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

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A little late this week, we look back at the night that was in Miami’s season-saving win against Virginia Friday night.

Virginia v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes rallied to beat a Power 5 team for the first time in nearly a year, earning a season-saving 17-9 win against the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night.

Here’s our game recap by Gaby Urrutia

Here are our 3 stars from the game by Candis McLean

And with no further ado, ans yes I know it’s late this week but hey, things happen, let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • A WIN!!!!! WINNING IS GOOD!!! AND WE WON!!!! WITH THE SEASON ON THE LINE!!!! WOOOO!!!!
  • I can’t overstate this point: this win saved Miami’s season (to this point). The ACC Coastal is still in play now. The Canes are a step closer to bowl eligibility. The narrative shifts for this season, this staff, and recruiting. Miami needed this win on so many levels and they got it on National TV against a ranked opponent. That’s absolutely massive.
  • A fast start! Miami walked down the field on their first drive of the game and scored a touchdown. That set the stage from the start that the Canes were dictating the pace of the game. It was only 7 points, but man, it felt like more.
  • The welcomed return of the Miami Hurricanes defense. Miami LOOKED LIKE MIAMI on defense with few exceptions, and that performance was really what led the Canes to victory today. This is more the “eye test” than statistics (but we’ll get into those shortly). But man, it was GOOD to get back to our identity on D.
  • DE Gregory Rousseau. The 6’6” redshirt freshman was FINALLY inserted into the starting lineup, and his performance was game-changing, and make you question why it took until game 6 for him to start. 7 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and that only touches on his impact in the game. Rousseau has the look of a current and future star, and I’m glad he got the chance to have a coming out party on National TV on Friday night.
  • Senior LBs Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman. Welcome back, fellas. This duo finally looked like themselves again on Friday night, and that was huge. A combined 12 tackles, 3 QB hurries, 1 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 PBU and solid play overall helped Miami earn a big win.
  • P Louis Hedley. Again, you cannot overstate how great the 25-year-old Australian has been in upgrading Miami’s punting situation, especially in a tight, defensive/field position game like this. 6 punts, 45.8 yard average, 2 kicks of 50+. Huge huge HUGE.
  • QB N’Kosi Perry. Before y’all react, he wasn’t perfect and we’ll talk about some of the missteps later in this piece. But, he completed nearly 60% of his throws, going 16/27 for 182 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, and a crucial rushing TD to extend Miami’s lead to the final margin. When given time, Perry was able to push the ball down the field and that opens things up for the Miami offense. Also, with a bad offensive line, Perry’s mobility and running ability are necessary assets for success. It wasn’t the greatest game, but Perry took advantage of most of the opportunities in this game and managed the game to get a win. And that, my friends, is good.
  • RB DeeJay Dallas. 63 yards rushing, and 14 yards receiving. Dallas’s 17 yard TD catch and run on a screen on the first drive opened up the scoring, and game Miami the lead that they would never relinquish. Not really eye popping numbers on a night with limited offensive production, but DJD produced when Miami needed it.
  • K Turner Davidson. I know you’re saying “WHO?!?!” but that’s the player Miami turned to for XPs and FGs this week. Bubba Baxa was relegated to Kickoffs only, and Davidson stepped up big. He went 2/2 on XPs (notable bc Baxa missed one last week that would have given Miami the lead late against VT), and 1/1 on FGs.....a short kick from the hash (something Baxa has struggled with this season, as well). Will he continue to be the kicker with Camden Price coming back from suspension and Baxa (hopefully) working on improving his issues? I’m not sure. Regardless, Davidson did the job on Friday and that makes me very, very happy.
  • Only 4 penalties! That’s way under the average for Miami this year — the Canes were the 2nd most penalized team in the country coming into the game — and that helped big.
  • The screen offense game. That’s how Miami scored their first TD, and also moved the ball later in the game. That can’t be the foundation of the offense, but it was a timely and welcomed addition when we went to it (for the most part).
  • A blocked FG. No no no, WE blocked a FG!!!!!! It was great!!!!!
  • 7 TFLs.
  • 5 sacks.
  • 5.1 yards per play.
  • 11.4 yards per completion.
  • 6.7 yards per passing attempt.
  • 9 chunk plays — 5 passes (15+), 4 runs (10+).
  • 3-3 red zone scoring. 2 TDs and 1 FG. Again, not perfect (need that 3rd TD), but this is good, especially after several empty trips last week vs VT.
  • 1-1 4th down conversions. What’s not to like?
  • Oh yeah. Before I move on. Some crazy guy was named the Dunkin’ Donuts High Energy Fan of the Game. I wonder who that was? He seems pretty cool. I wanna get his autograph one day. I wanna be his friend.
Told y’all I’m not just some emotionless, analytical guy all the time. LMAOOOO

