With a big opportunity in New York, the Miami Hurricanes struck out in their bowl 31-24 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. This marks the 11th bowl game in the last 12 that the ‘Canes have lost. The second season in the Mario Cristobal era ends on an unfortunate note.
While the loss is a disappointing way to end the season, there are some positive things to take away from this game.
Jaccuri Brown showed potential.
Miami had redshirt freshman quarterback Jaccuri Brown make his first start of the season, and despite his slow start, he did all he could to try and win the game for the ‘Canes. Brown was playing his first snaps of the season in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. The Georgia native led the ‘Canes in rushing and passing, totaling 238 yards and three touchdowns.
Brown was shaky to start the game as he threw an early interception, but towards the end of the first and into the second half, Brown looked sharp and settled into a rhythm. Brown totaled two touchdowns through the air and rushed for another as the focal point for Miami’s offense. The dual-threat QB rushed 15 times and was effective scrambling on designed runs. The running ability of Brown gives the ‘Canes offense something that it lacked with Tyler Van Dyke and Emory Williams under center.
While Brown was not the most efficient passer, completing 65% of his passes, he was under duress all day long. The makeshift offensive line was poor in pass and run protection. Brown made the most of a bad situation in the pocket.
Brown flashed the skills that made him a top recruit and played well for a quarterback playing in his first snaps of the season.
Miami’s defense was severely shorthanded, and it showed.
Rutgers’ Kyle Monangai ran all over the ‘Canes defense to the tune of 163 yards and a touchdown. Monangai was the entire Rutgers offense. The junior running back carried the ball 25 times for an average of 6.3 yards per carry and a long run of 40. Quarterback Gavin Wimsatt only completed 7 of his 15 pass attempts for 84 yards. Wimsatt ran for two touchdowns, but that is about all the junior contributed to the Rutgers offense on Thursday.
Rutgers’ offense took advantage of the depleted Miami defense. Miami was missing three top-five tacklers in James Williams, Kamren Kinchens and Corey Flagg Jr.
Miami will look much different next year.
This was a bit of a sneak peek at what a team without most of its key contributors looks like. Miami was without its top running back, starting quarterback, a top interior lineman on both sides of the ball, both starting safeties and a rotational linebacker.
Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George will return to make a deadly duo for whoever is under center. But on the defensive side of the ball, Miami will look much different. Francisco Mauigoa and Rueben Bain Jr. will lead a new look ‘Canes defense that loses their leaders on the back end in Kinchens and Williams.
With a top recruiting class coming in, a lot of these prospects will get to play early. The impact of young players like Bain, Mark Fletcher Jr., and Francis Mauigoa was apparent this season.
On the back end and in the trenches, Miami will have freshman pieces to retool depleted units. Look for Zaquon Patterson, Justin Scott, and Armondo Blount to play important minutes early.
The bowl loss is disappointing, but not the end of the world for a team that has made much progress since this time last season.