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Film Review: NC State 20 - Miami 6

Miami will be in a dogfight to have a winning record as the Hurricanes offense has returned to the mediocre disaster it was under Josh Gattis in 2022.

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Miami v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The NC State Wolfpack stunned the Miami Hurricanes with a final of 20-6. In what was essentially a fistfight behind the Krispy Kreme on a Saturday night, the ‘Canes were dropped by the Pack. The Hurricanes and Wolfpack are both now 6-3 overall, but NCSU is 3-2 in the ACC while Miami falls to 2-3 in league play.

The Canyonero keys to victory from the summer were:

1- Where are the turnovers? Miami forced two turnovers but once again committed four turnovers of their own. The Miami turnover margin per game slides even further down in the FBS rankings. It’s hard to win a ball game when your offense turns the ball over four times.

2- Establish the run game. The only reason Miami had six points was because of Mark Fletcher’s running. Fletcher runs far too upright (and no, da choots won’t fix that) but averaged five yards per carry on 23 carries.

3- Win the kicking game. While Brayden Narveson made his two field goals and PAT’s, Andres Borregales finished 2-for-3 on FG’s missing his first true FG attempt all season. Miami won the return game with Brashard Smith averaging 33 yards per kick return. Miami was nearly blocked on punts multiple times by NCSU. So Miami in fact lost the KG.

My summer prediction was better than my fall prediction. Over the summer I predicted NCSU by 6, on Thursday I predicted Miami by 3. Boy was I wrong on which Miami would show up in the Oak City. But Miami lost 2-of-3 Canyo Keys and that’s where you wind up, in the loss column.

The Doppler

What wins football games? Typically penalties, turnovers and the kicking game. Things like 3rd and 4th down conversion rates certainly play a role, too.

Miami finished the game with six penalties for 55 yards compared to NC State’s five penalties for 48 yards. Miami finished with four turnovers and only two takeaways for a -2 turnover margin.

In the kicking game, NCSU made both of their field goal attempts while Miami missed one of their key attempts. Both teams were pitiful on 3rd down conversions with UM only converting 4-of-15 and State going 3-for-11. Miami also failed on both 4th down conversion attempts including a key attempt inside the +10 yard line.

Josh Gattis will be proud, Miami won the Time of Possession battle 35-24.

Miami Offense

The Hurricanes came away with only six points against Tony Gibson’s defense on Saturday night. Tyler Van Dyke struggled mightily vs the 3-3-5. NCSU either sent the house while playing cover 1 or cover 0 behind it, or dropped 7-8 and only brought 3-4 on pressure.

Van Dyke averaged only 4.6 yards per pass attempt with three interceptions and a lost fumble on a strip sack. Van Dyke once again looked lost against zone coverage and teams are going to continue to bring only 3-4 and drop everyone else. If Van Dyke won’t scramble teams aren’t going to play it any other way.

Mark Fletcher averaged five yards per carry on 23 rushes against NCSU’s odd front. Don Chaney and Henry Parrish both got limited touches averaging two and five yards per carry, respectively.

Brashard Smith was hardly used by Shannon Dawson and Miami lacked explosiveness because of it. Jacolby George did his part catching five balls for 59 yards and a 19-yard long (Miami’s best on the day).

The offensive line surrendered three sacks and four tackles for loss to NCSU’s defense. In all honesty with the way Gibson sends pressure and how immobile Van Dyke is, that’s really not bad, it’s just not “Greatest OL of all time” worthy either.

Above- I know this is NCSU’s offense and Miami’s defense, BUT, the point is Anae at least attempts to get creative when needing a spark on offense. Miami has an Armstrong type in Brown, why not utilize him?

Show us an interesting formation, put Brown at “QB” and run some sort of swinging gate offense. Anything but the same 12 personnel, 2x2 sets over and over. Anyway...

Above- This is the Offensive Play of the Game for Miami. Van Dyke is hit by Davin Vann as he throws, and drops a dime on the corner route to George.

Above- Miami’s S&C Staff has to do everything in their power to get Fletcher to lower his hips when he runs. But that’s not done with step over bags or in da chootz. That’s done over months of lifting, sprinting, jumping, etc. He has amazing cut ability and obviously can run hard, he just runs so damn high he’s a target every time out.

