Mark Fletcher, Andy Borregales lift Cardiac Canes over UVA in OT

Mark Fletcher Andy Borregales

Photo by Miami Hurricanes


Miami, Florida – Thanks to Mark Fletcher, Jr and Andy Borregales, the Miami Hurricanes won in overtime for the second weekend in a row beating Virginia 29-26. On first and 10 at the Virginia 11, Fletcher rushed right to the outside, stayed on his feet, and tight-roped his way to the endzone for the game-winning touchdown. In his first game back from injury Fletcher really made the most of it. The overtime magic wouldn’t be possible without Borregales. UM’s sure-footed kicker nailed all three of his field goals, each over 45 yards including a 50-yarder, keeping Miami alive throughout the day.

Overcoming a very slow start, the Cardiac Canes rallied in the second half after being down 10-3 briefly taking the lead before engaging in a seesaw battle that culminated in UM choosing to finish off the Hoos in OT. On their first possession of the second half, Ajay Allen found an open lane and proceeded to vault over a defender en route to a 26-yard score. The defense continued its true grit making several big stops including their crowning achievement in the ensuing drive via a pick-six by Kamren Kinchens at the UVA 29 gifting the lead.

Virginia responded with a long march resulting in a 23-yard field goal. Late in the third quarter, the Cavs pounced on a mistake by Tyler Van Dyke as Kam Robinson picked off a throw intended for Brashard Smith. UVA converted with a 10-yard rushing TD from Mike Hollins. The two sides traded field goals in the fourth prior to Borregales hitting the 48-yarder to tie it at 23. UM once more kneeled it with 24 seconds (and three timeouts) remaining in regulation. Same as with Clemson, the Hurricanes’ defense bends but doesn’t break forcing a 35-yard field goal setting the stage for Fletcher. At 6-2 (2-2, ACC) Miami travels to NC State for week 10.

Takeaways

Questions at QB

Will the real Van Dyke please stand up? Miami’s quarterback finished the day completing 20 of 30 passes for 163 yards and two interceptions. This was easily his worst performance in 2023 and arguably the worst of his college career. The Middle Tennessee game comes close. Granted the offense as a whole stunk the first two quarters. By halftime, the Hurricanes were held to 99 total yards, 55 of those in the air. Regardless, the fans are really starting to wonder what should be done going forward. TVD threw a very bad pick halfway through the first quarter trying to go deep from the UVA 36. Intended for Xavier Restrepo, Van Dyke underthrew it in a perfect example of excellent play calling but terrible execution.

Furthermore, late in the third Van Dyke made the other costly mistake. Prior to the play, however, he nearly gave it away when he was targeting Restrepo throwing over his head in double coverage. This wouldn’t be the last time either. With over 11 minutes left in regulation, Van Dyke actually showed glimmers of his old self. Passing it up the middle he hit Colbie Young for 19 yards. Then TVD totally reversed course almost slinging a third INT when he went deep again. Luckily, Coen King couldn’t hold on to the ball. Andy bailed out the team with the game-tying 50-yard strike. I think he’s still dealing with a lingering injury. But, I also think it might be mental too.

It’s not like he’s been throwing under pressure. The O-line has done a terrific job protecting him yet these poor decisions persist. Restrepo is his safety valve and the fact that he targets him so much reveals Van Dyke is not comfortable. Whatever the issue it needs to be solved.

Heroes on defense

Similar to last week this was an additional instance of an all-round victory. The defense fought hard to keep the team competitive. Although they struggled at times to stop Tony Muskett and the run, the boys made big stops when it mattered and that’s what counts. Credited with 10 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, three QB hurries, and six sacks the Hoos had their hands full. Initially, mistakes were made. UVA struck first taking advantage of an untimely roughing the passer penalty called on Rueben Bain, Jr coupled with Malachi Fields slipping past multiple defenders for the crucial first down on third and 13. Ultimately, it led to a rushing TD by Hollins.

Francisco Mauigoa made the first of many stops. In the second quarter, Mauigoa came up with the huge tackle on third and one forcing Virginia into its first three and out.  He kept throwing his weight around knocking down Muskett on at least one occasion. Later on, Kinchens deflected a key pass that stopped a likely touchdown as the Cavs settled for three. His pick-six in the third quarter proved to be a momentum shifter. Keeping the Hoos at bay early in the fourth, Branson Deen pulled off the eight-yard sack forcing the punt. Toward the end of the game, the defense really shined.

James Williams stopped a potential first down deep in Miami territory with less than five minutes left. Williams reached Muskett before he could cross the chains forcing him out of bounds. This forced a 32-yard field goal. With 42 seconds left, The Bain Train sacked Muskett for a loss of six yards ensuring the bout went into overtime. Following the same script versus Clemson, the unit held Virginia to three points creating a near-perfect scenario for Fletcher.

Player of the game: Andy Borregales

The game ball definitely goes to Andy. Fifa’s younger brother has been money, making all five of his kicks giving crucial assistance to the Canes. A victory wouldn’t have been possible without him. He’s having a stellar season hitting 15 of 16 field goals and 29 of 30 extra point attempts. Borregales likely could’ve ensured non-OT wins these last two weeks but I won’t complain. Regardless, Miami is very fortunate to have such a reliable leg.

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