Takeaways from Miami’s 35-14 victory over Georgia Tech

Freshman quarterback Jacurri Brown during Miami's game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 12. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

‘Canes football fans had many questions after a horrendous 45-3 loss to Florida State on Nov. 5, but Saturday’s win against Georgia Tech gave some answers. Miami’s 35-14 victory in Atlanta was the greatest win differential it has had in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) all season, and it was not by accident. Here are takeaways from the victory.

Kamren Kinchens is historically good

Sophomore Kamren Kinchens had one of the best performances by a Hurricane safety of all time against Georgia Tech. With three interceptions, including one returned 99 yards for a touchdown, he tied the single game interception record for the program.

He’s exactly what you want on your football team,” Miami head coach Mario Cristobal said. “People forget that he’s only a sophomore – he’s only a sophomore but he does a great job. He’s an absolute stud.

Kinchens has been one of the brightest spots in the secondary all season. With six interceptions this year, he is making a case to be a member of an All-ACC team. His coverage skills were great on Saturday, as the communication between the secondary was the best it had been all season. With performances like this, Kinchens can be a defensive anchor for as long as he stays at “the U.”

Jacurri Brown is officially the new No. 2 behind Tyler Van Dyke

In his first collegiate start under center, freshman quarterback Jacurri Brown gave life to an offense that had been stagnant the last couple of weeks. Brown completed 14-of19 passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 87 yards rushing, earning 4.6 yards per carry.

It felt amazing. Everything I went through to this point was worth it,” Brown said.

Brown made history with his stellar play, becoming the first Miami quarterback to throw three touchdowns in his first career start since Gino Torretta did it in 1989.

Brown has clearly outplayed fellow Miami backup quarterback Jake Garcia this season. Garcia has completed 48 of his 82 passes with four interceptions and two touchdowns in 2022. He’s averaged almost 100 yards a game.

Brown adds a very strong running game for offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to use that the less-mobile Garcia does not provide.

Even once starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke comes back from his shoulder injury, Brown will still be used in the offense, especially in the run game. With Brown proving that his passing game can be better than Garcia’s, the team will surely list him over Garcia in the depth chart.

Jaylan Knighton is making a claim to be RB1 again

With running back Henry Parrish out, third-year sophomore Jaylan Knighton took advantage of the opportunity given. With 118 yards and a touchdown on 16 rushes, Knighton had his best rushing performance since playing Georgia Tech last season when he rushed for 162 yards on 32 attempts.

Running back Jaylan Knighton evades defenders during Miami's game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 12.
Running back Jaylan Knighton evades defenders during Miami's game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 12. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

“We forget the past, and we keep working,” Knighton said. “I just keep working. Things started rough [this season] but I stayed my course and worked day-by-day to get better.

Nicknamed “Rooster,” Knighton is a speedy and elusive runner, which separates him from the rest of Miami’s running backs. However, Knighton has struggled with ball security. He has had two fumbles in Miami’s ACC campaign, and they came in crucial moments of losses against UNC and Duke. Knighton certainly has the talent and impressed this past game. It only makes sense that he’ll garner more opportunities next time out.

Next, the Hurricanes play No. 10 Clemson, which had a convincing 31-16 win against Louisville this past Saturday. It was the Tigers’ 39th straight home victory, so Miami is looking to play spoiler on Nov. 19 at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.