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Film Review: Miami 19 - UVA 14

The ‘Canes hold off pesky UVA but emerge 5-1 heading into their 2nd idle week.

Louisville v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes held off the visiting Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday, October 24th to a final score of 19 to 14. The ‘Canes, led by quarterback D’Eriq King, are now sporting a five win and one loss record heading into their second idle week of the 2020 season.

So how did Miami hold off the Hoos? The ‘Canes held UVA and their multi-quarterback “system” (read: series of really over the top Singlewing and Matt Canada’esque plays) to only 14 points.

Through all of the rain and multi-quarterback approach, Miami’s defense hung on in a ‘bend but don’t break’ method by Blake Baker.

The offense

The Miami offense put up two touchdowns, two field goals and missed on their two point conversion attempt. Miami finished 8-of-17 on 3rd downs, 1-of-1 on 4th downs, did not turn the ball over and managed 10.7 yards per pass attempt but only 2.5 yards per run.

King, Miami’s quarterback, threw for 322 yards while averaging 10.7 yards per attempt. He also tossed one touchdown, a 43-yard bomb, to Mike Harley on the 2nd play from scrimmage for Miami.

Above- This is modern football and what you want to see from King and his receivers. Move the pocket, make a nice throw on the run, make a great catch and get big yards!

The ‘Canes run game continues to struggle no matter what line-up Rhett Lashlee and Garin Justice throw on the field. Cam’Ron Harris finished with eight yards on eight carries. Freshmen Don Chaney Jr. and Jaylan Knighton did most of the work on the ground. The young duo combined for 80 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

Above- Outside zone is not an easy concept to master. Many outside zone teams only run about four concepts in their run game because of the complexity of “OZ.” If you’re running true OZ, the offensive line has to react to what the defense gives them. If the D-Line is aggressive up field, the OL will “fan block” or push the DL to the side line. If the DL gives the OL empty gaps, the OL will “pin and pull” or uncovered (OL with no DL over them) will pull while the other OL block down. It’s a really difficult concept! The RB also has to have great vision, and a feel for the scheme.

Above- Miami’s OL got whooped on their reach blocks by the UVA defense. But the backs have to cut back and also trust the QB to set a block on that DE that’s reading him. If that’s how you practice it, trust it.

Above- You can see King set a great block but Harris tries to bounce into a UVA defender.

The offensive line also gave up five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Miami is either going to have to switch up the game plan or really improve during the upcoming off week.

Above- Split zone is one of my favorite concepts. It’s a read-breaker for LB’s reading cross-backs. It’s a counter but doesn’t have to be. It’s a devastating block on a DE after he’s been getting unblocked as a read all game. But Will Mallory ain’t the guy.

1- He lines up too deep into the backfield to give himself a good angle.

2- His angle is to the guy he suspects he’ll have to block, rather than across the LOS incase someone else gets through.

3- His movement pattern is horrible, his legs are too far apart, he’s leaning back in his stance, his arms are too far away from his body- he’s going to do nearly nothing on this block.

4- And because of 1 through 3, a DL gets in and makes the play.

Mike Harley stepped up. Fans asked for it, well they got it. Harley caught 10 balls for 170 yards including his early TD. Tight end Will Mallory caught two balls for 58 yards, while Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins had explosive TD’s, too. Re the receivers and tight ends, I think Lashlee has misunderstood how little some of these WR and Mallory desire to block on the perimeter.

The defense

Miami held UVA to 14 points. That’s a good sign considering the offense wasn’t fully clicking and a rainy game with the amount of wrinkles UVA was throwing at them could lead to a blown assignment or a slip down on a double move. Miami came away with only one sack and two tackles for loss against UVA.

The Hoos did finish 7-of-16 on 3rd downs, 2-of-3 on 4th downs, and turned the ball over. UVA struggled through the air, averaging 5.7 yards per pass attempt but ripped up 5.3 yards per rush against the ‘Canes defense.

Above- It’s wet and late in the game but Al Blades Jr. sticks with his man on a huge 3rd down play in the 4th quarter. Blades is so tight to his man the QB has to throw it far outside to keep it off of him and it leads to an incompletion.

UVA QB Brennan Armstrong did most of the damage and mobile QB’s are the Achilles Heel of most defenses. Armstrong averaged only six yards per pass attempt, but threw two touchdowns and ran for 91 yards (6.1 yards per carry, including sacks). RB Wayne Taulapapa averaged 5.6 yards per carry.

Above- I’ll cut Bubba Bolden slack and say it was a wet field, and not having an entire January through August to get better at movement has hurt these guys. They went ‘home’ and worked with a trainer that had them doing Dance Dance Revolution on “speed” ladders and bosu ball juggling drills. Get yourself an actual speed coach, not a personal trainer.

Above- The vaunted Baker-Diaz three man rush on 3rd and long that gets no pressure with Quincy Roche and Jalean Phillips, and gives up the 1st down.

Virginia hit on some explosive plays but penalties and stupid mistakes kept them out of the end zone, much like Pitt a week ago.

The kicking game

The kicking game finally took a step backwards against UVA. Miami surrendered their first blocked field goal of the season, Jose Borregales finished 2-of-3 on field goals and 1-of-1 on PAT’s on the evening. Punter Lou Hedley was still successful but the kick return game averaged only 13 yards per return. Miami forced a UVA missed field goal but surrendered 25.3 yards per kick return on the other end.

I also absolutely hated the multi-shift and motion punt when backed up inside the ‘Canes own five yard line, which resulted in a timeout anyway. I assume Coach Diaz called the time out to avoid Hedley being backed up even more, but really how much further back could he have gotten if it’s half the distance to the goal? Weird use of a timeout to save 1-2 yards.


My Canyonero keys to victory were the offensive line playing better, taking what the defense gives you, and the kicking game. While Miami failed on two of those fronts- taking what the defense gave them on the opening drive paid dividends as the game slowed down to a 14-12 slogging of a ball game after the 2nd play from scrimmage.

Miami committed six penalties on the night including an Amari Carter targeting call. In the world of ‘you either coach it or allow it,’ something has to give with Mr. Carter. I’m very surprised the NCAA didn’t institute some sort of multi-game ban on someone with this many targeting calls.

A win is a win and Miami moves to 5-1, but this season is starting to feel like the 2017 campaign where the ACC is so bad Miami is looking better than they are. After the off week, Miami heads to Raleigh, NC to face off with NC State. The Wolfpack just looked like The Pound Puppies after UNC bounced back and dismantled them with a pounding ground game. Miami needs to get the run game going to beat NCSU.