Miami football: Stock report After Week 8
For the 1st time since 2010, the Miami Hurricanes have beaten Clemson.
And Miami did it without star quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (reportedly bruised right leg) and leading rusher Henry Parrish Jr.
Fortunately for the Hurricanes, they have a swarming defense, a pounding ground game, a reliable kicker and a mature-beyond-his-years freshman quarterback.
All of those components were required as the Canes defeated visiting Clemson 28-20 Saturday night.
Miami (5-2 overall, 1-2 ACC) overcame a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to snap a 2-game losing streak this season.
Over the past decade, Clemson had beaten Miami 4 straight times, outscoring the Hurricanes 178-30 during that span.
Miami won its first ACC home game under coach Mario Cristobal, snapping a 5-game skid.
Player of the week: Freshman defensive end Rueben Bain Jr. had 8 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. He pushed around Clemson linemen all night, beating them with speed and power. “Massive performance by Bain,” Cristobal said. Bain’s pressure was a big reason why Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik fumbled twice, was intercepted once and nearly got hit with a safety.
Offensive freshman of the week: Quarterback Emory Williams won in his 1st start, completing 24 of 33 passes for 151 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He showed a lot of poise, and even the interception wasn’t truly his fault but rather the result of a receiver breaking off his route. “(Williams) has a grease board in his dorm room,” Cristobal said. “That says it all about him.” Indeed, Williams, who admitted he was nervous early, completed 10 of 16 passes for just 31 yards, no TDs and 1 interception during the 1st half. But he went back to the aforementioned drawing board at halftime. In the 2nd half, he completed 14 of 17 passes for 120 yards, a touchdown and no picks.
Defensive freshman of the week: See Bain, Rueben.
Biggest surprise: The biggest shock was how the officials missed what should’ve been a safety for Miami’s defense with 21 seconds left in the opening half. Linebacker Francisco Mauigoa sacked Klubnik, who fell in the end zone. The officials, though, ruled him down at the 1.
Biggest concern: As poised as Williams was, the Canes need Van Dyke to return quickly from his apparent leg injury. Along those lines, Williams had 3 passes deflected for incompletions during the 1st half, a problem he corrected after intermission.
Second-biggest concern: Clemson’s 6-foot-6 tight end Jake Briningstool had 5 catches for a career-high126 yards and a career-high 2 touchdowns. He scored over the top of Miami’s defense, beating 6-2 linebacker K.J. Cloyd on the 1st one and 6-5 James Williams on the 2nd. The remaining teams on Miami’s schedule certainly will look to see if they can exploit their tight end on Miami linebackers and safeties.
Developing trend: Miami outrushed Clemson 211-31. Miami averaged almost 5.6 yards per rush. Clemson averaged 0.9 yards per rush. Because of that ground-game dominance, Miami had 37:30 time of possession. Clemson had 22:30 time of possession. We knew Miami’s defensive line had talent, but the improvement on the line this year has been stunning.
Deep depth: Canes backups who stood out Saturday, include running backs Ajay Allen and Don Chaney, runner/receiver/returner Brashard Smith; and linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. Allen scored on a 3-yard touchdown run during the 2nd overtime, and he ran in the 2-point conversion, too. Chaney ran for 63 yards. Smith had an 80-yard run and finished with 123 yards from scrimmage and 150 all-purpose yards. And, last but not least, the game ended when Flagg sacked Klubnik on a 4th-and-goal play from the 1. Klubnik tried to outrace Flagg to the left pylon, but he never got close.
Key stat: Miami, even with a rookie QB, went 9-for-18 on 3rd-down conversions as compared to 4-for-14 for Clemson.
Wildest sequence: The opening quarter featured goal-line fumbles on 2 consecutive plays. First, Clemson’s Will Shipley fumbled a split-second before he would’ve scored, and Hurricanes safety James Williams recovered for a touchback. Then, Brashard Smith ran 80 yards for a would-be Miami touchdown. But he was stripped just before he scored. Miami receiver Jacolby George, hustling down the field, recovered for the touchdown. It was the longest run allowed by Clemson in 14 years.
First impression after Game 7: The victory validated some coaching decisions. Cristobal went conservative at the end of regulation, opting to run the ball and wait for overtime. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson also was conservative for most of the game, throwing a ton of bubble screens to protect rookie QB Williams. Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry had a strong game, perhaps surprising Clemson by going to a 3-4 alignment.
Best moment: Van Dyke, with a huge smile on his face, seeking out his protégé Williams for a huge postgame hug.