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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Texas A&M Aggies 2023 edition


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Texas A&M at Miami (FL) Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


The Canes showed up and showed out in a massive 48-33 win over the Texas A&M Aggies that wasn’t as close as the scoreline would have you believe. Wow. WOW!!! We’re going to dissect all of it shortly, you can bet your bottom dollar!

Mike Schiffman pulled double duty today. Here’s his game recap:

And here are the 3 stars from the game:

And with no further ado, let’s dive into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • A win over an SEC team. This is the first time that’s happened since 2013 against Florida.
  • A win against a ranked team! That hasn’t happened since the Canes beat NC State and Pittsburgh in consecutive weeks in 2021.
  • Beating the shit out of Texas A&M. Make no mistake about it: this was a complete and thorough ass-kicking by the Canes. If not for the 2 touchdowns that were gifted to the Aggies by Miami mistakes, this is a 4+ touchdown BLOWOUT. This game was not as close as the score would have you believe. Miami whooped that ass. And it was BEAUTIFUL.
  • Miami bouncing back after going down 10-0 with a 75 yard TD drive, capped with a 2 yard pass from Tyler Van Dyke to Colbie Young, to make the score 10-7. That’s a spot where Miami has failed to fight back for many years, so the score in that pivotal time was a sight for sore eyes.
  • Tyler Van Dyke kept dealing, this time hitting redshirt freshman WR Isaiah Horton over the top for a 52 yard touchdown. BLLLLLRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
  • Tyler Van Dyke’s first half. 13/17 for 235 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. Brilliant performance by #9.
  • Tyler Van Dyke’s full game performance. 21 for 30 passing (70% completions) for 374 yards and a career-high 5 touchdowns. And it would have been 6 if not for a Jacolby George drop on a GORGEOUS post route. Still, a record setting day for the Canes’ QB.
  • Brashard Smith’s kick return. After The Aggies closed the gap to 21-20 with an early FG, the sophomore speedster took the ensuing kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown. THAT’S THE SPEED WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • And, if you don’t remember, Smith had a 40 yard KR in the opener last week, that was inches away from going the distance. So, on 2 KR’s this year, he’s averaging 69 (nice) yards per return, and has taken 50% of his returns back for touchdowns. Pretty decent, if you ask me.
  • Jaden Davis with a HUGE HIT on 3rd and 1, forcing a fumble by Miami-native and Texas A&M RB Amari Daniels, recovered by Kam Kinchens. That play ended the 3rd quarter and a pretty nice Aggies drive. Massive play.
  • Tyler Van Dyke to Jacolby George for 64 yards and the kill shot on the Aggies. This was TVD’s 5th, and final, TD of the day, and George’s 3rd.
  • S Kamren Kinchens. The All-American continued to play that way. 7 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery. He’s the heart and soul of this Miami program and it’s evident in his words and his performance.
  • S James Williams. A team-high 9 tackles and a PBU. As someone in the press box near me said “ James is back to being JAMES.” And trust me, that’s a good thing for the Canes.
  • CB Jaden Davis. 8 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 QB Hurry, 1 forced fumble, and 1 PBU. The Oklahoma-transfer was everywhere, and looked to solidify one of the starting CB spots for the duration of the year, sans injury.
  • LBs Corey Flagg Jr and Francisco Mauigoa both had 6 tackles.
  • CB Te’Cory Couch had a late interception on the Aggies’ final offensive snap.
  • WR Xavier Restrepo. 6 catches for a career-high 126 yards on the day. That’ll work!
  • WR Isaiah Horton with the above-embedded 52 yards TD catch, his only one of the day.
  • K Andres Borregales. Made FGs from 34 and 50 yards, and was great on kickoffs.
  • 4-4 red zone scoring (3 TD’s, 1 FG).
  • 374 yards passing
  • 8.4 yards per play
  • 17.8 yards per completion
  • 3-1 turnover ratio (really 3-2 if you count the muffed punt, which doesn’t technically count as a turnover)
  • Allowed 3.3. yards per rush to aTm
  • 13 (!!!!!!) chunk plays — 9 passes (15+), 4 runs (10+).
  • Of those 13 chunk/explosive plays, there were passes for 32, 48, 52, and 64. HELLO OFFENSIVE EXPLOSIVENESS!!!!!!!! WE’VE MISSED YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The advanced stats breakdown is a doozy. What an incredible performance by the Canes.

The Bad

  • The game was delayed by lightning, then had to move to secondary ESPN channels because the noon ABC game — Notre Dame at NC State — was delayed almost 2 hours by lightning. Which led to people watching polo for the first time ever waiting on the Canes game to start.
  • K Borregales missed a 54 yard FG. His career long is 55, and he has the leg to hit from longer.
  • Only 77 yards rushing.
  • Only 3.2 yards per carry.
  • Only 3/9 on 3rd downs. I know this was overcome, but this conversion percentage needs to improve, and soon.
  • 17 first downs. This is a double edged sword since we had so many plays the ended up going the distance as TDs. Still, I’d like to see more.
  • 82 to 54 offensive plays disparity in Texas A&M’s favor.
  • 0 sacks
  • 2 sacks allowed
  • Only 5 TFLs
  • Allowed 8/18 3rd down conversions
  • Allowed 2/3 4th down conversions
  • Allowed 10.8 yards per completion (but this was boosted by a LOT of garbage time yardage)
  • Allowed 7 red zone trips for aTm
  • Allowed 6/7 scoring in the red zone for aTm