Above- Gibson has always given up the slant to take away the fade with his CB alignment. They play head up vs. inside shade which is weird for a 1-high team. The RPO slant is there the minute the overhang blitzes. Van Dyke is reading the overhang guy, he comes, it’s open.

Above- NCSU has a well coached defense. They’re experienced, they have a high Football IQ, Payton Wilson is a hell of a player and communicator in the heat of battle. That’s true mental toughness. They sniff out the counter from a mile away mixed with a run blitz. Odd fronts can get tricky for your counter game.

Above- Another red zone INT for Van Dyke. The DB’s are waiting on the under-thrown inside ball and snagging it out of the air.

Above- Van Dyke was much better about hitting his ‘check downs’ vs NC State but not here. The RB is there, he doesn’t even look to him. Strip sack for NCSU.

Above- The Pop RPO tag on 4th and 1.5 from 13 personnel.

Above- Van Dyke reads it right, the safety is in the window of the pop pass at the time of the handoff. That shot is from after the ball is gone and it’s clear the S is in the way and the RB has the ball. S is yelling at the box. Great communication from the Pack all night.

Miami Defense

Lance Guidry’s group held it together against a high school offense for as long as they could. Robert Anae’s formations, motions, shifts, multiple QB sets, and other gadgets worked here or there but were stymied until the 4th quarter.

Pack QB MJ Morris averaged only 5.9 yards per pass attempt with one touchdown and one interception. Morris also lost a fumble, much like his counterpart Van Dyke. Kevin Concepcion was everything you heard he was before the game. Concepcion rushed for only 3.7 yards per carry but averaged 12.2 yards per catch. He was a distracting force that picked up key 1st downs.

Brennan Armstrong played the “What I want Jacurri Brown to do” role for NCSU. Armstrong came in for pass-run options on QB designed swing or stick first, run second, PRO plays. Armstrong averaged 6.4 yards per carry, while Kendrick Raphael averaged 13.7 yards per carry with a touchdown.

Morris connected with seven receivers, but six of them only had one catch. The NCSU offensive line allowed two sacks and five TFL’s against Miami’s defensive front.

Above- The first Anae gadget works with Concepcion. You would’ve thought they’d have a 2-3 play package for this but I guess they didn’t need one. Save it for another week! James Williams gets absolutely fooled here. He’s much better hitting defenseless QB’s than making any play in space.

Above- I predicted in the Film Forecast NC State would hit the flats and they did for a TD. I’m not sure anything in this happened that wasn’t easily predictable from watching both teams play a few times this season.

Above- Nickel blitz against a green QB works like a charm. Jaden Davis strip sack and Harrison-Hunte recovers.

Above- Kam Kinchens with another beautiful interception. He looks as close to 100% as anyone can in November of football season. He’s feeling it again and this was my Defensive Play of the Game.

Above- Anae tries Concepcion on a jet sweep but it’s snuffed out easily. The defense knew it was coming.

Above- I love the Armstrong package and don’t know why Miami isn’t doing this with Brown. Speed option is SO HARD to defend in these types of situations. Williams slings a QB essentially in a horse collaring situation for another 15-yard penalty.

Above- And then it’s Williams on screen again. This time with a chest tap on Raphael. It doesn’t have the same effect against RB’s that it has on QB’s.

Above- Nice close up of this garbage finish attempt. Chest to chest, doesn’t use arms, no leg drive. Just darts himself and thinks it’s Morris or a scout RB.

The Wrap

Miami needs to get back to the drawing board on offense and Mr. Discipline, Mario Cristobal, needs to get his team back on track. All of the extra curricular jaw jacking proved to be all bark, no bite vs. the Wolfpack in Raleigh as Miami went to ‘fall back’ to 2022.

The ‘Canes are heading into a long weekend and traveling up to Doak Campbell Stadium to face the Florida State Seminoles. This is a rivalry matchup, and was a blowout in ‘22. If FSU is healthy (Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson were out vs. Pitt; Jared Verse was banged up in the game) this could be a long one for Miami fans.

If Miami is smart, they attempt to make this one as short of a game as possible. Hold the football, stall in the huddle, be clean in the kicking game.