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Huge Game has Kinchens in Elite Company

An elite performance from the second-year safety set Miami up for a win and Kinchens up with one of the best seasons for a Hurricanes’ defensive back in the last two decades.

NCAA Football: Miami at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Entering week 11, Kamren Kinchens led the Miami Hurricanes with three interceptions. He tied that number against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as well as a program record and as well as coming close to others.

Kinchens finished the game with eight total tackles (career-high), four solo tackles, half a tackle for loss, and three interceptions, including the game-sealing pick-six, returned for 99 yards.

Kinchens’ three-interception performance ties a program record for interceptions in a game, something done 11 times by nine other players dating back to 1937.

The other player to have three interceptions in a game for the University of Miami are Joe Dixon (1937), Bill Steiner (1940), Al Hudson (1945, 1948), Whitey Campbell (1946, 1947), John Bookman (1956), Larry DiGiammarino (1958), Gene Coleman (1979), Bobby Harden (1988), and Kenny Phillips (2006).

His first big play of the game ended the Yellow Jackets’ first drive of the game, which had made its way to the Hurricanes’ 32-yard-line. On third and 12, quarterback Zach Pyron threw a jump ball down the sideline that Kinchens went up and attacked to make his fourth interception on the season.

The second interception for Kinchens came with just over a minute left in the third quarter on the first drive with the backup quarterback in the game. On second down from the Georgia Tech 18-yard line, Kinchens made a play on an over-thrown pass.

On top of the fact Kinchens had a great game, he also had an extremely memorable play. With less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Yellow Jackets’ backup quarterback Zach Gibson threw a post-route that was undercut by the safety for his third pick of the game and sixth interception of the season. As soon as he caught the ball, he had nothing but green grass in ahead and would have the second-longest interception return in program history.

The only interception with a longer return in program history came from Selwyn Brown in 1985 against Boston College. He just beat out Paul Hefti (Fordham, 1954; 98 yards) and Maurice Sikes (Florida, 2002; 97 yards).

The big game for Kinchens also helps him move into some nice company in the ranks of Hurricanes’ interceptions in a season. Since 2003 when Sean Taylor tied a program record of 10 interceptions, there haven’t been many players to reach four interceptions in a season.

Since 2004, the players to have more than four interceptions are Jaquan Johnson (2017), Michael Jackson (2017), Artie Burns (2015), Tracy Howard (2013), Kenny Phillips (2006), and Devin Hester (2004).

Kinchens’ six interceptions are now the most since Burns also had six in 2015. If he has another interception in the final two games (possibly three if Miami plays in a bowl game), he would be tied for the sixth-most interceptions in a season in program history.

Four more interceptions this season would tie Kinchens for the most in a single season in program history, Bennie Blades (1986) and Sean Taylor (2003) each had 10 interceptions in a season. Gene Coleman (1979) and Ed Reed (2001) each finished with nine interceptions in a season.

Reed also had eight interceptions in 2000, so it would take two more for Kinchens to tie that number and move into the top five in program history for a single season. With two (guaranteed) games remaining against Clemson and Pittsburgh, there is an opportunity to cement himself in Miami history.