The Bad

  • The offense in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. After early success, Miami did less than nothing in the middle section of the game. Blocks were missed. Passes were dropped. Other passes were overthrown (see, I told you Perry wasn’t perfect and we’d get to that). Some play calls were......dubious. It was really bad. Thank goodness for the defense keeping Virginia off the board or else....
  • Allowed 9 TFLs.
  • Allowed 3 sacks.
  • Allowed Virginia to hold the ball for 34:19 of the game.
  • D.J. Ivey falling in coverage late in the first half, allowing Virginia to have their longest play of the day, setting up either FG right before halftime. I’m not blaming him for slipping, but the fact that he slipped was bad.
  • QB N’Kosi Perry...at times. Again, you can’t talk about the failings of the offense for nearly half the game and ignore the QB. Perry missed some open guys down the field (but at least they were vertical throws?) and that needs to improve moving forward.
  • Only 14 first downs.
  • Only 25:41 Time of possession. Miami had been averaging 33+ minutes TOP heading into this game.
  • Allowed 21 Virginia 1st downs.
  • Allowed 9/18 3rd down conversions.
  • Allowed 3-3 red zone efficiency for Virginia. BUT, they were all FGs, so that’s a win.
  • Allowed 72 plays for Virginia. This was the 2nd most plays an opponent has run against Miami this year.
  • Lost the field position game big. On average, VT started at their own 35, while Miami started at their own 20. That’s 135 yards across the 9 drives for Miami. Hidden yardage hurts.

The Ugly

  • Virginia CB Bryce Hall’s leg injury. It came on a punt return in the 2nd quarter, and from all accounts, it was BAD. Having had a bad leg injury before, I won’t look at the video or post the picture. But, I will wish Bryce Hall a swift and full recovery and all the best moving forward to the NFL.
  • Only 14 first downs.
  • Only 265 yards of total offense.
  • Only 17 points.
  • 2/10 on 3rd downs. Back to the doldrums in that area.
  • Targeting penalty called on Amari Carter. Absolute horseshit. Carter lead with his shoulder, but the WR ducked his head into the play. The helmets touched, yeah, but HEADS ARE NEAR SHOULDERS ON HUMAN BODIES!!!! Helmets touching is not targeting. That the refs made the call, at first glance in real time, makes sense. Carter hits like a Mack truck so you assume it was a penalty. But upon review to not just uphold that call, but confirm it, is laughable. I said it last week: if it was the other way, it wouldn’t be called like that. See the targeting penalty for hitting Perry in the helmet by VT last week that was OVERTURNED. There is a clear double standard regarding certain calls for and against the University of Miami. And that has to stop.
  • Miami’s Offensive line. It was another struggle for the guys up front. Allowed 9 TFLs, 3 sacks, and plenty more pressure. There were several times when due to miscommunication up front, players were turned loose in the A gaps — up the middle of the line next to the center. No QB can be consistently successful in those situations. And no RB can, either.
  • OT Zion Nelson can’t stop good outside speed rush moves. It’s been consistent all year. I hope that’s addressed soon. Then, he’ll have to work on stopping speed-to-power and inside counter moves. But right now? Edge rushers are just going around him like a cone in a drill at a recruiting camp.
  • The deep misses in the passing game. Overthrow an open Mike Harley up the seam. Overthrow a WIDE OOOOOOPEN KJ Osborn down the middle. A deep pass to Mark Pope off his fingertips. A fade to Osborn off his. I need those. Or at least 2 of those. Because all of them other than the Pope play (he dove for the ball) could have reasonably been TDs. Gotta hit those.
  • The refs. New week, same shit. BULLSHIT targeting on Amari Carter. Not calling an obvious facemask against Virginia (Maybe 2, I think). Obvious holding against UVa not called (but they called one, so at least there’s that). Just a horror show for them, again. Fix it, ACC.

Team Grades

Offense: C-

I liked what the offense tried to do by using the field both vertically and horizontally. But, the efficiency was poor. N’Kosi Perry started and ended the game hot, but the middle was a nightmare for the Canes offense. The Canes did just enough to win, and found some ways to get their skill guys the ball, but this needs to improve across the board.

Defense: B+

This. Was. A. Miami. Defense. Clean up the coverage mistakes. Don’t lose a starting Safety to a terrible targeting call. But otherwise, I was very pleased. VERY PLEASED.

Special Teams: B+

Louis Hedley’s punting was outstanding. Turner Davidson’s placekicking was perfect. Bubba Baxa’s kickoffs were good to great. The thing that keeps this from being an A is allowing Joe Reed to get a huge kick return to set up Virginia’s final FG to make the game 10-9. Can’t lose focus for even 1 play, guys.

Coaching: B

Much better in terms of game management. Manny Diaz’s involvement in the defense clearly paid dividends. Dan Enos dialed some things up, but it’s tough to be REALLY dynamic with an offensive line as bad as ours routinely is. Maybe this is a generous grade because I was overly harsh previously, but I’m fine with this grade for this week.


That’s it, my friends. Sorry this piece is a bit late this week, but after expending so much energy at the game, I needed a full Saturday to recover. In any event, hop in the comments and let me know what you thought of the game as a whole.

On to Georgia Tech we go!

Go Canes