Miami Hurricanes Week 9 Preview: Virginia Cavaliers

Photo by Edwin Garcia

Miami, Florida – Beware Miami Hurricanes fans for the Virginia Cavaliers might very well be another trap game in this week’s edition of the 2023 season. Back in early August, I marked this one down as a for-sure win. Now that we’re deep into the campaign anything can happen. In light of Georgia Tech and the surprise upset the Cavs pulled off on No. 10 North Carolina, UM needs to avoid playing down to their opponent. Fresh off a thrilling 28-20 victory in double overtime versus Clemson, the Canes have no business losing to UVA.

Virginia was largely predicted to be the worst team in the ACC for 2023. The Cavaliers certainly showed it by dropping their first five games of the schedule. They snapped the skid defeating William and Mary rolling into Chapel Hill as a longshot after the bye week. As the saying goes, every dog has their day. Traveling to the Hardrock UVA is once again firm underdogs with Miami favored by a comfortable 19 points. The Canes will look to build on their Tigers dub for homecoming.


Malik Washington

Listed among the highest-graded wide receivers within the Power 5 for week 8 per PFF College, Malik Washington recorded 12 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in the 31-27 win over the Tar Heels. The super senior has experienced a pretty productive year via 56 receptions for 783 yards and six TDs surpassing nearly everything he did at Northwestern. Averaging 14 yards a catch, Washington is one of those explosive playmakers UM must watch out for.

Jonas Sanker

Hopping to the defense, safety Jonas Sanker leads the team with 60 tackles, 43 of those solo. Sanker is still looking for an interception but he’s been credited with six pass breakups and even two forced fumbles alongside a fumble recovery. Against North Carolina, the junior from Charlottesville tallied seven tackles, five of them solo, sharing in a tackle for loss. Aiming to be an All-ACC safety after racking up 63 tackles as a sophomore, the former Covenant all-state quarterback zooms across the field with the explosiveness his teammates praise him for.

Perris Jones/Mike Hollins

Bouncing back to the offense, we’ll be looking at Virginia’s running game. Although Perris Jones is the leading rusher with 302 yards Mike Hollins has the most touchdowns with five. Against North Carolina Jones barely accumulated the most yards (67 on 14 carries) while Hollins generated 66 seeing the endzone thrice. For 2023, Hollins has 49 carries for 136 yards with the UNC bout representing his best game of the season. In fact, he’s the first UVA player with three rushing TDs versus an AP Top 15 opponent since Tiki Barber in 1996. Excellent company aside, these two are likely to be on Lance Guidry’s radar.


Tyler Van Dyke

After missing last week’s game Tyler Van Dyke is slated to return. Van Dyke has been dealing with an injury to his throwing hand. He’s also been dealing with a leg injury. Backup Emory Williams took the reins versus the Clemson Tigers making his first career start. TVD guided his teammate during the game helping Williams adjust. Van Dyke has 1,721 yards for 2023 including 16 touchdowns. Time to raise those numbers.

Rueben Bain Jr

Recording eight tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble Rueben Bain Jr has stepped onto the college football scene. Bain played a significant role in Miami’s victory over Dabo Swinney and the Tigers. Now that UVA is next, the freshman has another opportunity to keep on rolling against a team that shocked No. 10 North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His emergence is the latest “next man up” mentality especially when the Canes play without their usual starters. I’m looking forward to his growth.

Brashard Smith

I think Brashard Smith should get more touches…as a running back. I liked what I saw and he could’ve scored a TD if it wasn’t for that badly timed fumble. Plus I like the idea of Smith doing kick returns, nabbing receptions as a wide receiver, and chewing up (hopefully) big yardage all in the same game. He can be an additional tool for the rush and if allowed, why not? We’ll see what coach Mario Cristobal has in store this weekend.


I’m going with a win for The U. This game should not even be close. The Miami Hurricanes should take care of the Virginia Cavaliers 38-14.

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