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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Central Michigan edition

Miami barely survived Central Michigan 17-12 to get back .500 on the year. Let’s dissect the action from the day that was at Hard Rock.

Central Michigan v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but Miami survived today with a 17-12 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas.

No, that’s not a typo. 17-12.

Here’s our Game Recap by Gaby Urrutia

3 stars from the game will be up later.

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

The Good

  • Winning. Look, it was not pretty, but I’d rather an ugly win over a pretty loss any day. And trust, we’ll get into this more. But overall, a win is a win. And I’d rather win than lose, even if it looked the way today’s game looked.
  • QB Jarren Williams. 17/24 for 250 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, and a fumble (on a strip sack). Still underthrew a couple deeper passes, but he was mostly clean on the day and we won. I’d call this more “meh” than good, but that isn’t the piece I’m writing, yanno?
  • The defense’s disruption. 9 TFLs, 4 sacks, 7 PBUs, 6 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 INT. When Miami’s D got turnt up, it made plays.
  • Miami’s run defense. Central Michigan ran for 31 yards on 27 attempts — 1.1 yard per carry average. They did less than nothing on the ground. And that’s because of Miami’s solid defensive work.
  • LB Shaquille Quarterman had 14 tackles, 2 TFLs, and a QB hurry today. Solid.
  • S Gurvan Hall, off the bench might I add, had 10 tackles, 0.5 TFL, and 1 PBU.
  • DE Gregory Rousseau. First, he needs a bigger role. Second, he had a strip-sack (recovery by Bethel), recovered another CMU fumble, and added another tackle on the day as well. He’s too good to keep on the bench. Play him.
  • Miami’s 2-headed monster at TE — sophomores Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory — played like it. A combined 5 catches for 129 yards on the day. Would have been nice to continue to exploit their mismatches, but even still, they had solid games.
  • CB Al Blades Jr’s game-sealing interception. Because SOMEBODY had to make a play to end the last CMU drive.
  • 16 first downs
  • 12 chunk plays — 9 passes (15+), 3 runs (10+)
  • 14.7 yards per completion
  • 10.42 yards per passing attempt
  • 3-3 scoring in the red zone (2 TD, 1 FG)
  • Louis Hedley’s 57 yard punt. He averaged 48 yards a kick when it wasn’t blocked. more on this later
  • Held CMU to 248 total yards
  • Held CMU to 31 yards rushing
  • Forced 3 turnovers
  • Held CMU to 3.2 yards per play

The Bad

  • This was a 1 possession game. 17-12. Against CENTRAL MICHIGAN. When Miami entered the game as a 31pt favorite. Let that sink in.
  • Central Michigan had the ball with a chance to score for the win. Sure, they were 95 yards away from the endzone with under a minute left and no timeouts, BUT THEY HAD THE BALL WITH A CHANCE TO SCORE THE GAME WINNING TOUCHDOWN!!! HOW IS THAT SCENARIO ACCEPTABLE?!!?!?!?!?!?!??!
  • 8 chunk plays allowed — 6 passes (15+), 2 runs (10+)
  • Lost the field position battle — CMU 31 to Miami 28
  • Lost time of possession (????!?!?!?!) 32:46 (CMU) to 27:14 (Miami)
  • And those stats are with winning the turnover battle 3 to 1
  • The fact that Miami only got into the red zone AGAINST CENTRAL MICHIGAN 3 times.
  • CB Trajan Bandy’s dropped interception. Gotta have that, my man.
  • Yeah, that’s all of that. Everything else was ugly. Read below.

