The 2023 college football season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Miami Hurricanes. Despite some mid-year setbacks, they rallied together to earn a spot in the 2023 Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl to finish the 2023 season. For the staff. the players, and the fans alike, this bowl game is a chance at redemption and to show the world what they are truly capable of.
The Hurricanes were prolific offensively this season, ranking 2nd in the ACC in yards per game (441.2) and 3rd in points per game (32.1).
Fourth-year junior Xavier Restrepo (993 yards) and junior Jacolby George (851 yards) were one of the top wide receiver duos in the ACC, ranking second and fourth in receiving yards in the conference this season.
Restrepo (1st Team) and George (3rd Team) were selected as All-ACC honors.
Fourth-year junior running back Henry Parrish Jr. rushed for a team-leading 579 yards and six touchdowns this season, leading the ACC with 6.5 yards per carry.
On the other side of the ball, the Hurricanes lead the ACC in rushing yards allowed with a stingy defense that gave up (97.1) per game, while coming in at 6th in the conference in total defense (324.1 yards allowed per game).
Miami was one of just 12 teams in the FBS to hold opponents to less than 100 rushing yards per game this season.
Standout junior linebacker Francisco Mauigoa, who earned All-ACC Second Team honors, recorded 17.0 tackles for loss this season, tied for the second-most in the ACC and tied for the ninth-most in the FBS.
1) Miami WR Xavier Restrepo Vs Rutgers DB David Igbinosun
Xavier Restrepo has been Miami’s most consistent Wide Receiver and leads the team with 74 catches for 993 yards, a 13.4 ypc average, and 5 touchdowns. With Tyler Van Dyke no longer at the helm for Miami, can Restrepo still be clutch?
Rutgers DB David Igbinuson has 62 tackles, 1 sack, and only 1 pass defended on the season, but his 6-foot-3 and 205 pound frame could give the smaller receiver fits if Miami QB Jacurri Brown has issues with his accuracy. Igbinosun’s been thrown at 23 times and only given up 118 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
Advantage - Miami - Restrepo’s production this season leads me to believe that even without his best friend at the helm, he’ll deliver for the Canes when called upon.
2) Miami’s rushing offense Vs. Rutgers rushing defense
Miami has employed a running back by committee approach this season, headlined by Mark Fletcher, Jr. and Henry Parrish, Jr., and the Canes’ racked up 2,121 on 408 carries this season, for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. On the season, Miami’s averaging 176.8 yards rushing per game.
Conversely, Rutgers is giving up 137.8 yards rushing per game on the ground. They tend to take care of their run gaps and don’t give up many yards after contact. Senior linebackers Deion Jennings and Mohamed Toure have 169 tackles between them so expect to hear their names called early and often.
Advantage - Miami - It’s going to be hard for Rutgers to beat a team that averages a First Down every 2 running plays. With Miami starting an inexperienced QB, expect a run heavy offensive gameplan.
3) Miami’s Defense vs Rutgers’ Offense.
The Scarlet Knights featured a run-heavy offense in 2023, ranking fourth among Big Ten teams in rushing attempts (472), tied for third in rushing touchdowns (21), fourth in rushing yards per game (165.4) and fifth in rushing yards (1,985). Junior running back Kyle Monangai ranks among the best backfield weapons in the Big Ten this season, leading the conference in rushing yards (1,099).
Will Rutgers be able to protect Junior quarterback Gavin Wimsatt? They gave up just 14 sacks the entire 2023 season; Top 15 in the nation, but Wimsatt is one of the most statistically inaccurate passers in the nation with more than half of the season games seeing him complete less than 50% of his passes. He contributed 488 rushing yards and a team-leading nine rushing touchdowns (fourth-most in the Big Ten) on the season.
The Hurricanes defense accumulated 35 sacks on the season and utilized a variety of blitz packages and coverages to confuse opposing Offenses. Miami will be without 2 of their top 3 tacklers in James Williams and Kam Kitchens as both have opted to pursue NFL aspirations as projected 1st round picks. That leaves LB Francisco Mauigoa and Freshman All-ACC DL Rueben Bain Jr. to hold down the fort.
Advantage - Miami - The Scarlet Knights return a lot of starters on the line and they did a decent job of protecting their QB this season. With Miami losing 3 of their top 4 tacklers, it’ll be interesting to see what Lance Guidry can dial up to mask the inexperience in the Secondary. With that said, having a Freshman All American on board, Miami should be able to attack the QB and force the Scarlett Knights into turnovers.
Expect a good game and a Miami victory! #GoCanes!