No, it wasn't pretty. But Canes get much-needed win
The Miami Hurricanes don’t need to apologize for their 20-14 ACC win over host Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon.
That said, it got really ugly for Miami after building a 20-0 lead in the third quarter.
Miami (3-3, 1-1) snapped a 3-game losing streak, evening its league record.
Virginia Tech (2-5, 1-3) is bad. The Hokies have lost 4 straight games.
But, again, that’s not Miami’s problem.
The Canes play host to mediocre Duke next Saturday, giving Miami a chance to get on a roll.
Here are 5 takeaways from Miami’s win over the Hokies on Saturday:
1. No trust in the run game
The Canes, playing without starting running back Henry Parrish Jr. and two starting offensive linemen, handed the ball off just 16 times.
Miami even added a new wrinkle as third-string quarterback Jacurri Brown made his collegiate debut, going to a Wildcat direct-snap formation to convert on a pair of 3rd-and-short situations. Brown, long, lean and fast, showed some toughness, taking one of his runs for 19 yards.
Similarly, Miami starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke clinched the game with his keeper.
It’s telling that it was Miami’s QBs – and not its running backs – that made its biggest rushes of the game.
Of the 3 RBs Miami used, Jaylan Knighton had the toughest time, gaining just 24. yards on 9 carries. Thad Franklin Jr. had 24 yards on 4 carries. And Lucious Stanley – who would be a 6th-stringer had every Miami RB been healthy – looked good with 20 yards on 3 carries.
2. Rely on DVD
Van Dyke, benched for the rest of the second half just a couple of weeks ago, has now had 2 consecutive stellar games.
After passing for a career-high 496 yards in a loss last week to North Carolina, DVD was good again on Saturday.
He completed 29-of-46 passes for 351 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also overcame one drop each by Frank Ladson, Jaleel Skinner and Franklin
3. It’s great to be Young
Colbie Young has come out of nowhere, and he made 2 sensational one-handed grabs on Saturday, including one for a touchdown.
Young finished with 9 receptions for 61 yards.
Miami entered the game already missing its best receiver, Xavier Restrepo. Then the Canes lost Key’Shawn Smith and Michael Reddick.
At tight end, Van Dyke was hurt by losing standout Will Mallory, who was hit high on Saturday and may have suffered a head injury. He had 3 catches for 62 yards.
Miami’s backup tight end Elijah Arroyo is already out, leaving the Canes thin at the position, relying on Jaleel Skinner, a talented but green true freshman.
4. Getting after it
Miami’s defense produced 6 sacks, hassling Virginia Tech quarterback Grant Wells all afternoon. The 6 sacks are tied for 6th-most by a Canes team this century.
Ahkeem Mesidor was dominant. He finished with 8 tackles, including 3.5 sacks, in an ACC Defensive Player of the Week-type performance.
5. Good and bad
Miami was terrible in terms of penalties, getting hit with 16 for a sinful 144 yards.
On the positive side, Miami did not turn the ball over and allowed just two sacks to a blitz-happy defense that was ready to pounce on the Canes’ injury-plagued o-line.
Another positive for Miami was the play of punter Louis Hedley. He punted seven times, pinning the Hokies inside the 20-yard line on five occasions.
“He’s a weapon,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said. “He’s a game-changer.”