Miami football: Stock report after Week 3
The Miami Hurricanes’ 48-7 win against outclassed Bethune-Cookman served as a tune-up for a schedule that soon will rev up again.
Miami will play at mid-major Temple on Sept. 23 before the Hurricanes begin their ACC schedule Oct. 7 against visiting Georgia Tech.
However, there’s no denying Miami is off to a good start at 3-0, and the same goes for the ACC, which has a 4-1 record against the vaunted SEC so far this season. That latter stat includes Miami’s victory over Texas A&M, Florida State’s win against LSU and North Carolina taking care of South Carolina.
Here is the breakdown of Thursday’s win against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats:
Players of the Week: The award goes to roommates Tyler Van Dyke and Xavier Restrepo. Van Dyke was nearly flawless, completing 19 of 23 passes for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. Restrepo had game highs in catches (6) and yards (120). Some of those receptions were tightly contested up the middle and down the sidelines. He also had an impressive 19-yard punt return, breaking tackles.
For the season, Van Dyke has completed 76% percent of his passes for 822 yards, 8 touchdowns and just 1 interception.
Restrepo has made 17 receptions for 314 yards.
Freshman of the Week: Backup quarterback Emory Williams is the obvious choice. He seems incredibly poised for his age, completing 9 of 11 passes for 102 yards Thursday. Williams has great size at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds and a strong arm, but he also showed toughness, taking a couple of hard hits by Bethune-Cookman defenders.
After the game, Williams talked about the need to get rid of the ball quicker, which shows he is self-aware.
Aside from Williams, several other Canes freshmen made impressions, including running back Chris Johnson Jr., starting right tackle Francis Mauigoa and defensive end Jayden Wayne.
Johnson made his Canes debut, rushing for 40 yards on 7 carries. His biggest play was a 21-yard touchdown run to his right. He broke 2 tackles near the line of scrimmage, used his speed to get pass a 3rd would-be tackler and then broke a tackle near the goal line as he got to the right pylon.
Mauigoa was mauling defenders all night, and Wayne tied for the team lead with 4 tackles.
Biggest surprise: Van Dyke running the ball twice on the opening drive was shocking, given the risk of injury in a game that was expected to be – and indeed was – a blowout. The good news for Miami is Van Dyke escaped unharmed, and he looked good doing it, scoring on a 10-yard run/pass-option play.
Biggest concern: Nothing much. While the starters were in for the 1st half, very little went wrong. Miami committed just 5 penalties for 34 yards. Colbie Young fumbled, but the hit that caused the turnover appeared to be helmet-to-helmet, although replay officials disagreed. The worst mistake was Andres Borregales missing an extra-point attempt. But Borregales can’t be labeled as a “concern.” He makes a high percentage of his kicks, and Thursday’s miss probably was just a blip on the radar.
Developing trend: Miami’s tackling is vastly better this season when compared to 2022. An example Thursday was linebacker Francisco Mauigoa’s textbook tackle that caused a fumble that was recovered by Miami’s Jacob Lichtenstein. Another example was a spectacular hit by defensive end Jahfari Harvey, whose tackle essentially blasted the helmet off the running back. Example 3: Freshman end Wayne made a great stop on the perimeter, stopping the runner in his tracks and knocking him backward.
Key stats: Miami had 589 yards of total offense and 32 first downs. In addition, the Canes were 7-of-9 on 3rd-down conversions and 1-for-1 on a 4th-down try, punting just once.
First impression after Game 3: The Hurricanes are deep.
On defense, they were missing 4 starters because of injury — All-American safety Kamren Kinchens, ends Nyjalik Kelly and Akheem Mesidor and tackle Branson Dean.
Yet, Miami’s defense knocked Bethune-Cookman quarterback Luke Sprague out of the game in his 1st series and dominated throughout.
On offense, the Canes were missing talented freshman running back Mark Fletcher. Yet, Donald Chaney Jr. was a beast with 73 yards, a 10.4 average per carry and a touchdown; Ajay Allen scored twice and had 68 yards and a 5.7 average; Henry Parrish Jr. had 52 yards and a 7.4 average; and Johnson averaged 5.7 yards in his aforementioned debut.