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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Virginia Tech Edition

For the first time in 7 weeks, the Canes won a game. Let’s discuss the action.

Miami v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes ended their 4-game losing streak with a resounding 38-14 win at Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s our recap by Dylan Sherry

Here are our 3 stars by Matt Washington

And now, let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • A win. It had been 6 WEEKS since Miami won a game. Winning is good. Winning like this on the road is even better. Gotta start there.
  • Bouncing back early. VT had an early lead, but Miami battled back quickly. That resilience helped the Canes get things going, and eventually win.
  • Defense. 11+ TFL. 3 turnovers. Held VT to 14 points, all in the first half. Great job.
  • QB N’Kosi Perry. In his best game yet, Perry went 21-34 passing for 171 yards and 2 TDs, and added 16 yards on 9 carries (more if you don’t count sacks) and a TD, too. Perry was even better than the numbers show, as Miami’s offense was plagued by multiple drops. Perry showed the talent both running and passing that we’d been waiting to see, and it helped Miami win this game.
  • RB Cam Davis. 11 carries for 77 yards and a TD, and 1 catch for 16 yards and a TD. A great performance by the freshman.
  • WR Darrell Langham. Not much on the stat sheet for the senior today, but when you do things like this, that’s good enough for me.
  • WR Jeff Thomas. 4 catches for 32 yards was okay (still not enough touches in space for him in my estimation), but Thomas drew 2 pass interference penalties on deep throws as well, so those numbers could have been better. But when you add in a 51 yard punt return TD and another 20+ yard return, well, yeah, that’s good.
  • CB Trajan Bandy. This kid is a beast. Just know that.
  • DE Joe Jackson. 2 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and general disruption all day long. Great game by 99.
  • S Jaquan Johnson. Lower tackle numbers than usual for him, but the Canes’ senior leader was seen laying the lumber to VT players from sideline to sideline all game long.
  • LB Shaq Quarterman. 4 tackles, a TFL, 0.5 sack, an interception, and solid, steady play all game long.
  • WR Mark Pope. The talented freshman had his first career catch, an 11 yarder for a first down. Small step for Pope, but glad to see him get on the board. Big things ahead.
  • 3 sacks
  • 3 turnovers caused (2 interceptions, 1 fumble)
  • 38 points (more than any 2 of the last 4 games COMBINED, and more than the 3 games preceding last week’s game COMBINED)
  • Held VT to 116 yards rushing
  • Held VT to 14 points
  • Held VT to 3.6 yards per carry
  • Shutout VT in 2nd half
  • 5.3 yards per carry
  • 5.14 yards per play
  • 61% completions (and that’s WITH a bunch of drops)
  • No turnovers on offense
  • 31:19 time of possession
  • 7-15 on 3rd down
  • Held VT to 2-12 on 3rd down
  • Held VT to 1-3 on 4th down

The Bad

  • Injuries. TEs Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory both left the game with injuries. Jordan was an ankle with X-rays inconclusive. Mallory was a knee after getting folded over awkwardly on a play. Miami now has 0 healthy scholarship TEs. The HOPE is at least one, if not both, are able to play further this season.
  • DT Gerald Willis, DE Scott Patchan, and LB Mike Smith all left the game for a bit, with injuries, but returned. Still, Miami doesn’t have the roster depth to withstand this many injuries.
  • Let VT QB Ryan Willis run a bit too much for my liking. It ended up okay, but this is more about process than result.
  • Allowed 22 first downs for VT
  • Allowed 12.0 yards per completion for VT
  • Only 8.0 yards per completion on offense

The Ugly

  • Multiple suspensions. LB Michael Pinckney missed the game for a violation of team rules. QB Jarren Williams did, too (though Miami only commented publicly on Pinckney’s suspension). Can’t have this kind of thing, especially by a starting player, especially in November.
  • 11 penalties for 71 yards. Unacceptable.
  • Calling a timeout before the first offensive play of the game, after a kickoff, after a VT scoring drive. Gotta be ready to go from play 1, gentlemen. That’s incredibly bad game and timeout management.
  • All. The. Drops. Perry’s numbers were good, but if the drops had been catches, he would have had an additional 6-8 completions for 135+ yards and a TD. Gotta catch the ball, guys.
  • WR Dee Wiggins’ drop. Wide open on a go route, Perry dropped a dime over the top for what should have been a 65-70 yard TD. But Wiggins dropped it. Luckily Miami was able to overcome this but COME ON, man! Gotta catch the ball!!!!
  • Conservatism on offense. Look, things were good often, but not always. There were several times where playcalling was both conservative and predictable. Everybody saw it. And it kept Miami from being even more effective than they were today. Can’t have this, even a little bit.

Team Grades

Offense: B-

Predictable still at times, the Miami offense finally started executing and taking advantage of what the defense gave them. When you have players making plays, things look good, feel good, and in this instance, end good. N’Kosi Perry played his best game to date, and Cam Davis was an impact player off the bench. The penalties and drops, however, lower this grade a bit in my estimation, but man, it’s fun to score points, right? We should keep doing this.

Defense: A-

Not perfect, but damn good. After giving up a couple early TDs, Miami’s defense was stifling, completely dominating Virginia Tech’s offense. 3 turnovers, 11.5 (I think? VT’s stat site isn’t clear) TFLs, a bunch of PBUs, and complete lockdown after the 2 early scores. Again, it’s not an NCAA13 shutout playing on freshman difficulty where the opposing team had negative yards, but this defense continues to play well and I for one am happy they are doing so.

Special Teams: A

Good punting from both Spicer and Feagles. 1/1 on FGs for Bubba Baxa. A Punt Return touchdown by Jeff Thomas. Consistently good coverage on punt and kick returns. That’s an A to me.

Coaching: B+

Finally. Changing up play calls on offense to great success. Playing good defense and making adjustments when needed. It wasn’t perfect, but it was MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN IT HAD BEEN, and that’s the basis for this grade. Admittedly, I might be flying high off the first win in a month and a half, but for today, I think this grade is fair.

Oh, and don’t get it twisted: I still fully believe paradigm and staff changes are needed moving forward. Things were better today, but this was a Band-Aid when surgery is needed.

That’s it for this edition of the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Share your thoughts on the action in the comments section below.

Go Canes