The Miami Hurricanes opened the 2023 season in the fashion you’d have expected from a big money hire in Mario Cristobal. The ‘Canes went up 10-0 in a hurry and smothered the Miami Ohio RedHawks 38-3 in Week One.
Our Canyonero keys to victory from the game preview were to limit the explosive plays from M-OH, protect Tyler Van Dyke, and come out looking prepared.
1- The RedHawks only had a handful of explosive plays all night. A pair or runs and a reception or two. That was about it. Clearly they didn’t put one in the end zone and the typical kick or punt return for a big play vs. the ‘Canes didn’t happen.
2- Van Dyke was protected masterfully all night. The offense surrendered one sack and no other pressures on the QB.
3- The team looked night and day prepared for Week One versus 2022. The attention to detail from the offensive and defensive coordinators was clear. While last year’s staff was built for big name attention, the current staff was built to teach. Just a few dumb penalties (false start, unsportsmanlike conduct) aside the team looked sharper than they have in years.
The Doppler section will always feature the stats that truly matter. The U held The OH to 2-of-12 on 3rd down and 0-for-3 on 4th down. The RedHawks puckered up on an early 4th and one down 10 where they punted even while at midfield. It had the feeling of a team that didn’t want to lose badly instead of one that wanted to win (this is stuff that as a retired football coach you just want to jump through the TV and yell at the guy).
The U lost the penalty game by committing eight for 60 yards compared to Miami-OH’s five for 49 yards. The ‘Canes also lost the turnover battle on Van Dyke’s lone interception.
Andres Borregales looked better than ever finishing 3-of-3 on field goals (hey the post is allowed to help!) and 3-of-3 on extra points. Punter Dylan Joyce did a fine job with 41.5 per punt and one inside the 20.
Oh yeah, and a 40-yard kick off return from Brashard Smith to start the game! It had been a long time since we had seen that type of return, too.
The Miami offense started hot, took their foot off the gas a little, then curbed stomped the RedHawks in the fourth quarter. Van Dyke and his understudy, Emory Williams, finished with a combined 9.7 yards per pass attempt.
This is the last game a player will play at 100% all season and Henry Parrish Jr. flashed a nice burst in the opener. Parrish finished with 90 yards and a score on nine carries. Rookie Mark Fletcher Jr. also scored on the ground while averaging 8.4 yards per carry.
WR Colbie Young flashed some new found speed (or are MAC teams really slow, jury is out) on a 44-yard reception for a touchdown. Vereran WR Xavier Restrepo started slow and finished warmer with 13.6 yards per catch.
Above- Young took the tunnel screen to the house to open the scoring for the ‘Canes. Matt Lee got out in space and Jalen Rivers led the way for Young. This looks like an RPO where Van Dyke saw soft coverage 2x2 and took the chance on the screen call pre-snap.
Above- For all of the positives in Shannon Dawson’s offense against M-OH, Van Dyke’s arm had a little ‘pop gun’ quality to it. His ball lacked zip and took forever to get to sideline throws compared to say the zip of Emory Williams. It was evident on the pick here that was lollipop’ed on the corner route.
Above- Parrish running wide zone and cutting back against the grain for an explosive play. Miami pulled nearly everyone on offense to get the numbers game going at the point of attack. That’s what Rivers brings at LT, Lee at center, and Francis Mauigoa at RT. You can pull those guys and get them in space on smaller LB’s while the larger guard in Anez Cooper down blocks an interior DL.
Above- Now they pull the big hoss Cooper and get him out on a smaller DB. The blocking TE in Cam McCormick did some great things as a 42-year old banker by day, blocker by night. Mark Fletcher hits an explosive TD to put the game away in the 3rd quarter.
Above- See it against from my favorite view, the end zone.
Above- An adjustment I liked from Dawson was that he was running fly sweep to the same side as the run play and it was good but not great for him. He switches and runs it away from the pull / run play and the rotation from M-OH puts them at a huge numbers disadvantage. Then Parrish breaks a guy’s ankles and it’s another TD.
Lance Guidry’s group held Brett Gabbert to only six yards per pass attempt and had him flustered all night. The Hurricanes defense finished with three sacks, six tackles for loss and four PBU’s. The ‘Canes leading tackler was transfer linebacker Francisco Mauigoa, with five stops.
The RedHawks broke a nice run or two but Miami adjusted and held the other Miami to only two yards per rush including sack totals.
Hawks WR Gage Larvadain caught eight balls for 80 yards and was contained from making the big play that cost Miami often under former DC Kevin Steele a year ago.
Above- A four-man rush getting home with a sack on 3rd and long? Say it ain’t so! Gabbert had the out to the bottom there short of the 1st but took the sack never making it there in his progression.
Above- For the most part the “finish” looked better for the ‘Canes. Defenders ran to the ball, came to balance, and tackled well. This open field screen was a smidge of the old Miami with some over running and lunge-type tackling.
Above- And when you do bring six, you clearly get home with a Wesley Bissainthe sack of Gabbert. Miami dominated third down defensively on Friday night.
Above- The safety rotates down into the run fit and it’s like he’s never seen split zone before. The HB going right and the RB going left seems to freeze him. He doesn’t pick up his run fit and it breaks one.
Above- Te’Cory Couch might benefit from a new DC just a little. He’s a guy I always had faith in and it’s good to see him making plays again.
The Hurricanes came out and handled business against a MAC opponent that is far from the same talent level. Week Two will be a different story as one former 5-7 takes on another when the Texas A&M Aggies come to Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, September 9th at 3:30 on ABC.
It was just nice to see the team that you have worshiped since the day you could cognizant of all things college football look like a Power 5 team in a Week One. It had been a while.