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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets edition

Oh. So that’s what winning feels like.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Miami at Georgia Tech Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes bounced back from a loss last week and earned a 35-14 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.

Craig T. Smith has your game recap:

I’m pulling double duty tonight, so here’s my version of the 3 stars:

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

The Good

  • A win! Winning is good! Winning is fun! WE SHOULD DO MORE WINNING!!!
  • A touchdown!!!!! The Miami Hurricanes scored a touchdown for the first time in more than 9 quarters and 4 OTs!!!!
  • Credit where it’s due: congratulations to true freshman QB Jacurri Brown on his first career touchdown pass. It put Miami up 7-0 midway through the 1st quarter.
  • In his first career start, Brown was intermittently brilliant, pretty steady, and dynamic enough to lead Miami to victory. His final stat line was solid: 14 for 19 passing for 136 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, to go along with 19 carries for 87 yards rushing. He was my #1 star of the game, and showed glimpses of what he can be in the future. Brown isn’t a finished product passing the ball by any means, but he’s a gamer. He showed how that can work here today, and I look forward to seeing his development continue moving forward.
  • S Kamren Kinchens continued his strong season with an interception to end GT’s opening drive of the game.
  • Kinchens wasn’t satisfied with 1 INT. Or 2. This, his 3rd pick of the day, ended the game. A 99 yard pick-6 to put Miami up 35-7. Truly incredible.
  • Kinchens’ 3 interception day was the first such game by a Miami Hurricane since Kenny Phillips in 2006 at Duke.
  • Oh yeah, Kinchens had a team-high 8 tackles, 0.5 TFL, and 1 PBU to go alongside his 3 interceptions.
  • RB Jaylan Knighton. Out of the doghouse after some very, very bad fumble issues and made the most of his return to the lineup. 16 carries for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. I tweeted during the game that Knighton was running like he was back at Deerfield Beach High School. Knighton ran for more than 5,000 yards in HS for Deerfield, so that is a very good thing if he’s returning to that form. And, he didn’t fumble, which is probably the biggest positive I can add here.
  • LB Caleb Johnson. 7 tackles and 0.5 TFL.
  • CB Tyrique Stevenson. 1 tackle and 1 interception and solid coverage all day long.
  • DE Mitchell Agude. 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack. Agude was also held on multiple plays, but the refs decided they didn’t want to call them, which is infuriating. But still, a solid performance from the UCLA transfer.
  • LB Wesley Bissainthe. Making his first start, the true freshman had 6 tackles and impacted the game from sideline to sideline.
  • WR Colbie Young and TEs Will Mallory and Jaleel Skinner had touchdown catches from Brown on the day.
  • CB Te’Cory Couch had a couple nice tackles today on quick outs.
  • P Louis Hedley. A 46 yard per punt average on 5 kicks, with 3 landing inside the 20, and a pair pinned inside the GT 5. That’ll work.
  • Again, taking a delay of game instead of burning a meaningless timeout before a punt. This is now twice I’ve seen this development. And I’m happy about it. This is good.
  • The youth movement. Brown. Bissainthe. Nyjalik Kelly. Jaleel Skinner. Anez Cooper. Laurence Seymore. Even Kinchens and James Williams and Leonard Taylor are only sophomores. You can start to see Cristobal’s vision for the future with the performance of these younger players.
  • This Miami fan, who, following Kinchens’ pick-6 decided to tell the GT team what she felt about them.
  • 7-12 on 3rd down
  • 9 TFLs
  • 2 sacks
  • 4 PBU
  • 4 interceptions — 3 by Kinchens, 1 by Stevenson
  • 1 defensive touchdown — Kinchens’ pick-6
  • Allowed only 3 TFL
  • Allowed only 1 sack
  • 10 chunk plays — 3 passes (15+), 7 runs (10+)
  • 217 yards rushing
  • 4.9 yards per rush
  • 21 first downs
  • 3-3 in the redzone
  • 3-3 scoring touchdowns in the redzone
  • 35:46 time of possession — WOW
  • Held GT to 4-12 on 3rd down
  • Held GT to 1-2 on 4th down
  • This week’s advanced stats chart. It’s VERY GOOD for Miami.....except for the one thing that’s plagued this offense all year long. Fine I’ll say it: explosive plays. There.

