On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Miami Hurricanes (2-2) will start Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play against North Carolina (4-1, 1-0 ACC). Although Miami’s season is in its early stages, the team has had a season’s worth of turmoil over the past couple of weeks.
“Poor job by me, poor job by our organization,” Miami head coach Mario Cristobal said after losing to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) on Sept. 24.
After the loss to the Blue Raiders, Miami had a week off to diagnose the issues and will now attempt to fix them this weekend.
Amongst the biggest questions for the ‘Canes heading into conference play: the status of the quarterback position. Cristobal confirmed to the media on Monday that Tyler Van Dyke would remain the starter for UM in Week 6.
Van Dyke, a redshirt sophomore, has had a rough 2022 campaign thus far. The quarterback has only thrown for four touchdowns while throwing three interceptions, two of which came against the Blue Raiders. Accuracy has been a concern, as well, as Van Dyke is completing under 60% of his throws.
“It was a rough day for me and the offense, you just got to move on from it,” Van Dyke said about the MTSU defeat.
Despite his woes, Van Dyke still has the support of his head coach.
“We’ve got to do a really good job of cleaning things up for him,” Cristobal said. “We’ve got to make it as clean and as clear for him to operate at a high level, especially when you’re in a new system.”
Despite a strong rushing attack in their first three games, the Hurricanes faltered against MTSU for a season-low 1.58 yards per carry and allowed a season-high 45 points on defense.
A quick turnaround will certainly be necessary as UM faces off against one of the nation’s most elite offenses, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Drake Maye.
Maye has a touchdown to interception ratio of 19:1 and his completion percentage of 69.7% is third in the ACC.
“He’s like the Buffalo Bills guy [Josh Allen]. He’s a willing runner and very capable runner. He throws the ball very accurately,” Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said of Maye.
Maye has helped his team lead the ACC in scoring. The Tar Heels have scored 45.4 points per game through five matches.
“They’ve got very talented receivers, they get the ball out of the hand quick,” Steele said.
If trends continue, UNC’s passing attack may be in for a big day against Miami, as the Hurricanes have already burned opponents for an ACC-best 319.6 yards per game through the air. The ‘Canes allowed 408 passing yards against MTSU.
Miami will have a good chance to move the ball against the Tar Heels. North Carolina has allowed opponents to score 33.6 points per game.
As it relates to the historical matchup of the Tar Heels and Hurricanes, recent years have not been kind to Miami. North Carolina has won the past three matchups and last won at Hard Rock Stadium in 2020 with a 62-26 victory.
“We know we have to get better; we’ve done a really good job attacking practices this past week and feel like we have made improvement,” Cristobal said. “Now we’ve got to show that improvement and show resiliency.”
Saturday’s kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium.