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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Bethune Cookman Wildcats edition

Miami opened the 2022 campaign with a dominant win over an overmatched FCS team. Let’s look below the surface to see what this team is made of.

NCAA Football: Bethune Cookman at Miami Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes opened the Mario Cristobal Era with a 70-13 win over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.

Craig T. Smith will be handling recaps this year. This is the first opus of the season:

New to penning the 3 stars of the week this year is Michael Schiffman. Here’s his debut on that content stream:

And with that being said, let’s dive into the inaugural edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the 2022 season.

The Good

  • A win. Winning is always good, no matter the opponent. Yes, Miami was expected to win, and they did. But after the last, I dunno, 20 years of mediocrity, I’m not taking ANY win for granted.
  • S Kamren Kinchens with an INCREDIBLE diving interception. He covered like 40 yards to get in position there. Not to mention the dive. And catch. I.....didn’t see a tweet with the video but you’re just gonna have to to take me at my word that it was a GREAT play.
  • The running game. RBs Henry Parrish and Thad Franklin Jr. were way too much for Bethune to handle. On the day, Parrish had 14 carries for 108 yards and 3 TDs, to go along with 3 catches for 25 yards, and Franklin added 9 carries for 78 yards and 2 TDs. Thunder and Lightning
  • S Gilbert Frierson with the pick-6!!! AND THE CELEBRATION!!!! #PutThatShitOn
  • A perfectly efficient offense in the 1st half. Scored TDs on every drive. 3-3 on 3rd downs. Efficient and effective. Just the way you like it.
  • QB Tyler Van Dyke. No, it wasn’t an eye-popping statistical performance from QB1, but it was pitch perfect. 13-16 passing for 193 yards, with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. With Miami SUPER DUPER outclassing Bethune, and with Cristobal leading the team, Miami ran the ball a lot. But TVD did what needed done when called on to pass. I expect nothing less.
  • QB Jake Garcia. The Redshirt Freshman had to remind y’all he’s the highest rated QB recruit since Kyle Wright today. 8-8 passing for 84 yards, and looked good doing it. Crisp throws. Good pocket movement. He’s biding his time on the bench behind TVD but Garcia will be ready for the QB1 job, whenever it comes open.
  • DL Akheem Mesidor. 4 tackles, a sack, and a batted pass, which turned into Gilbert Frierson’s pick-6. And his impact was much greater than the stats show. Well done.
  • WR Xavier Restrepo. 7 catches for 100 yards and a TD. He’s clearly a safety blanket in the middle of the field for both Van Dyke and Garcia. He’ll be a thorn in the side of opponents all year long.
  • WR Key’Shawn Smith. But not as a a kick returner. A team-high 184 all-purpose yards, all on KR. AND he had a sure touchdown on a return to start 2H, but there was a damn official IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WAY ON THE RETURN, and eventually K5 stepped out at the 17 yard line trying to avoid that dude. Smith was so explosive on his 3 kick returns that Bethune stopped kicking to him. If that’s not a sign of top-level impact, I don’t know what is.
  • LB Corey Flagg Jr. 4 tackles and 2 TFLs. Solid tackling and decent coverage. Bravo, sir!
  • 3 Interceptions on the day — one each by Kam Kinchens, James Williams, and Gilbert Frierson. Turnovers are good when our defense gets hem, and we got them.
  • A Blocked FG attempt. I saw it as either Tyrique Stevenson or Te’Cory Couch, who were basically on top of each other diving around the side of the line, but it was listed as blocked by DL Jacob Lichtenstein. Either way, great play!
  • A near-perfect game on offense. Apart from one drive that ended with a fumble (on the 2 yard line), Miami scored touchdowns every other time they had the ball...other than the last “run the ball and go home” drive. AND scored on defense, too! That’ll work.
  • WR Michael Redding III had a GREAT contested catch for a TD. It was so contested it was actually simultaneously caught by both Redding III and a Bethune-Cookman defender. But, Redding’s strong hands, and the official’s ruling, gave him the score.
  • 582 yards of offense
  • No sacks allowed. Another feather in the cap of the OL from today.
  • 277 yards rushing
  • 7 rushing touchdowns. As far as anyone is able to tell, that’s a modern school record. SO THAT WORKS.
  • 305 (ayyyyeeee) yards passing
  • 13.2 yards per completion
  • 12.7 yards per attempt
  • 7.3 yards per carry
  • 10 players had a catch
  • 2 deep on both sides of the ball got plenty of playing time. Even the 3rd string on defense, as well.
  • 31 first downs
  • 8.8 yards per play
  • 9/10 in the redzone. And the ONLY one we didn’t score was the “run the ball and go home” drive. Which ended at the 9, and would have been a touchdown with even 45 more seconds on the clock. But it counts.
  • 2 sacks
  • 5 TFLs
  • Held Bethune to 3.2 yards per carry.
  • Allowed 13 first downs. I’d like to see that a bit lower vs this competition, but it’s still a solid number overall.
  • 7-7 on 3rd down. 100% conversion rate, baby! WOOOOO!!!!
  • 0 Punts. Sorry, Louis Hedley. We’ll utilize your services another time.
  • 18 chunk plays — 8 passes (15+), 10 runs (10+)
  • No field goals. All touchdowns.
  • Touchback on every kickoff.

The Bad

  • Eh, honestly, anything “Bad” this week is going in “The Ugly”. Cuz it’s Bethune.

The Ugly

  • Missed tackles. No, there weren’t as many as when Manny Diaz was here last year, but there were still times where Miami was unable to get a Bethune player on the ground.
  • Edge Rushing. Lost contain and didn’t get home against Bethune’s mobile QBs. I see the talent, but the production needs to be better.
  • Allowed 13 first downs. Shouldn’t have been that many.
  • Allowed Bethune QBs — multiple — to escape the pocket and hurt us with their legs. That can’t happen. There must be more discipline against running QBs.
  • Allowed 11 chunk plays — 7 passes (15+), 4 runs (10+). Unacceptable.
  • 6 penalties for 48 yards. And there was an offsetting unsportsmanlike penalty that’s not included. Not good enough. Not by a longshot. Tighten up.
  • Blown coverages. There were a couple, included one that led to Bethune’s lone TD of the day. Gotta tighten that up as well.
  • Suspensions. Mario Cristobal told the media after the game about some suspensions and injuries. He stated he/the program held certain things back to remove distractions. I mean....I guess. But whether you tell people or don’t, those players are still suspended. So where’s the distraction? Whatever. Here’s the list:
  • And, before you ask, no, there was no reason given for any of the suspensions.
  • Jaylen Knighton warmed up, but ended up being held out due to the soft-tissue injury listed above.
  • Leonard Taylor left the game with a stinger, and “should be fine” according to Cristobal. Which, I guess, is good.

Team Grades

Offense: A-

It was a very clean game, with few penalties, and touchdowns on every drive save 1 that wasn’t the end of game drive. Sure, you want there to be no turnovers (1 fumble killed the only non-TD drive) and you want to see some more explosive action in the passing game, but this was a great achievement based on the circumstances. Bravo.

Defense: C+

This might be harsh, but I don’t care. 13 points is a LOT to give up to Bethune. And it could have been more if not for a blocked FG. And even more still if one (or both) of the made FG drives had ended with a touchdown. Interceptions are great but they don’t negate the missed tackles and blown coverages. Improvement will be seen, but this is the grade I have for what we saw TODAY.

Special Teams: A+

Blocked FG by the defensive special teams. Explosive Kick Returns (FINALLY). Perfect kicking on PATs. A touchback on every kickoff. 12/10. No notes. Bravo.

Coaching: A

Team was well prepared. Team executed the (very basic and vanilla) gameplan. Team scored a bunch of points, in every area of the game. Tons of guys played. Hard coaching and adjustments fixed things that needed fixing. I like it.

I’m not saying it was perfect. Because it wasn’t. But this was a damn sight better than what we’ve seen from the coaching staff in the past, and I, for one, am excited to see where we go from here.

That’s it for this installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Hop in the comments and discuss.

Go Canes