Well, the Miami Hurricanes came back down to earth tonight. They were humbled by the Texas A&M Aggies and their raucous home crowd at Kyle Field, 17-9. The Canes couldn’t score a touchdown despite running roughly 137 plays inside the red zone. (Sigh). Let’s get to the three stars of the game.
1. Leonard Taylor III - DT
Miami’s stud five-star defensive tackle was on his game again tonight, and he made himself known to the rest of the country. It’s too bad he can’t play wide receiver. His consistent pressure and occupying of double teams is one of the main reasons the Canes were in the game as long as they were. I’m very happy to know he has to come back for 2023. Beyond that, I’m already excited to see how high he will get drafted in a couple years.
2. James Williams - S
No surprise another star is Miami’s other five-star defensive player. Big James (it’s what I’m calling him now) was a force in the secondary against the Aggies. He made several open-field tackles. More importantly, he didn’t let any A&M receiver get over the top of him. Big James did have two penalties; both were lame. He was called for a face mask against A&M running back Devon Achane, despite Achane grabbing Williams’ first. He was also called for another personal foul for body-slamming A&M wide receiver Ainias Smith. Smith’s forward momentum wasn’t stopped. It wasn’t a penalty. I continue to love how Williams is playing this season. He is, as some scouts would say, figuring it out.
3. Offensive Line
I know, there were back-to-back holding penalties in the fourth quarter, and some slip-ups in the first half as well. That said, I liked what I saw tonight as a whole. Head Coach Mario Cristobal and offensive line coach Alex Maribel have improved things up front in a real way. The big guys opened many a running lane for running backs Henry Parrish Jr. and Jaylon Knighton. They also gave TVD plenty of time to throw the ball. Texas A&M’s strongest unit is their defensive line. To give up no sacks to them is impressive. It’s not Miami’s offensive line’s fault that they couldn’t score a touchdown in any of their red zone trips.
Jaylon Knighton - RB: Rooster ran hard tonight with 77 yards on 14 carries. Was close to breaking a couple long runs. Good to see him back.
Will Mallory - TE: Caught six balls for 56 yards. Came alive in the second half. Overcame a scary play where he fell on his head while being tackled.
DJ Ivey - CB: Had a couple PBUs in the first half. Help up well in man coverage. Good signs.
Who were your three stars of the game? Let us know in the comments below.