Hurricanes await bounce-back opportunity against Virginia

Sophomore wide receiver Colbie Young and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke celebrate a touchdown during Miami's game against Duke University on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

Miami (3-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) will be traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the Virginia Cavaliers (3-4, 1-3 ACC) in its third away game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

The Hurricanes will look to bounce back after a disappointing 45-21 loss to Duke at Hard Rock Stadium last Saturday. Duke dominated Miami in the fourth quarter, outscoring the ‘Canes 21-0, capping off the game with a pick-six.

All eyes are on Miami’s defense after a rough performance last game. Its biggest task is going to be containing senior Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The signal-caller has completed 55% of his throws for 1,618 yards and six touchdowns through the Cavaliers’ first seven games.

“That guy’s pocket presence, how to dissect a defense … We got a lot of quarterbacks in his conference and he’s up there,” Cristobal said. “He is an elite quarterback.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Miami has not officially announced who will be starting under center versus the Cavaliers. Last Saturday, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.

Redshirt freshman Jake Garcia entered the contest and finished with two touchdowns, while also tossing three interceptions. The Whittier, Calif. Native took first-team reps this week in practice due to Van Dyke’s uncertain status for the game against the Cavaliers.

The offense is going to be tested as it will play against a solid Virginia defense led by senior Chico Bennett Jr. The defensive end has an ACC-leading six sacks this season and looks to feast on an injured Miami offensive line.

“You like to say it starts and ends up front, and it does for them. But they have tremendous experience on the backend as well,” Cristobal said. “Particularly last game, the amount of pressure they put on the quarterback. The amount of pressure they put up front and the way they disrupted the line of scrimmage in the run game. They shut down their opponent, completely.”

Miami’s turned to younger players for an offensive spark the last few weeks while wide receiver Xavier Restrepo, running back Donald Chaney Jr. and others have battled injuries. Transfer wideout Colbie Young is an example of a player who has shined when given the extra opportunity.

“There’s a lot of chemistry that still can be built,” Young said. “We’re going to still keep trying to build and build this program back to where it was.”

Saturday will be a crucial game for Cristobal and the Hurricanes, as they hope to find their stride against the Cavaliers, who coming off a 16-9 win over Georgia Tech.