Takeaways from Miami’s win over Texas A&M

Fourth-year junior quarterback Tyler Van Dyke hands off the ball to fourth-year junior running back Henry Parrish, Jr. in the first quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The Miami Hurricanes welcomed Texas A&M as the first SEC team to Hard Rock Stadium in 10 years. The ‘Canes made a statement and defeated the Aggies, 48-33, on Saturday afternoon.

Offensive explosion

Tyler Van Dyke had a career-high five passing touchdowns in this game. The ‘Canes had four receivers go for 50 yards. Miami had a ridiculous 17.8 yards per completion, and the offense was much more explosive than it was last week. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson had designed plays to put the offense in positions to succeed. The Hurricanes were able to get an easy score in the red zone based on a creative motion play. Miami recorded 14 chunk plays, of which two went for over 50 yards.

“Never a doubt with what play call he has,” veteran wideout Xavier Restrepo said. “We trust him a lot and he trusts us a lot. When you have that bond with an OC, as players, the offense is very dangerous.”

Receivers were open, and pass-catchers were making plays. Colbie Young continued to make an impact, as he recorded six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Restrepo was able to return to form with a six-catch, 126-yard game. Restrepo was elusive, with 88 yards after the catch. Jacolby George had three touchdowns, including the dagger to put the game away. Van Dyke was feeding a plethora of receivers, and the Aggies had no answer for the dynamic Miami passing attack.

Kamren Kinchens

Junior safety Kamren Kinchens takes the field before Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.
Junior safety Kamren Kinchens takes the field before Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The stadium fell silent as a scary play occurred with junior safety Kamren Kinchens. Miami’s fearless leader had played a tremendous game up to that point. The All-American collected one of Miami’s two interceptions as well as a fumble recovery. Kinchens had an awkward collision near the end of the game that caused him to be taken out by the medical cart.

While Cristobal assured the media that Kinchens was okay, it was a scary sight for everyone watching. The coaches and the players did not seem as concerned as initially thought, so the outlook is positive regarding Kinchens moving forward.

The ‘Canes also lost Branson Deen and Ahkeem Mesidor, two of their top defensive linemen. Their status is also unknown going forward.

Mixed performance from special teams

Junior kicker Andres Borregales kicks a PAT in the second quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.
Junior kicker Andres Borregales kicks a PAT in the second quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Blocked punts, muffed punts, letting up kick returns for big chunks and confusing decisions on kick returns. It was early and often for the special team’s mistakes. The special teams play by Miami in the first half was atrocious. While everything else for the team was going as well as could be expected, the special teams were Miami’s Achilles’ heel.

Until Brashard Smith got the ball at the two-yard line.

After A&M drove down and kicked a field goal to bring it within one, Smith was able to swing the momentum right back to the ‘Canes with a house call. It was a day that would drive special teams coordinators and coaches crazy. Miami will have to address this issue moving forward.

Jacolby George time

Junior wide receiver Jacolby George celebrates his touchdown with teammates in the fourth quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.
Junior wide receiver Jacolby George celebrates his touchdown with teammates in the fourth quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

If you did not know who Jacolby George was before this game, you do now.

A true up-and-down game from George. The Florida native went from a game-wrecking leper on a muffed punt to a game-ending savior with a 64-yard touchdown scamper. The Jacolby George experience was on full display Saturday night. The junior was able to show off his incredible speed and big-play ability. The former Plantation (Fla.) High School standout was used in the red zone to make a play that was designed for him.

“The next play, move on, we still got more games to play,” George said when asked about his mistakes.

The coaches have confidence in him. Even after his muffed punt gaffe and his dropped touchdown. Van Dyke and Dawson kept calling his number. George is in a prime position to be the third receiver in a dynamic trio with Young and Restrepo. This was just the start of what should be a big season for George.

Careless errors

Junior wide receiver Jacolby George drops a pass in the endzone in the third quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.
Junior wide receiver Jacolby George drops a pass in the endzone in the third quarter of Miami’s game versus Texas A&M at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Miami’s receivers totaled four drops. The team committed 10 penalties for 115 yards, including multiple personal fouls. The Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot several times in this game. They bailed out the A&M offense and put their own offense in unfavorable situations time and time again. While the team won regardless, this will be something that needs to be cleaned up as the season progresses.

‘Canes showed heart

“We would have quit,” Tyler Van Dyke said when asked about the mentality the team last year would have had if put in a similar situation.

The ‘Canes were faced with a 14-3 deficit. Mistakes were being made, and penalty flags were flying. Last year’s Miami team would have kept their heads hung and let A&M run away with the game. Restrepo even said that Miami’s culture is “at an all-time high.”

Miami will host Bethune-Cookman on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. as it looks to move to 3-0 on the year.

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