The Miami Hurricanes are 2-0 after a 48-33 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday afternoon. After starting the game disastrously with a blocked punt that led to an easy A&M score, Miami pulled up to end the first half, then pulled away.
The Canyonero Keys to victory were to score some dang points, get pressure on A&M’s QB and make the important kicks. Did Miami fulfill those three keys? I’d say, yes.
1- Score more than nine points. Shannon Dawson, thanks, buddy.
2- Get pressure on Weigman. Miami didn’t record a sack of Conner Weigman but he felt the pressure on the corner blitzes time and again. The timing of the A&M passing game never got settled and that was because of pressure.
3- Make the kicks that count. Andres Borregales finished 2-of-3 on field goals, including a 50-yarder, and 6-of-6 on extra points.
The key stats that make up the real in’s and out’s of a game are things like 3rd and 4th down conversions, turnovers and penalties. Miami finished only 3-of-9 on third down and will have to pick that up, but the defense held TAMU to only 8-of-18 on 3rd, but 2-of-3 on 4th down which is rough.
Miami suffered the blocked punt and the muffed punt return while TAMU turned the ball over three times. The Aggies were penalized seven times, the Hurricanes 10 times for a whopping 115 yards.
The biggest stat of them all: MIAMI RETURNED A KICKOFF FOR A TOUCHDOWN. The Hurricanes lost the Josh Gattis honorary time of possession battle 32-27.
Where do you even begin? Coach Dawson has brought Tyler Van Dyke back from the quarterback junkyard and turned him into a hot rod again. 21-of-30 passing for 12.5 yards per pass attempt. Five touchdowns with zero interceptions or lost fumbles.
The offensive line had some ups and downs, they protected masterfully at times, and were called for holds on others. Holding happens. Van Dyke was sacked twice, and the team only rushed for 3.2 yards per carry, but it was a good enough performance for almost 50 points on the A&M defense.
Jacolby George caught three touchdowns, Xavier Retrepo was Mr. Dependable after an early drop- averaging 21 yards per catch, and five different players had a catch of 20 yards or more. Henry Parrish Jr. was the ‘workhorse’ on five yards per carry.
Above- It’s like Restrepo needs to get drilled one good time to come alive. After being yoked on the kick return, he has an ugly drop early. Then he comes alive and flashes his skills on the ABC 3:30 game. His move off the line, his route running, the IQ to work outside.
Above- Dawson has completely changed Miami’s fortunes inside the red zone, and more so +10 and in. Piling up TAMU for bully ball and running a play-action slide to Colbie Young, great play creation, call, and execution.
Above- Again, the end zone view always shows the most detail. The OODA Loop is broken by the play-fake and no one responds in time for the Aggies.
Above- Nothing special here schematically, it’s just refreshing to see Miami doing what they should be able to- run, catch, throw bombs. Gino Torretta to Lamar Thomas, Steve Walsh to Michael Irvin, Ken Dorsey to Andre Johnson, et al.
Above- 1- you throw screens to your most physical dudes. Wes Welker was a case in point of a stocky tough guy who made a living on screens at Texas Tech and with New England. Steve Smith at Carolina is another example.
2- The QB’s ability to change arm angle is key. Van Dyke drops down like he’s throwing over to the short stop to turn two on a double play. I always wanted infielders as QB’s. Outfielders take too long to wind up.
Above- Van Dyke looks leaner and quicker than in ‘22. It’s helping his ability to both scramble and boot out. It’ll also help him get around his hips on throws like this. Great job getting open, and a beautiful strike on the run.
This was such a big time win for the 'Canes that it's getting TWO "play of the games." The orbit motion swing screen was a thing of beauty inside the +5. A&M is in man, the CB over runs to the motion and gets picked up by the OL blocking downfield (legal - it's thrown behind LOS) pic.twitter.com/TzyuLO0HdM— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) September 10, 2023
Above- One of the two plays of the game for Miami. Shannon Dawson dials up some beauties inside the +10.
Above- Return orbit motion with a swing screen to the return motion guy. Putting an OL out on the cornerback that ran with the motion while playing man. That’s the good stuff there.
