Miami, Florida – As expected the Miami Hurricanes crushed the Duke Blue Devils 47-10 on the road in Durham to wrap up the 2021 regular season. Duke led early 10-3 but it became their highwater mark as UM proceeded to score 44 unanswered points. Tyler Van Dyke had another great game tossing 381 yards in the air scoring three touchdowns. Miami generated 530 total yards of offense on a big day from both Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo. Harley is now the all-time receptions leader (182) for the program. That’s not all, he accomplished the single-game school record with 13 receptions finishing with 96 yards. The five-year senior wasn’t the only one breaking records.

Rambo set the single-season school record for receptions with an incredible 79 catches in 2021. The Oklahoma transfer also achieved the single-season school record for receiving yards completing the regular season with 1,172 yards. Leonard Hankerson was the previous record-holder making 72 catches back in 2010. Rambo ended the afternoon with eight catches for 101 yards and two scores.

Duke was held to 219 total yards with just 62 on the ground. Outside of the kick-return TD in the first quarter, the Blue Devils did little else offensively. The defense did its job for once recording three sacks and an interception by Marcus Clarke. Andres Borregales, meanwhile, was a perfect 4-for-4 in field goals and point-after attempts. With the dominant win, Miami finishes the season 7-5 ( 5-3, ACC).

Reflection

This was certainly a season of ups and downs. Injuries, inconsistent play, and a three-game winning streak that briefly restored the hope of capturing the coastal division. All in the backdrop of whether there were changes on the horizon when the team became 2-4. In it, we saw great performances by several players and the emergence of Van Dyke becoming UM’s starting quarterback. Once again the transfer portal showed its importance to a team’s success during the season.

I predicted the Hurricanes losing four games this year and while they did worse than expected there’s plenty to be hopeful for. The worst loss was hands down the one against ACC rival FSU essentially snapping our three-game winning streak ending all hope in winning the coastal. The upset win against no. 17 Pittsburgh was the most satisfying especially with that interception by James Williams. So now we’ve come to the elephant in the room.

Coach Manny Diaz wasn’t a good fit at Coral Gables. We needed someone with experience in the position. Don’t get me wrong, Diaz was great at recruiting but development was a whole other matter. And don’t get me started on the defense that hasn’t been GOOD since 2017. When it comes to big wins they are few and far in-between (if any can be named) and the losses? Well, those are incredibly easy to list. Florida State is the latest in a string of stinging defeats during his tenure. In sum, Manny Diaz is out. So who’s next?

Future coach

Well, firstly we need to see who the next Athletic Director will be. For the head coaching job, I am leaning toward Mario Cristobal. I remember when attending the Virginia Tech game folks were asking me if I still wanted Cristobal after the Oregon Ducks lost 38-7 to Utah. Heck yeah, I do. In fact, they needed to lose. If the Ducks stayed on track for the CFP the chances of the UM alum coming to South Florida would’ve been unlikely. Remember, he’s got it good in Oregon and the PAC-12 right now. However, coaching here is his dream job.

Cristobal has done a lot for the Ducks. This year alone is pretty impressive. They won their division, winning 10 games, and beat Ohio State on the road. They were pre-season favorites but this was pulled off by a team that suffered lots of injuries. Since becoming the head coach at Oregon in 2018 he’s won two PAC-12 Championships with the accolade of AP PAC-12 Coach of the Year in 2019. He can recruit and has the experience to run things in Miami.

So what happens if we don’t get him? Well, there’s always Lane Kiffin, that’s a very interesting pairing. However, my hope is the program puts in serious effort in making Mario Cristobal their man.

Photo | Kathy Hitchcock

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Gabriel Garcia
Just an avid sports fan who happens to have a love-hate (mostly love) relationship with his local teams be it collegiate or professional and also happens to be a news junkie. Mix in outstanding optimism with cold realism and you've got yourself a balanced cocktail perfect for champions.

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