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Miami Hurricanes vs Alabama Crimson Tide: Three Stars of the Game

A few lights shined in the darkness of today’s loss

NCAA Football: Alabama at Miami Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It really wasn’t pretty. At all.

The Miami Hurricanes (0-1, 0-0 ACC) and Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0, 0-0 SEC) met in the Chick-Fil-A kickoff game to open up each of their seasons.

As expected, it was the Crimson Tide who came out victorious. Despite quarterback Bryce Young making his first start, the defending national champions found the secret sauce and blew the Hurricanes out of the water 44-13.

This isn’t the time for moral victories but some players played well. There were impressive moments for the Hurricanes and certain players stood out.

Here are the three stars of the game

WR Xavier Restrepo

Xavier Restrepo got an extended role in the offense and, on the biggest stage, was impressive.

Restrepo led the Hurricanes in receiving, hauling in three receptions for 55 yards. In the third quarter, Restrepo made a nice grab for a 29-yard touchdown reception.

Lashlee lined Restrepo in a variety of spots. The Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School product was lined up in the slot a lot, but also saw some run on the boundary as an outside receiver. In the future, it’s likely that he sees the majority of his playing time in the slot.

Restrepo opened the season as a backup receiver but his performance may not be enough to propel him up in the depth chart. The Hurricanes have talented wide receivers and Mike Harley is currently taking the work in the slot.

Overall, it’s a solid sign for the future. Restrepo may be the future in the slot, so him getting extended playing time against a team like Alabama will be important for his future development.

S Kamren Kinchens

True freshman Kamren Kinchens faced an almost impossible task today. Starting the game as a backup to Bubba Bolden, Kinchens likely wouldn’t have seen a lot of playing time over the entirety of the game.

That was until Bolden was ejected for targeting early in the game, thrusting Kinchens from backup to starter for the majority of the game.

Kinchens finished the game with three solo tackles, six total tackles, and a forced fumble. Although the fumble wasn’t recovered by the Hurricanes, it was a play that showed Kinchens ability to make the hard tackles when necessary.

Expect Kinchens role to grow as the season continues. He’s a talented safety and the Hurricanes may have no choice but to keep him on the field.

LB Keontra Smith
Keontra Smith was burned in coverage early in the game but, overall, Smith put in a solid performance.

Starting at striker, Smith finished the night with six total tackles (three solo). Smith also finished with 1.5 tackles for loss, which tied with Jared Harrison-Hunte for the team-high.

Smith will need to learn from the poor coverage but if he figures that out, there’s a lot to like. He was one of Miami’s most impressive players when going vertically and wasn’t a slouch in run defense.

The decision to remove Gilbert Frierson from the starting job was largely debated, and that debate won’t end, but his performance will definitely ease some of the arguments early on.

Honorable mentions

Freshman kicker Andres Borregales hit both of his field goals from 37 yards and 28 yards.

Defensive tackle Jared Harrison-Hunte was impressive, tallying 1.5 tackles for loss. Earning the start at defensive tackle, his playing time should only improve as time goes on.