The Miami defense gave Weigman his first two interceptions of his career, and annihilated Amari Daniels while forcing him to fumble the ball. Weigman threw two TD’s, but averaged only 6.3 yards per attempt. TAMU’s offense rushed for only 3.3 yards per carry but with two scores of their own.
Evan Stewart finished with 11 catches fo 142 yards but failed to score and dropped a huge pass that would’ve kept a drive alive. The ‘Canes didn’t sack Weigman but pressure rattled him and the defense came away with five TFL’s and two PBU’s.
Above- Off the blocked punt, Texas A&M had a short field to work. Weigman pulls on the obvious squeeze from the stand up guy at the LOS and no one is there to replace the EMOL. He takes a hit 2-yards deep but clearly already a TD. Someone has to be the replacer there and A&M was smart to have a bubble from the slot there to drag the force player.
Above- Now the EMOL stays square to play both the RB and the QB. It’s a give read and the LB, Wesley Bissainthe, blows it up for a huge TFL. That TFL pushes the Aggies to kick a FG and go up 10 instead of potentially 14.
Above- The reason motion works so well in the RPO era is that everyone is rotating safeties down into the box to be in the window of a glance or pop pass, and to help agains the run. Motion forces everyone to shift around and switch who rotates down. Well, no one really rotates down mixed with man coverage making the S’s cross up. Smart play call from A&M.
Above- Like everyone else, a little fun of the big win was taken away when Kam Kinchens went down. Reports seem to say that he is okay. Of course he had a beautiful interception before his injury because he’s that guy for the ‘Canes.
Above- I do really like the scheme here of this FB wheel route. The big fella doesn’t get a lot of balls thrown his way and he made linebacker Mauigoa look foolish trying to pick him up in man coverage. Guidry will have to figure out some of his man LB coverage issues against Clemson and Will Shipley and UNC and Omarion Hampton.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. KR for a touchdown, 50-yard field goal, some beautiful punts... but also a muffed punt return and a blocked punt. Great teams win in the kicking game.
Kick Return TD
You had to know that someone as obsessed as me (@IMFB_Blog) would have a kick return TD as a POTG. Miami creates the perfect seam and Restrepo and Smith split it. The PK gets worked by 7 and that's all she wrote. The momentum shifter that is the kicking game! pic.twitter.com/qY69paIMD7— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) September 10, 2023
Above- You, the loyal SOTU readership, you know I love special teams and I’ve been harping on WHERE IS OUR HUGE PLAY ON A RETURN!? Well, we got one! 98-yard momentum shifting KR for a touchdown from Brashard Smith.
Above- it wasn’t anything tricky from TAMU, they came up the middle and you have to block punt protection inside out. Miami has to clean up mistakes like muffed punt returns, blocked punts, and penalties ASAP.
Another punt return issue with fielding the kick inside of the 10 yard line. If your heels are on the 10, like they should be, you don’t drift back inside the 10.
I’ve also got an issue with the punt returner being the player in the extra jersey. Anyone else on the punt return team EXCEPT the returner can wear that jersey. Why make it any more difficult to field a punt? It’s already been an issue at Miami since KJ Osborn went to the NFL.
Even if the PR’s rep it in practice in an extra jersey, WHY?! For all of the “Mario is a genius” moments, Mario can be quite the bonehead on certain topics.
This was a game where I really hope the lightbulb has come on for the Hurricanes. There were some key injuries to Branson Deen, Kinchens, and Akheem Mesidor that hopefully can be resolved with an FCS opponent in Week Three, Temple in Week Four, and then an off week before the ACC schedule begins with Georgia Tech coming to The Rock.
TVD "last year, I think we would have quit", when faced with the early deficit (and the errors that put them behind in the game)— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) September 10, 2023
Van Dyke was spot on with his analysis, this team quits down 10-0 last year. But this is a new group with new coordinators and the sideline looks like the team has bonded through the 5-7 season and come out closer.
A lot of that rests on Dawson and Guidry teaching the players instead of just chewing them a new one. Did you see how fond the players are of Dawson, that says a lot compared to the rumor mill issues with Gattis and Kevin Smith from a year ago.
Enjoy this one and hope that Kinchens is okay and can come back and play some ball this season.