Takeaways from Miami’s dominant win over Bethune-Cookman

Junior wide receiver Jacolby George runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of Miami's game against Bethune-Cookman at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 14, 2023. Photo credit: Alexandra Fisher

Coming off a massive victory over a ranked opponent in Texas A&M, the Miami Hurricanes looked to finish off their early season home-stand with a 3-0 record. On Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium, they delivered as the ‘Canes blew out the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 48-7.

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke efficiently threw the ball, and Miami’s running backs gained 240 yards on the ground to lead the 22nd-ranked Hurricanes to an undefeated start to the 2023 season. Here are some takeaways from Thursday’s win.

Donald Chaney Jr. will be another weapon for the offense.

After playing sparingly in 2021 and 2022 due to lower body injuries, sophomore running back Donald Chaney Jr. has played in all three games for the Hurricanes so far this year. While he only had a combined 11 carries in the first two games, he looked explosive on Thursday, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown on only seven attempts. This included a drive in the second quarter where almost the entire offense ran through Chaney, resulting in a three-yard touchdown run for him.

“I feel good,” Chaney said after the game. “It just felt good to get out there and do what I do best.”

Chaney adds quickness and physicality to Miami’s already well-rounded running backs room. If he stays healthy and continues to run like he did against Bethune-Cookman, the Hurricane’s offense, which has looked stellar through the first three games, will become even deadlier.

The offensive line will be a game-changer.

Last year, Miami struggled on the offensive line, and it showed. The running game was below average, and Van Dyke and the other quarterbacks were under pressure often.

Head coach Mario Cristobal revamped the offensive line this season with four new starters, headlined by freshman Francis Mauigoa. So far, this group has not disappointed, as it has been elite at opening up space for the running backs and giving Van Dyke time in the pocket.

Miami’s 240 rushing yards and five-rushing-touchdown performance on Thursday can be highly attributed to how well the offensive line performed. Van Dyke was also extremely efficient, completing 19 of his 23 passes, and it often felt like he had all day to throw.

The offensive line improvement for the ‘Canes this season has been and looks like it will continue to be a primary reason for their offensive success.

Miami pressured at a high rate

The Hurricanes compiled four sacks and ten tackles for loss against Bethune-Cookman and were constantly getting pressure on its quarterbacks all night. It allowed the Wildcats to pass for only 132 yards and rush for 33 yards on 30 attempts.

One of those sacks came from freshman defensive lineman Reuben Bain Jr., who made his first start for the Hurricanes.

“It felt really good,” Bain said. “I’m still in shock, but I’m just ready for the next one.”

The pressure shows that the defensive line performed spectacularly in Miami’s win. It limited all facets of Bethune-Cookman’s offense and ensured their quarterbacks were constantly under pressure and uncomfortable in the pocket.

Getting pressure and getting into the backfield will always be critical in winning games. As long as the ‘Canes front seven continues this level of success, Miami can limit any offense they play the rest of the season.

The Hurricanes fly up to Philadelphia for their next game, where they’ll face Temple on Saturday. Kickoff will take place at 3:30 p.m.