While Miami has travelled to the state of North Carolina on a number of occasion this season, Saturday’s game represented a trip into uncharted territory. For the Hurricanes it was the program’s first ever appearance in an ACC title game since joining the conference in 2004. Entering a much anticipated contest with a sparkling 10–1 record (7–1 ACC record), the ’Canes looked to not only win the ACC crown, but simultaneously punctuate their 2017 resume with an exclamation to qualify for the College Football Playoff. Ultimately, Saturday night was a reality check. A 38–3 humbling at the paws of Clemson illustrated that there is still PLENTY of work that needs to be done. There isn't much if anything that went right tonight, but we tried to scratch out some positives.
Third Star: DeeJay Dallas
There wasn't much that went right on offense. However, No. 13 provided a bit of spark when he lined up in a wildcat formation to take the direct snap. Dallas finished the game with six carries for 44 rushing yards.
Second Star: Shaq Quarterman
A frustrating day for Miami’s middle linebacker. Quarterman and the defense fell behind early, yet rallied in the second quarter to string together a few stops. Quarterman finished the day with five solo tackles, 10 total tackles, a QB hit, and one tackle for loss.
First Star: Chad Thomas
In his penultimate game in Hurricane uniform, Thomas turned in an admirable performance. Tasked with the challenge of containing Clemson QB Kelly Bryant in the pocket, Thomas did not bite on the numerous misdirection plays of the Tigers employ. Because of his patience, Thomas piled up five tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack in the first half. Thomas helped spearhead a couple defensive stops to get the Hurricane offense back onto the field. Although limping off the field in the first half, Thomas returned to finish the game with seven total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack.
It won’t show on the stat sheet, but DT Kendrick Norton put forth a valiant effort on the championship stage. “Big Thicks” ability to take on the double-team from Clemson helped keep a bad game turn into an outright nightmare.
For the majority of the season, DT RJ McIntosh has consistently been the best defensive lineman for Miami. That did not change in the most important game of the season. McIntosh had a forced fumble in the third quarter that like most of the game, bounced in Clemson’s favour.
Shoutout to DE Joe Jackson, S Amari Carter and Michael Jackson as other defenders who picked up a sack during the game.
Michael Pinckney brought the wood on a number of occasions against Clemson’s running backs. Pinckney finished with three solo tackles and eight total tackles.
A week after rushing for a season-low 12 yards on seven carries, Miami made more of a concerted effort to get their lead back going early. While we didn’t see the big 10+ yard gains that we’re accustomed to earlier in the season, RB Travis Homer ran hard against a elite front-seven defense. The sophomore back finished the night with 41 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Senior WR Braxton Berrios did all he could when the opportunity was present to make a play in the passing game. Finishing as the ’Canes top receiving target on the evening with seven receptions for 51 receiving yards, the output pales in comparison to the outcome for Berrios and the rest of Miami’s roster.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!