The Bad

  • Only 353 yards of offense. Look, it was better than it’s been, but it wasn’t exactly “good”.
  • Only 136 yards passing. I know, I know. Brown did well with what he was asked to do, but more will be needed from the passing game in the future, even if it wasn’t needed today.
  • Allowed 23 first downs
  • Allowed 11 chunk plays — 5 passes (15+), 6 runs (10+). BUT, let it be said, this is still a step in the right direction from earlier in the year.
  • The lack of vertical passing game. Brown has a cannon for an arm. Gotta work to get him able to use it to hit guys down the field, not just in the screen game.
  • Letting GT QB Zach Pyron run seemingly at will. Like Brown, Pyron is a true freshman who is able to use his legs to punish opposing defenses. He scrambled and called his own number in the run game often. I don’t love it.

The Ugly

  • DT Darrell Jackson Jr. jumping offsides on a hard count on 4th and 3 for Georgia Tech. That kept their drive alive and could have ended in points, if not for Kinchens’ interception. This kind of undisciplined play is wholly unacceptable. This is the shit that has to stop. NOW.
  • DE Nyjalik Kelly’s roughing the passer penalty after Miami got a turnover on downs late in the game. That allowed GT to score their second TD of the game. And I’m upset because 35-7 looks so much better than 35-14.
  • 9 penalties for 77 yards. And that’s with a penalty declined by GT. Nowhere near good/clean enough.
  • Brown’s deep throws. They weren’t close. And not because he doesn’t have the arm. He has a CANNON. He just....doesn’t know where it’s going, yet.
  • Injuries. Tyler Van Dyke missed another game (which should have been his 3rd missed game but you already know I don’t think he should have played against FSU). RB Henry Parrish missed the game. DT Leonard Taylor left the game and was seen on the sideline with a boot on his left foot in the 2nd half. And that’s not to mention the laundry list of players that are already out for the year. This walking M*A*S*H* unit of a team needs to get healthy. The depth is not present to withstand more losses from the game-ready players on the roster.
  • Honestly, that’s about it. This was Miami’s most complete performance of the year. And it showed.

Team Grades

Offense: C+

I could go higher here if I graded on a curve, but overall, it was average+. The run game showed signs of life, and Jacurri Brown was a boost to the team overall. He isn’t perfect as a player, and wasn’t perfect on the day, but Brown had Miami’s offense moving in a way that hasn’t been seen for a good long time. Let him start hitting some vertical throws and the sky is the limit. Still, for today, a C+ fits, and it’s a BIG step forward so we should be happy for the improvement seen, and continue to look for further improvement going forward.

Defense: B+

This was close to a solid A, but letting up that last touchdown wasn’t it. Miami’s defense was largely dominant today. 4 interceptions, 4 sacks, 9 TFLs. The last penalty gave GT their final TD on a silver platter, so I don’t love that. Plus, letting Pyron run around on the field for a while until he left the game with an injury wasn’t my favorite thing either. But still, credit where it’s due: the defense stepped up and did a very, very solid job. Bravo.

Special Teams: A

No FGs today but perfect on XPs. Kickoffs that weren’t into the wind were boomed out of the endzone, and those that were into the win were solid sky kicks. Hedley’s punting was great. And the coverage unit to down the ball inside the 10 multiple times was great as well. Had Couch downed that last punt on the 1, it would have been an A+ performance. Well done.

Coaching: B

From the decision to start Brown, to the way the game was called, to the defense, to the offensive adjustments (in spots, not overall), to game management, this was a big, BIG step forward from the entire coaching staff. This looked like a confident, capable group and the performance of the team on the field reflected that. Again, it wasn’t perfect, but this was much, much, MUCH better from the staff. The team was prepared. They were ready. And the tweaks made by the staff showed up in big, positive ways on the field. So shoutout to them. This was a job well done.

That’s it for this installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Hop in the comments and let your thoughts be known.

Miami wins! Sorry, I just wanted to say that again.

Go Canes