletcher Jr., stopping him for no gain. Had Van Dyke faked the hand-off, he could’ve walked in to his left, although making that type of decision – either by the coaches or the QB in the moment – would’ve been incredibly courageous.
Defense: Miami dominated State for most of the night. But after Fletcher was stopped at the State 3-yard line, Miami still trailed only 10-6.
Had the Hurricanes stopped the Wolfpack on a 3-and-out, Miami would’ve had the ball at midfield if not closer, positioned for a go-ahead touchdown.
Instead, inexplicably, Miami allowed an 8-play, 97-yard touchdown drive.
Two 3rd-down conversions doomed Miami. On the first, on 3rd-and-7, MJ Morris completed a 16-yard pass to Concepcion over a Miami linebacker.
On the second, backup quarterback Brennan Armstrong converted a 3rd-and-2 with a 15-yard run. A roughing call tacked on 15 more yards, and Kendrick Raphael’s 31-yard run later in the drive nailed the game shut.
Miami’s tight ends: Cam McCormick has been praised for his blocking, but he has dropped more passes than he has caught this season, and it happened 2 more times Saturday. Freshman tight end Riley Williams also had a drop.
The biggest bright spot for Miami on Saturday was the play of Fletcher, who rushed for a career-high 115 yards and a 6.0 average. He is a load to tackle.
Defensively, Miami had a lot of standouts, including safety Kam Kinchens, who had his 10th career interception; safety James Williams, who had some big hits; linebacker Francisco Mauigoa, who had 1.5 tackles for losses (including 1 sack); and cornerback Jaden Davis, who blitzed and had a strip sack.
Miami’s defensive line was active. Rueben Bain had a tackle for loss and drew at least one holding penalty. Jared Harrison-Hunte was in the backfield often, and Jacob Lichtenstein also had a TFL.
Bright spots in yet another dreary performance.