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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Duke Blue Devils edition

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A blowout win over an overmatch opponent. Just the way things should be.

NCAA Football: Miami at Duke Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes ended the 2021 regular season with a 47-10 asskicking of the cellar dwelling Duke Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon.

No recap today, but the homie KappaCane made his return debut and chimed in with the 3 stars of the game:

And, as always, I’m here as always with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. So, let’s get into it.

The Good

  • Winning. Winning is always good. And this is a game we should have won, and should have won by even more than the 37pt margin of victory.
  • QB Tyler Van Dyke. Another strong game from Miami’s star signal caller. 34/49 passing (69% completion), for 381 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs.
  • This was Van Dyke’s 6th consecutive game with 300+ yards and 3+ TDs. That’s pretty good, if you ask me.
  • Midway through the 1st quarter, with his 5th catch of the day WR Mike Harley passed Reggie Wayne to set the new record for most receptions in a career for the Hurricanes!
  • Early in the 4th quarter, Harley again etched his name in the record books, this time with his 13th catch, which set the record for most catches in a single game in Miami history.
  • On his TD catch early in the 2nd quarter, WR Charleston Rambo set the record for most receptions in a single season in Hurricanes history. He surpassed the 72 catches of Leonard Hankerson in 2010 to break the record.
  • Not only does Charleston Rambo have the most catches in a single season in Miami Hurricanes history, but with his 2nd TD catch midway through the 3rd quarter, Rambo also set the record for most receiving yards in a single season in Canes history.
  • For the day, Rambo ended with 8 catches for 101 yards and 2 TDs, while Harley had 13 catches for 96 yards in their record-setting performances.
  • The offensive line. Miami had plenty of time to do what they wanted on offense, and that’s credit to the OL.
  • No sacks allowed today.
  • RBs Jaylan Knighton and Thad Franklin. Both ran well on the day with 51 and 45 yards respectively. Franklin got his work later in the game when Miami was looking to kill the will of Duke, and his tough, physical running, including his 2nd TD of the year, did the trick.
  • TVD connected with 9 receivers on the day, so there was diversity to the passing game even in the midst of some record-setting performances.
  • The defense. I’ll get into the numbers in a second, but this looked and largely felt the way a Miami defense should look and feel.
  • If you’re looking for individual standouts, CB Marcus Clarke had a late interception. DT Leonard Taylor was in the backfield often, as was DT Nesta Silvera. STRIKER Chase Smith had a huge tackle on 4th and short. And Gilbert Frierson snuffed out not one but two fake punt attempts by Duke, and made the tackle to stop the play each time.
  • Miami held Duke to 3 offensive points on the day. That’ll work.
  • Miami forced 5 Duke punts
  • Allowed just 219 yards of offense — 157 yards passing and 62 yards rushing
  • That’s Duke’s lowest offensive yardage output of the season, by nearly 100 yards
  • 3 sacks
  • 9 TFLs
  • 1 forced fumble
  • 1 interception
  • Held star RB Mataeo Durant to his 3rd lowest yardage total of the year. 68 yards rushing on 22 carries. Though Durant did break Duke’s single season rushing record today.
  • Held QB Gunnar Holmberg to his 3rd lowest yardage total of the year. 148 yards and an interception on 20/33 passing.
  • Allowed 3.2 yards per play
  • Allowed just 15 first downs
  • Allowed 1-4 on 4th down
  • Allowed 1.8 yards per rush
  • 530 yards of offense — 390 yards passing and 140 yards rushing
  • 10 chunk plays — 6 passes (15+), 4 runs (10+)
  • Allowed only 3 chunk plays — all runs (10+)
  • 33 first downs
  • 88 offensive snaps
  • 11.1 yards per completion
  • 8-17 on 3rd down
  • 3-3 on 4th down
  • 7-7 in the red zone
  • 4-4 on FGs
  • NO penalties in the 2nd half.

The Bad

  • The start of the game. We’ll get into that more in The Ugly, but I just wanted to put that out there here.
  • 5 penalties for 30 yards, and an offsetting unsportsmanlike penalty, as well. Better than the million penalties from the FSU game, but against a better team, even this amount of penalties can prove problematic. Fix it.
  • Some missed tackles, particularly later in the game against Durant.
  • Allowed 3 chunk (10+ yard) runs. With 2 of them converting long 3rd down yardage. Gotta fix it.

The Ugly

  • Kickoffs and kick coverage. Not only were the kickoffs (intentionally) short early on, Duke’s first two returns were explosive. 37 yards to the 44 yard line, which set up Duke’s only offensive scoring drive — a FG. And the 2nd one..... just look at the tweet, man.
  • I know Miami has played down to some bad competition and lost this year, but allowing a 94 yard TD to DUKE of all teams?! To give them a 10-3 lead early, by the way? INEXCUSABLE!!!
  • The sheer NEED to resort to pooch kicking the rest of the game to avoid another explosive return from Duke. Come on.
  • 5 penalties. Again, that’s too many.
  • Allowed 9-19 3rd down conversions. ESPECIALLY when you consider Duke was only converting 42% on the year, giving up nearly 50% is just not something that should happen.
  • Settling for FGs. Yes, it’s good that Borregales was 4-4. But those need to be touchdowns. Even if half of them are TDs, we’re talking 50+ to 10 today. And Duke game up 62 last week, so that could easily have been the amount of points Miami put up, had they not stalled out on those FG drives. Killer instinct and the ability to finish. Find them now.
  • P Louis Hedley, CB Tyrique Stevenson, and DT Jon Ford missed the game with various injuries. You hate to see that, especially from 3 top of the lineup players.

Team Grades

Offense: B+

Lots of yards, but a lower yards per play number than you want to see, especially against a porous defense such as Duke’s. Would have liked more points, and a couple or all the FG drives to have been touchdowns. Passing game was great. Running game could have been better, both in terms of raw yardage and per-rush average as well.

Defense: A-

Held Duke to 3 points. The other 7 were on special teams. 3 sacks and 9 TFLs and just made life difficult for Duke all day long. Add in an interception, and a fumble that was in the hands of a Miami defender that he should have fallen on instead of trying to scoop and score, and that’s pretty much a clean game. Dropping the grade just a touch for the early conversions and defensive penalties, which were all in the 1st half.

Special Teams: D-

Punting without Hedley was VERY NOT GOOD. 40 yards against pressure, but that was a nice roll and didn’t make me feel good about next year when 94 is gone. And the kick coverage issues. 37 yard return, 94 yard touchdown return, and then having to pooch it because we couldn’t contain the Duke return game. That’s disgusting, but even more so this year. 4-4 on FGs was good, and punt returns were okay. But this is a wholistic grade and I stand by it.

Coaching: B

Weekly disclaimer that I still believe Diaz should be fired, and have been unwavering on that point since the loss to Michigan State.

It was a bit unsettled early, but Diaz and company settled the team and once done, Miami ended on a 44-0 run to get to the final score.

And, to his credit, Diaz was aggressive going for it on 4th down, and the playcalling on offense and defense was better. But it’s easy to look good — or better, at least — against a team such as Duke. They’re VERY bad. But this is what you should do to a bad team, and credit on the staff in getting the team to be able to do so.

And if this is OC Rhett Lashlee’s swan song at Miami — multiple reports have him to be announced as SMU’s next coach in the coming days — it was a very Lashlee game. No flea flicker today tho.

And, if this is Manny Diaz’s swan song at Miami, it showed that he’s maybe needing a few years at a G5 school to learn more about running a team before getting a big job again. Because he can clearly stand to develop his process and operations more as his career continues.


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

Hop in the comments and discuss.

Go Canes