The Ugly

  • Xavier Restrepo as kick returner. He has menial speed and no wiggle. And his 9 yard return to open the game put Miami behind the proverbial 8 ball, and well.....
  • Miami didn’t block the first punt correctly, and it was tipped, which ended up giving Texas A&M a 15 yard short field for their first offensive possession.
  • DB Te’Cory Couch whiffed REAL BAD on a tackle on the first offensive snap for the Aggies. He’s quickly playing his way into the doghouse.
  • Several horrible fucking calls by the refs in the first quarter. Not the least of which was a phantom “unnecessary roughness” on James Williams which negated a stop by Miami’s defense (and a 15 yard facemask by aTm on that same play, to boot), and gave the Aggies the chance to convert the 3rd down and keep the drive going with a replayed 3rd down.
  • I really try not to be the “the ref cheated us” guy, but holy FUCK, man. Some of these calls in the first quarter were laughable at best, and fireable (for the refs) at worst. An absolute fucking joke.
  • Jacolby George muffed a punt at the 9 yardline, giving Texas A&M yet another short field to traverse for a touchdown. I never want to see him on PR ever again. He could be at The U until 3024, and I STILL don’t want to see him on PR.
  • Texas A&M’s first two touchdown drives covered 24 yards. COMBINED. The Hurricanes are not good enough to overcome such gifts to the opponent, much less opponents of this talent level and caliber.
  • Just backing this up, spotting Texas A&M two touchdowns. The Aggies aren’t that good, and without these gifts, would have scored in the low-teens today.
  • DE Akheem Mesidor and DT Branson Deen were both ruled out at halftime with “lower extremity injuries”, per the ABC broadcast. You never want to see injuries, but you doubly don’t want half your starting Defensive Line to be out, either.
  • RB Mark Fletcher Jr. was also ruled out at halftime (but for an upper extremity injury). Brutal.
  • 10 penalties for 115 yards. Atrocious, even without the bullshit (phantom) penalties the refs made up. This isn’t good enough. Can’t keep playing with that lack of discipline (refs be damned) and expect to win.
  • 13 players on defense is always bad. But 13 players on defense after an opponent timeout? BRUTAL.
  • Jacolby George dropped a wide open touchdown that would have put Miami up 35-20 after a Kam Kinchens interception midway thru the 3rd quarter. Miami was able to tack on a FG on the drive, but drops like that can lose you games.
  • One of the MANY missed calls by the SEC officiating crew. This one cost Miami a touchdown defensively.
  • Late in the 4th quarter, star safety Kam Kinchens made a tackle, then stayed down. He was attended to by medical professional for several minutes, before being stretchered off the field. Both teams assembled to show their support. A sobering moment in the midst of a big Canes win.
  • After the game, Miami Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal said that early reports are good about Kam Kinchens.

Team Grades

Offense: A

A career-high in TD passes by Tyler Van Dyke. A game that ended with Miami on a 41-16 run after being down 17-7. Career days for Jacolby George and Xavier Restrepo. And, innovation, production, and explosion by the Canes’ offense. The thing keeping this from A+(or better) status were the struggles running the ball. But this was one of the best offensive games we’ve seen from the Canes in recent memory and it should be remembered as such. GREAT game.

Defense: A

Look, Texas A&M’s first 2 touchdown drives covered a TOTAL of 24 yards. That’s tough for anyone to stop. But past that, Miami whooped that ass. Evan Stewart was held in check until garbage time. The Aggies couldn’t run the ball. Connor Weigman threw the first 2 interceptions of his collegiate career. And the defense got 3 turnovers. It wasn’t perfect, especially with the penalties, but it was a great game in a huge spot. Bravo.

Special Teams: B-/C+

Demerits for the first KR, which went 9 yards, and the first PR, which was fumbled and gave aTm a VERY SHORT field to traverse. Another demerit for a missed FG, even if it was from 54 yards. And a demerit for a tipped/blocked punt.

But positives for kick coverage. And punt coverage. And a BIGGGG positive for the 98 yards KR-TD. So, it was a mixed bag on special teams today, but overall, passable......barely.

Coaching: A

This is what I’m talking about. This is why Miami bought Mario Cristobal out of his contract at Oregon. This is why we’re paying Cristobal $8M (or more) a year, and increased the assistant coach compensation pool. OC Shannon Dawson and DC Lance Guidry did their dollar, and had every answer to the questions asked by their counterparts for Texas A&M. The players were prepared, and they performed like it. The vibes were high. Everybody was engaged all game long.

Honestly, this was a complete PROGRAM win. In all phases, in all job titles, at all levels, everyone delivered. And, even with the absences of the physical run game of his desires, this looked the way Mario Cristobal had to have dreamed things would look here at Miami.

I was loud with my criticism last year, so let me be loud with my (well-earned) praise this year. A complete showing by the coaching staff, even with some errors and missteps. But yanno, you can get some questions wrong on a test and still get an “A”. And for me, that’s what happened with the coaching job today. Not perfect, but exemplary nonetheless. Well done.

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

Hop in the comments and TALK ABOUT IT!!!!

On to Bethune-Cookman this THURSDAY night.

Go Canes