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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: N.C. State Wolfpack edition

It was a shootout, a deficit, a comeback, and a lot of heart. Let’s dissect Miami’s 44-41 win over N.C. State on Friday night.

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The Miami Hurricanes earned a comeback in over the N.C. State Wolfpack in a shootout on Friday night, winning 44-41.

Here’s our Game Recap by Candis McLean

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

The Good

  • Winning. Winning is good! Winning is fun! Winning, despite not playing your best game is great! I’m NEVER going to apologize for winning. And I’m not doing it now.
  • 6 wins on the year. That, through 7 games, is the total number of wins Miami had last year. In 13 games. That is unquestionably good.
  • QB D’Eriq King. Miami’s signal caller was the superstar he was billed to be when he transferred from Houston to Miami. 31-41 passing, 430 yards, 5 TD, 0 Ints to go along with 15 carries, 105 yards rushing. Time after time, play after play, big moment after big moment, King rose to the occasion and showed why he’s one of the most dominant players you’ll find anywhere in the country.
  • Here are a couple of King’s best plays from a superstar performance:
  • WR Mike Harley. 8 catches for 153 yards and 2 TDs. Harley has continued to excel after Miami opened up the WR competition in search of better performance.
  • TE Will Mallory, WR Mark Pope, WR Dee Wiggins. The trio combined for 19 catches for 252 yards and each scored a TD on the night. When you look at what these guys did, then add in Harley’s massive night, that’s the makings of a seriously impressive game from the Miami passing game. Finally.
  • DE Jaelan Phillips. 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU. He was all over the place. In a good way.
  • DT Nesta Silvera. Though his numbers might not be massive, his impact was. 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 QB hurry. When Miami needed stops in the 4th quarter, they turned to big #1, and he delivered.
  • DE Quincy Roche and STRIKER Gilbert Frierson. Both finished with 6 tackles and have been routinely playing at a high level. Bravo!
  • K Jose Borregales. 3/3 on FGs, 5/5 on XPs. Yup. Game-changer. Kickoffs weren’t as routinely deep into/through the endzone as they’d been this season, though.
  • The collective mindset of the team. Previous Miami teams — even last year’s team — find a way to lose this game tonight. On the contrary, this team banded together and found a way to win. That’s 100% good, in my opinion.
  • 44 points
  • 620 yards of offense
  • 189 yards rushing
  • 431 yards passing
  • A big comeback win (were down 41-31 in the 4th quarter)
  • 30 first downs
  • 7-16 on 3rd down
  • 1-1 on 4th down
  • 83 plays
  • 7.5 yards per play
  • 13.5 yards per completion
  • 4.6 yards per rush
  • 19 (!!!!!!) chunk plays: 12 passes (15+), 7 rushes (10+)
  • 6-7 redzone.....with the 1 possession without a score being the last one where Miami ran out the score instead of pushing for the points at the end of the game.
  • 6 TFL
  • 2 sacks
  • Allowed 7-12 3rd down conversions. And it honestly felt like MORE than this.
  • 83 to 63 advantage in plays. That’s that TEMPO.
  • 1 turnover forced (interception by DJ Ivey)

The Bad

  • Allowed 5 TFL (seemed like more)
  • Allowed 2 sacks (seemed like more)
  • Allowed 9 chunk plays: 6 passes (10+), 3 rushes (15+)
  • Letting the opposing QUARTERBACK catch a 33yd touchdown on a throwback screen.
  • Inconsistent run game. Without King’s incredible performance, Miami’s RBs had 23 carries for 89 yards. That’s good enough.
  • Allowed 24 first downs.
  • Allowed 4-4 redzone scoring.
  • Gurvan Hall running backward on a late punt return when Miami was trailing in the game...going inside his own 20. Why?!!??

The Ugly

  • All the penalties! Another 12 penalties for 101 yards. And that’s with several penalties being declined by NC State. Yes, a couple calls were bogus, but still. This has to change.
  • The UNCALLED penalties against NC State. Their OL was literally tackling Miami’s DL at the point of attack, or right next to the QB before he threw the ball, and it went uncalled. Over and over and over again. You can’t call it one way, but not the other way. THIS HAS TO STOP.
  • NC State’s backup QB going OFF. Remember in 2014-16 when every QB had a career day against Miami? That was Bailey Hockman today. 19-28 for 248 yards 2 TD 1 INT and a 33 yard receiving TD. U-g-l-y. Gotta do better against backup QBs, man.
  • Just re-upping the fact that Miami’s RBs ran for 3.87 yards per carry without King’s individual brilliance. Needs to be better.
  • Giving up a Kick Return for a touchdown. Immediately after scoring to tie the game. WOOF.
  • Yet another long inactives list tonight. 11 players out for the game. Miami was so thin during practices that they had grad assistants stepping into “be a body” during some sessions this week. These are reportedly absences due to COVID or contact tracing, but Miami’s a private school, so reports and rumors are all we’ll get. They won’t come out and say anything about this, but it’s still the ugly part of playing football this season.

Team Grades

Offense: B+

There was a bit of a lack of efficiency for parts of the game. And the run game averaged under 4 yards per carry if you discount what King did. And yes, we went back to some very pedestrian run calls for large portions of the game. can’t remove it fully. King was incredible; 535 yards of total offense himself!! The receivers largely showed up and showed out when challenged to make plays, and the Canes put tons of points on the scoreboard, all of which they needed. That’s a very, very good performance, even if some of the finer points could still be improved.

Defense: D

I not think NC State is as good as we made them look today. Hockman is fine, but he looked the part of a world-beater for the majority of the game. It was, again, death by a million paper cuts. But NC State got into the endzone today, unlike other teams such as Virginia who had to settle almost exclusively for field goals. Plays were made in the end, but there’s much, MUCH to improve. This is the 2nd time Miami’s given up 40 points this year. The last time before now? 2015 when Mark D’Onofrio was coordinating Miami’s defense. NOT the comparison you want to have. Nope. Not good!!!

Special Teams: C-

Miami got an early onside kick recovery (after they kicked the ball off a N.C. State player). Borregales was perfect on kicks. Hedley was good on punts. Hall was solid at PR if unspectacular. But giving up a KR-TD right after scoring to they the game? Woof. 2 demerits right there. Oh, and who is playing on the coverage units? It’s time to scrap the “participation rep” mentality for specials and play the starters there as well. It’s time.

Coaching: C

There’s a lot to nitpick here. From the Head Coach, to the coordinators, to the position coaches, there was plenty of room for growth. But, in the end, everybody worked together, kept the team together, and elevated the play of their group to persevere for a big road win. The fact that Miami won is bumping this grade slightly. But trust and believe that there are some SERIOUS discussions that need to happen. Particularly with the DC. Because that defense is gonna cost us a game, or more, the rest of this season if things don’t change.

That’s it for this edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

As always, I look forward to hearing your takes in the comments section. So hop in there, let me know what you think of my grades, and share yours.

Go Canes