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Miami Hurricanes Football: Three Stars From the Virginia Game

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Is there any silver lining to the Canes second loss of the season?

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Deflating, depressing, you could even call it lackluster. These terms best describe what we saw from the Hurricanes this evening. A week after mounting an epic comeback against a hated rival, the Canes fall victim to a rested Virginia Cavalier. It was a forgettable game for any Hurricane pivot. Miami’s best cover corner got ejected from the game in the first quarter. The capper was that the Hurricanes failed to establish any consistency on the offense this evening. The result was UM’s second loss of the season, its first loss in ACC play.

On the hostile field of Scott Stadium, the Hurricanes found themselves in bitter fight on both sides of the ball against a spirited Virginia. The Wahoos did enough in primetime to pull out the victory this time around, despite the Hurricanes making a charge towards the waning moments of the game. The defense displayed their disruptive self, forcing TFLs and turnovers in the early portion of the tilt. However, even with a multiple sacks, three interceptions and numerous TFLs, the Canes still came up short on a night where they gave up just 16 points.

The final score will read 16-13 in favor of Virginia, yet it feels much worse than that. With Miami having an bye this coming week, there will be plenty of time to stew about tonight’s result.

We’ll try to find the silver lining from the Canes performance in Charlottesville, Virginia. Believe us it was tough, yet there’s a solid group of guys that put in a valiant effort on film.

Third Star

Michael Pinckney

Outside of Gerald Willis, there might not be another player who is able to change direction like No. 56. Working downhill this week, Pinckney made plays behind the line of scrimmage to the tune of two TFL and 1.5 sacks on the evening. With 12 tackles to round out another stifling performance, the LB channeled the Tasmanian Devil as he whipped around the field to disrupt the offense of the Hoos.

Second Star

Travis Homer

Miami v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

It would be unfair to call Travis Homer the Thunder to DeeJay Dallas’ lightning, but after hearing the collisions from the West Palm Beach, Florida, native, it’s not just another cliché. Homer has enough flash of speed to elude defenders and lower his shoulder pads with malicious intent to gain as many yards as possible. Homer was the most explosive member of the Miami’s offense this evening with 96 rushing yards on eight carries. The junior tailback also showed off his hands with three catches for 50 receiving yards. Homer continues to leave a path of destruction each week and deserved a better result in the win column.

First Star

Trajan Bandy

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The sophomore corner got the night started for the Hurricanes defense, picking off an ill-advised heave from Virginia QB Bryce Perkins for the Hurricanes first takeaway of the evening. It was the second interception for Bandy this season. Not content to get just one, Bandy climbed the ladder to snatch a second INT later in the game. After fellow CB Michael Jackson was ejected from the game in the first quarter, Bandy took it upon himself to be the shutdown DB the Canes desperately needed. The roughing the kicker penalty to close out the game notwithstanding, it should not take away from a solid performance by Bandy.

Honorable Mentions

Surprise, surprise — G turned in another outstanding performance as the Cavaliers tried to negate his presence with double-teams and some legal and not-so-legal holds. Willis finished the night with eight tackles.

For all the praise that Clemson and Ohio State have received, Miami’s defensive line needs to climb into the discussion about the nation’s best units. Junior DE Joe Jackson was back at it once again, turning Cavalier tackles into turnstyles as he swam around and bull-rushed his way into the backfield. Mr. Jackson’s final stat line reads seven tackles, one TFL and in yet another impressive outing.

Jaquan Johnson appears to be fully healed from a hamstring injury suffered last month as the safety is back to his roaming self. Miami’s defensive leader in secondary teleported himself towards the ball time after time, as the Hurricanes bottled up the Cavaliers for a majority of the night. The Franchise finished the night with 12 tackles in yet another impressive outing from one of the best safeties in the country.

In most weeks a interception by S Sheldrick Redwine would be enough to lift Miami over just about any team. That was not the case here, but that should’t take away from an outstanding leap from the senior to return the ball back to the offense.

After putting the ball on the turf a bit too much a week ago, tonight was a bit more positive for Lawrence Cager. This week did not see an abundance of targets in the redzone for Miami’s leader in TD receptions, but Cager came up big late with some timely receptions to extend a late push by the offense. A three reception and 58 receiving yard performance led all Canes.

The Brevin Show was in full effect Saturday night. Too bad the offense didn’t look for No. 9 more often. With each snap, the tight end adapts and finds a way to dominate on the next. Jordan brought in three receptions for 34 receiving yards and a touchdown, a performance befitting any Hurricane TE of days past. Tonight’s highlight from the freshman was a huge block late in the fourth quarter to allow QB Malik Rosier to scoot into the end zone. Brevin was pegged to be special, and the TE has surpassed expectations with plenty of season left.

For the first time this season, Miami’s freshman kickers gets his day in the sun. Baxa nailed a 47-yard field goal, the longest made attempt in his brief career. Baxa made all his FG attempts, so count that as progress. Also, if we’re talking about the kicker, you know what kind of night it has been.