The Ugly

  • The entire first half after the first offensive drive. 7 total points. 0/thegame on 3rd down. MULTIPLE sacks given up. A safety surrendered. 4/7 for CMU on 3rd down. 5 penalties. 2 turnovers lost. And much more. Manny Diaz said that half was about the worst they could have looked. And that was a VAST understatement. I wish I had a section of this piece lower than “bad” because that’s where I’d put the effort and performance from the team in the first half.
  • 5 yards of offense in the 2nd quarter. And before you get upset at that, that’s an IMPROVEMENT from where it was (-6 yards heading into the last drive).
  • 17 POINTS IN A GAME AGAINST CENTRAL MICHIGAN!!!!! WHAT ARE WE DOING!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!!?!?!?
  • Offensive Line. First drive was decent. After that, it was an absolute turnstile.
  • LT Zion Nelson. Back to back sacks given up, including a strip-sack. On the same move. He’s regressing in front of our eyes.
  • YET ANOTHER missed FG by Bubba Baxa. From 27 yards!!!!!!! He was let off the hook by a running-into-the-kicker penalty and hit the subsequent 22 yarder, but look, something has to be done. Baxa needs to get better or Camden Price needs to be given a shot. Because at this point, I’m not seeing how giving Price a shot could be worse than Baxa. Teams all over the country have walk-on or unheralded kickers become great. I believe it’s time to see if Price fits that mold for Miami.
  • 1/10 on 3rd down for the game. Against Central Michigan.
  • That drops Miami to 10/43 (23.3%) 3rd down conversions on the year. Remember when Al Golden said that the 3rd down % was bad in his tenure and needed to improve? His was in the 40’s. And remember when Mark Richt said the same thing? This conversion rate is AT LEAST 5% lower than the lowest one posted by either coach (28.8% in 2017).
  • Still no explosive play by Jeff Thomas.
  • Allowed Central Michigan to convert 6/18 on 3rd down. And, if that wasn’t bad enough...
  • Allowed Central Michigan to convert 2/2 on 4th down.
  • 13 penalties for 93 yards. Just bad, dumb, stupid, and sloppy. And the penalties were on offense and defense alike.
  • Did I mention how the OL got beaten over and over again for disruptions and sacks? Because they did. And it was atrocious.
  • Louis Hedley’s partially blocked punt. I know he’s new to American Football, but he created that play by holding the ball too long and letting the CMU defender get right up in his grill when he went to kick it. Punting was great.....but then this happened. That was ugly. Very ugly. Never do that again.
  • Speaking of penalties, how can Scott Patchan have a personal foul penalty then an offsides penalty on consecutive plays yet stay in the game? What is that teaching him? Where is the accountability and discipline?!
  • Play calling. Yup, we’re here again. What. Are. We. DOING?! Where is the offense from the 1st drive against Florida? Where is any wrinkle other than WR jet sweep? Where is the variation in the run game? Where is a dropback passing game that isn’t tied to hard (read: turn your back to the defense) play action when the team IS RUNNING FOR 2 YARDS A CARRY!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! The Miami Hurricanes couldn’t find a way to leverage the INCREDIBLE athletic mismatches against Central Michigan. Jarren Williams’ stats — another 71% completion game — are starting to become pretty hollow. Because it’s all dink and dunk, nickel and dime, take-what-the-defense-gives-us stuff without EVER taking shots. I remember a time when the Canes’ offense would dictate terms of engagement to the opposing defense. And I miss it.
  • Watching every other team we’ve played struggle (other than Florida, who was playing one of the worst teams in captivity: Tennessee). UNC lost to AppSt. Virginia is losing to Old Dominion as I write. Hell, it even took Florida a while to stretch out against Tennessee. Everybody plays up when they play Miami, and the Canes continue to play like some also-ran program with no talent or direction. It’s infuriating.

Team Grades

Offense: D-

Decent passing numbers but HORRIBLE rushing stats and an offensive line that, still, can’t block. Jarren’s numbers are okay, but they might be the best we see if this scheme, and the players who play in it, don’t get better by leaps and bounds. QUICKLY.

Defense: C+

Stuggled to get off the field for most of the game, but forced 3 turnovers (which HELPED the grade) and shut down the CMU run game. But the defense, once Miami’s calling card, looked decidedly average for most of this game and this grade is a reflection of that.

Special Teams: C-

I’m sorry, Louis Hedley. You were pretty great today (apart from that one play). Jeff Thomas had ROOM on a kick return but got tripped up by a shoestring. That sucked. And Bubba Baxa, who missed YET ANOTHER FG before a running-into penalty gave him another chance.....that’s just not good enough. And since PR and KR and Punting (even with the tipped punt) were average to good, this stays in the C range. But I’ve already said my piece about looking at Camden Price as K because this 50/50 kicking thing can’t continue.

Coaching: D

The only time this game felt secure was the opening drive, which Miami took 85 yards for a score. Otherwise, the defense was a step slow, had terrible rotations, and the offense......yikes. Manny Diaz said before the game he wanted to see Miami play like the fastest team in America. From foot speed to “get off” at the snap, he wanted to see a fast, swarming team. That did not happen. And that’s on him and the rest of the coaches. At every position. No one is removed from this. EVERY COACH needs to be better. Now.

That’s that, Canes fans. Manny Diaz’s group gets back to even at 2-2 on the year heading into the 2nd bye week of the season, and with the heart of the ACC schedule ahead of us. Agree with my grades? Hate them and think I’m an idiot? State your case in the comments section below.

Go Canes