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Film Review: Miami 38 - Virginia Tech 26

The Hurricanes hold on to beat the Hokies at Hard Rock on senior night.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes held off the Virginia Tech Hokies on senior night at Hard Rock Stadium. The ‘Canes emerged victorious by a final score of 38-26 over their mini-rival, the Hokies.

The Canyonero keys to victory were to not give up crossing routes, to get a pass rush with a four man rush and to come ready:

1- I don’t recall mesh and shallow cross being as much of an issue as years past.

2- Miami sacked the QB’s four times and added two more hurries. 4-5 man pressures were more common than the old Diaz 6+ man pressures.

3- Miami was shot out of a cannon and led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. The hot start is no longer on the wish list. It’s sustaining that’s been lacking of late.

The Doppler

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The ‘Canes finished 6-of-12 on 3rd downs and converted their lone 4th down attempt (although it sure looked short from the TV replays). Miami did a good job of holding VT to 5-of-14 on 3rd downs but 1-of-1 on their 4th down attempt.

The penalties were cut drastically down from the FSU game. Miami committed only five penalties for 45 yards. Miami also did not turn the ball over, unless you count giving up the onside kick to the Hokies.

The offense

The Miami offense can’t run the ball to save its life, and especially not in wet conditions. Jaylan Knighton ran 14 times for 17 yards and two scores. His game is outside speed and it was shut down against FSU and not VT. Thad Franklin came in late to rush for four yards per carry.

Tyler Van Dyke... for all of the faults and flaws of the Manny Diaz Era- Van Dyke isn’t one. Besides three beautifully thrown TD passes, Van Dyke also scrambled at just the right times to pick up key first downs.

The second year freshman QB also threw the ball away rather than taking bad sacks or forcing throws. He’s learning with every experience, both good and bad. Van Dyke ended with three TD’s and 10.8 yards per pass attempt.

Five of six Miami receivers hit on double-digit yards per catch. Brashard Smith had a 75 yard grab and Mike Harley hit on a 55 yarder. The ‘Canes offensive line allowed zero sacks, four hurries and five TFL’s.

Above- Van Dyke is a good QB, when he gets protection he’s even better. Miami holds up in pass pro, Van Dyke stares him down a little but he puts a great throw up for Charleston Rambo who catches the fade.

Above- Mallory has been playing much better the second half of the season. Here he runs a wheel with nice head and shoulder fake action. VT fails to stick with him and it’s a nice TD.

Above- Van Dyke creates time by creating space. He’s really improved his ability to throw on the run, including when he smartens up and throws the ball away.

Above- Again, protection holds and Van Dyke has time to hit the post route. Explosive plays are the path to victory in the modern era of college football. You have to hit on explosives.

Above- Miami went with some guard wrap, not exactly power but some zone blocking play side and the guard pull back side. Lashlee used motion to impact the Hokies OODA Loop. Knighton’s leg drive plus his teammates “Bush Push” leads to the TD.

Above- In the rain with a wet ball, Van Dyke creates space by dropping back seven good steps on a shotgun drop. He unloads and hits Smith in stride. From an under thrown pick against FSU, he can rip this throw in a downpour.

Above- Miami pads the lead with another deep ball. The protection holds up, Van Dyke creates a little space for more time by pushing the pocket wide and deep and Harley outruns the VT DB’s.

The defense

The defense gave up 227 yards rushing for 5.3 yards per carry and missed some key tackles, but there were many positives to be seen. The QB’s were the two man rushers for VT, running power read off jet sweep and QB draw. Connor Blumrick, the back up QB, ran for 132 yards on 6.6 yards per carry. Braxton Burmeister ran for 5.2 yards per carry on 10 rushes.

However, Burmeister and Blumrick were held to only 5.3 yards per pass attempt. The duo threw three combined TD’s with no interceptions, but Burmeister did fumble on a strip sack. The ‘Canes defense produced four sacks and 10 TFL’s.

Only two Hokie receivers had double-digit receiving yards and Tre Turner was cut down to only 8.8 yards per catch but did score.

Above- Miami is in 2-high and VT knows the middle of the field is open, and like a Denny’s by the airport, it is always open vs. Miami. The ‘Canes split at the 2nd and 3rd level between the coverage and the toss action.

Above- I hate the red zone fade on 3rd down but VT pulls it off. DJ Ivey is all over the WR but he hauls it in one-handed.

Above- VT tries to use a TE against Zach McCloud and he abuses him. Miami brought five and got there for the strip sack. VT has been exceptionally bad in pass pro against Miami the last two years.

Above- VT went back to the well from 2020 (check it out here). Tech scored on power read a year ago and went back to it a lot on Saturday. If it works vs a certain coach it typically continues to work.

Above- Another 3rd down red zone fade... VT was proving me wrong while Miami was proving us all right by giving up easy throws vs bad cornerback play.

Above- Snag burns Miami’s defenders in the red zone. I really like slant-sits and snag combos. As defenders chase bubbles and arrows the outside WR opens up.

The wrap

With their win over the Hokies, Miami is now bowl eligible. The Hurricanes are 6-5 heading into a game against hapless Duke in Durham, NC. The ‘Canes flashed some signs of good special teams with Xavier Restrepo returning kicks and Jacolby George returning punts. Andres Borregales made all six of his kicks, including a field goal.

The U has the chance to finish 7-5 on the season including 5-3 in the ACC. Is that good enough? Absolutely not. Is that going to save Manny Diaz’s job? We’ll find out.