Miami displayed dominant football during their non-conference games

Junior wide receiver Colbie Young runs through Texas A&M defenders before running out of bounds during the 48-33 win. Photo credit: Charisma Jones

With four games down and four wins under their belt to start the season, the No. 17 Miami Hurricanes enter the bye week on a roll. It’s the ‘Canes’ first 4-0 start since 2017, a season in which the team started 10-0 before ultimately falling to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.

With a Saturday night matchup against Georgia Tech on the horizon, Miami will look to carry its winning ways into an eight-game stretch against ACC opponents. Before the team dives into its conference schedule, here are some reasons Miami can keep playing winning football.

Tyler Van Dyke is living up to his billing.

Following a disappointing and injury-ridden 2022 season, questions emerged about quarterback Tyler Van Dyke’s ability to helm an offense. But under new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, Van Dyke has re-emerged as one of the best signal callers in the conference.

Through four games, Van Dyke has completed nearly 75 percent of his passes for 1,042 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only one interception. His passing efficiency of 197.81 is second in the nation, behind only University of Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams.

Granted, Van Dyke has not been forced into many difficult passing situations — three of the ‘Canes’ four wins have been by 30 or more points. But the quarterback has looked significantly more comfortable in the pocket, and if he can keep his performance going, he could find his way into the Heisman discussion.

The run game goes a long way

The ‘Canes have been incredibly successful at running the ball this season, averaging 216.7 yards on the ground per game. That’s the 11th-best mark in the nation, and it’s a monumental leap from the team’s 112.5 rush yards per game mark last season.

The boom in rushing production has been led by junior Henry Parish Jr., who has averaged 7.9 yards per carry so far this season. But he isn’t alone: sophomore Donald Chaney Jr. and freshman Ajay Allen have held their own on the ground, combining for 320 yards and four touchdowns.

Conversely, Miami’s opponents have been unable to get anything on the ground all season. The defensive line has stifled the run, which was more evident than ever during the team’s road win against Temple. The Hurricanes held the Owls, whose offensive identity revolves around the run game, to 11 yards on the ground. Overall, Miami is holding opponents to 53 rushing yards per game and 2.3 yards per rush, the second and third-best marks in the country, respectively.

Mario Cristobal’s roster vision is coming to fruition

Though Mario Cristobal’s head coaching tenure with Miami started last year, this season feels like the first proper year under his roster philosophy. Since the start of last season, the team has seen sweeping changes on both sides of the ball, specifically in the trenches. All five starters on the offensive line were brought in under Cristobal’s watch, including five-star right tackle Francis Mauigoa and two former four-star prospects.

Cristobal’s ability to identify talent in the high school ranks and the transfer portal has propelled Miami to a strong start. If the ‘Canes can continue their winning ways, it should be easier for him to infuse the team with talented players.

Miami’s ACC debut against Georgia Tech will take place Saturday at Hard Rock stadium. Kick off is set for 8 p.m.