Hurricanes have chance to return to winning ways against Clemson

Miami players run out onto the field at the start of their game against Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 7, 2023.

The Miami Hurricanes face off against the Clemson Tigers this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium.

Despite an undefeated start to the season, the ‘Canes are struggling in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play. Miami took a tough loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 23-20, after a fumble allowed the Yellow Jackets to score a touchdown in the last few seconds of the fourth quarter.

The Hurricanes are now unranked after a 41-31 loss against the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels. Head coach Mario Cristobal said the team put up a good effort in the beginning of the game but that it did not carry over into the second half.

“[UNC] came out in the second half, took the momentum with the big play and the touchdown and then we had successive series where we turned the ball over — then find ourselves at the end just trying to catch up with time running pretty quickly,” Cristobal said to reporters.

This week, the ‘Canes (4-2, 0-2 ACC) have the opportunity to regain their momentum in their matchup against the Tigers (4-2, 2-2 ACC).

Miami quarterback junior Tyler Van Dyke has the third-highest amount of passing yards in the ACC so far this season, and the ‘Canes have a strong set of receivers and running backs. Junior wide receiver Xavier Restrepo has four touchdowns this season and 574 yards, and junior running back Henry Parrish Jr. also has four touchdowns and 452 rushing yards.

Although the ‘Canes offense is strong, the Tigers’ defense is powerful, having allowed the least number of yards in the ACC. Junior linebacker Barrett Carter leads the team with 21 solo tackles, and freshman defensive end T.J. Parker has had four sacks this season for a total loss of 27 yards.

The ‘Canes have been strong on the defensive side of the ball as well, which will be a test for young Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik and the Tigers’ offense. Miami senior cornerback Te’Cory Couch leads the ACC with three interceptions. Last week against UNC, the Hurricanes’ defense had a season-high of five sacks, and in the first five games of the season, Miami allowed less than 100 rushing yards per game.

Last season, Clemson beat Miami 40-10 and went on later that season to play in the 2022 Capital One Orange Bowl against the Tennessee Volunteers, where the Tigers lost 31-14.

As the Hurricanes look to revert to how they started this season, a win this week is crucial to improving their unfavorable 0-2 start in ACC matchups. Cristobal says that this week, they need to pay attention to detail to avoid similar mistakes that could serve them a third loss in a row.

“The stuff that needs to be cleaned up can be cleaned up so we can be a good football team, as good as we can be,” Cristobal said.

The ‘Canes have what they need to win against Clemson on both sides of the ball, and a win this week will be pivotal in the team’s ACC performance.