IT’S MONDAY!!!! Meaning it’s time to hop onto an orange-and-green chopper and rumble through the caverns of my Canes-infused brain...
1) Well, a win is a win, I guess. I love the first half. The defense was smart and aggressive. Tackled well, made Grant Wells uncomfortable. The offense did reasonably well, compiling 17 first half points. The problem is the foot and the gas pedal divorced after quarter number three ended, and the final score ended up being much closer than it should have been. This Virginia Tech team is really bad. Near-the-bottom-of-the-ACC-type of bad. And Miami needed a third down completion to Frank Ladson, Jr. to ice it. They say it’s how you finish, and that wasn’t the way. A 20-14 win wasn’t pretty. But - like people say when complaining about being old and reaching another birthday - the alternative would have been far worse.
2) Colbie Young has that dawg in him. 9 catches for 110 yards and a tuddy. Miami has their new WR1. That 1-handed touchdown was a thing of beauty.
3) And that actually is derivative of a problem that has emerged, and that being the young south Florida WRs failing to take over as the guy. Brashard Smith has shown flashes, but none of that group of young guys has become an impact player. Last year Charleston Rambo came in and took over as a transfer, and that was ok, as the guys were freshman. But again, Young has transferred in and become a stud quickly, while fellow transfer Ladson, Jr. also had a sizable role in the win Saturday. It’s. Time. For. The. Sophomores. To. Step. Up.
4) Tyler Van Dyke was poised again. His 17-yard TD dart to Young was a thing of beauty. He’s become the opposite of what’s wrong with this team, and he’s going to have to continue to excel and help make up for Miami’s joke of a running game because.....
5) .......the offensive line is still a massive wreck. I don’t know that we’ll see anything change this year in that regard. They’ve been bad for years, and the running game has and continues to struggle. They are who they are a this point, and that’s a bad unit overall that’s dragging this team down.
6) And speaking of wrecks, Miami’s discipline was a Manny-esque disaster. 17 penalties for 159 yards. That’s just insane. That’s simply a lack of focus, which just can’t happen. Any better level of opponent would have resulted in a loss from so many shots in the foot like that.
7) Akheem Mesidor was an absolute force on the defensive line. 8 tackles and 3.5 sacks. My word. He was a large reason Virginia Tech’s offense was damned-near non-existent for 45 minutes. If he can repeat that performance this weekend, Duke doesn’t have a chance to block him.
8) And yes, the Blue Devils come to Hard Rock Stadium this weekend. They had UNC beat on Saturday night before a very iffy illegal block was called that overturned the clinching touchdown and gave UNC the ball back for a winning drive. A big blow to the Canes’ remaining Coastal hopes...but let’s be honest. Miami doesn’t deserve to be in that discussion right now with their level of play.
9) Prediction: Miami 33, Duke 31. The Blue Devils HAD THEIR WAY with UNC’s defense on the ground, tallying 297 yards on 42 carries. The same UNC front that Miami couldn’t do jack squat against. That’s pretty sad. Miami should be able to slow the run, but QB Riley Leonard will still get his through the air and on the ground and will be a major headache for UM. But the good Van Dyke is back, and Miami will put together a late drive finished off by an Andres Borregales field goal in the final seconds to secure an all-too-uncomfortable win.