Miami Hurricanes fall as Van Dyke throws for nearly 500 yards

Miami Hurricanes Van Dyke

Photo by Edwin Garcia

Miami, Florida – The Miami Hurricanes came up short 27-24 despite Tyler Van Dyke’s best game of the season to begin ACC play. Completing 42 of 57 passes, Miami’s starting QB generated 496 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. The running game saw little action producing only 42 yards largely due to the Canes falling behind early. Will Mallory led the receiving corps with eight receptions on 10 targets recording 115 yards. Frank Ladson Jr. was also involved in catching eight passes for 59 yards.

The defense struggled against North Carolina signal-caller Drake Maye. UNC scored a touchdown in three of its first four possessions. Maye scored twice as part of a 309-yard effort with a pair of interceptions. In the second half, the Canes D put up strong resistance, however, the offense was unable to capitalize. A costly fumble by Jaylan Knighton and a penalty on an onside kick sealed the Hurricanes’ fate. The disappointing home loss extended their losing streak to three. At least the Miami Hurricanes saw a better Van Dyke Saturday.

Contest of consequence

The Tar Heels flexed their offensive capabilities from the get-go in this high-stakes battle. On third and three, Maye found J.J. Jones for the explosive 74-yard touchdown. Jones turned on the afterburners easily winning the race to the endzone on a drive that started on their own five-yard line.

Miami tried to respond by marching up the field culminating in Andre Borregales missing the 53-yard field goal going wide left.

On the next drive, Maye showed off his legs rushing for 33-yards to the Miami 13 on fourth and one. North Carolina readied quickly to make it 14-0, however, UNC was stopped at the 8-yard line. The defense came up big denying Josh Downs two catches for the turnover. UNC was two-for-three on fourth-down conversions.

The Hurricanes had their own scoring opportunity. On fourth and one Van Dyke was immediately rushed forcing him to sling the ball to Mallory resulting in a harmless incomplete pass.

After goal-line failures by both teams, the Tar Heels scored again via a two-yard rushing TD courtesy of freshman runningback Omarion Hampton. Van Dyke got his team on the board hitting Key’Shawn Smith for the 20-yard strike weaving past the defender making it 14-7.

North Carolina did not fear Miami’s defense. On 4th and 9 on the Canes’ 37 the Tar Heels went for it again succeeding with a 22-yard throw to Downs. Maye found his teammate once more for the 15-yard reception turning it into a two-possession game. The U kept up after Van Dyke scrambled to keep his own play alive, finding Henry Parrish Jr. for the 7-yard TD with 28 seconds to go in the first half. The Miami Hurricanes really needed this one from Van Dyke.

A mixed bag

Toward the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, the defense began to stiffen intercepting the opposing quarterback twice. The first was just before halftime thanks to Keontra Smith. That play set up a 38-yard field goal from Borregales. The second was right after coming out of the locker room credited to a waiting Kamren Kinchens. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they were unable to convert. Van Dyke was sacked on fourth and three at the Tar Heel 49 for the turnover on downs.

Despite holding North Carolina to a pair of field goals, the Hurricanes were unable to score until very late in the game. Knighton’s fumble early in the fourth quarter would come back to bite UM. Colbie Young caught his first TD of the season with 2:20 remaining. The onside kick looked like a success but Al Blades Jr. was penalized for an illegal touch of the kick. Blades dove to keep the ball inbound, however, he stepped out of bounds and was prohibited from touching it. UM had one last shot when the Tar Heels punted it away with 1:14 left but the Miami Hurricanes did not find magic with Van Dyke who was picked off with eight seconds to go.

“Stats are for losers”

Stat wise the team led in Total Yards (537-470), Passing Yards (496-309) First Downs (29-21), sacks on defense (5-2), and even tackles for loss (9-5). All while committing fewer penalties (three for 28 yards). In spite of these areas, they were lacking in others such as third and fourth down conversions. As one of my colleagues put it “stats are for losers.”  He’s right to a degree. The only stat that matters at the end of the day is the score itself. This is the first time the Tar Heels score less than 30 points.

They were so close! Van Dyke certainly had a better game keeping the Hurricanes competitive. With 8:24 remaining in the first quarter, TVD tossed a bit of a tough throw to Mallory. He came up with it for the 11-yard first down. Those are the kinds of plays I wish I saw more frequently. And that fumble by Rooster really put a dagger in the team’s hopes despite additional opportunities. There was a dropped pass earlier in the first half at the Tar Heel 30 that he also should have made. North Carolina made sure to keep up the pressure effectively neutralizing the run game although Parrish found ways to be involved. The tactic worked removing one of their key weaknesses against the rush.

The D had its moments of failing to contain big plays. Conversely, I was happy about how Te’Cory Couch executed on Downs’ route breaking up the play in an example of great coverage. The second half saw a role reversal. North Carolina was held to six points but the offense failed to score until very late. Despite arguably Van Dyke’s best game of the season, at 2-3, the hype in 2022 is effectively over.

Photo | Edwin Garcia

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