Hurricanes aim to keep momentum in ACC debut against Georgia Tech

To open the game against Bethune-Cookman, fourth-year junior Tyler Van Dyke rushes for 10 yards to make his second career touchdown during the ‘Canes 48-7 win on Sept. 14 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Charisma Jones

An undefeated start for Miami football has propelled them to No. 17 in the latest AP Poll Top 25 rankings, and its showing no signs of slowing down.

This week, the squad prepares for its Saturday matchup against Georgia Tech.

The ‘Canes are rested and appearing off a bye week with their latest victory coming in a 41-7 rout of Temple on Sept. 23. That was the last of UM’s non-conference slate. Miami now kicks off their ACC tour, starting with the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-1 ACC) comes off defeat after being upset 38-27 at the hands of Bowling Green. This game, in particular, showcased the Yellow Jackets’ defensive struggles, most notably in stopping the run and allowing third-down conversions. These are two facets the ‘Canes (4-0) can exploit.

Miami ranks No. 11 in the country in rushing yards per game, averaging 222.5 per contest. Additionally, UM ranks No. 3 nationwide in yards per carry, with 6.45.

Consider this a nod to newly hired offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who has shown the versatility of his scheme. Since coming in with the reputation of utilizing an air-raid style of offense, Dawson has proven his attack is effective on multiple fronts.

A key storyline circulating this week’s duel is the return of ‘Canes All-American safety Kamren Kinchens. The junior was held out of Miami’s previous two games after being carted off against Texas A&M.

This isn’t just another game versus Georgia Tech for Kinchens, it’s an early anniversary.

Last year versus Tech, the defensive back achieved what is arguably the pinnacle of his career as a ‘Cane. He recorded a career-high three interceptions that helped lead UM to a 35-14 win.

When asked about Kinchen’s return, Cristobal spoke highly of the junior defender.

“He’s a game changer in a lot of different ways,” Cristobal said to reporters. “Not only as a football player, as a teammate.”

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will also get his first look at Georgia Tech since 2021. Due to a lingering right shoulder injury, the fourth-year junior missed last year’s match versus the Yellow Jackets.

Van Dyke has been outstanding through four games. Pro Football Focus’ metrics have him as the second highest-graded quarterback this season with a grade of 93.3. Most recently, the fourth-year ‘Cane threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns against Temple.

“He has all the confidence in the world right now, especially in the offensive coordinator and everyone around him,” wide receiver Xavier Restrepo said.

With the team ready to play, the final preparation comes from the wardrobe as UM plans to debut its sleek ‘Miami Nights’ uniforms.

“I’d have been mad if we wore them before I came back,” Kinchens said.

Saturday’s kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium is at 8 p.m.