Saturday’s game against the Virginia Tech Hokies wasn’t pretty, but the Miami Hurricanes took care of business by defeating Virginia Tech 30-20.
The ‘Canes responded well to the criticism they received after back-to-back losses to Cincinnati and Florida State, and this game included several improvemens. However, looking at Miami’s history of slip-ups, fans are reminded any win is a good win in the Atlantic Coastal Conference.
What went right:
Brad Kaaya continues to perform at a high level. He completed 19 out of 30 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Most notably, there were numerous plays where he stepped up in the pocket, avoided pressure, and made a strong, accurate throw. Kaaya has been criticized for throwing off his back foot and not stepping up in the pocket on critical plays late in the game. On Saturday, he showed major signs of improvement, being a true playmaker when the team needed it most.
The future of the defense seems to be coming together. Al Quadin Muhammad, Chad Thomas, Kendrick Norton and Juwon Young all look very promising for the ‘Canes up front while Artie Burns, Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter all look very promising for the secondary.
Speaking of Artie Burns, the junior cornerback had a fantastic game. Burns had two clutch interceptions when the Hokies were lurking around the red zone while providing good coverage for the ‘Canes defense the entire game.
Rashawn Scott had a big day in the red zone for Miami’s offense, grabbing both touchdown passes at pivotal times in the game. One touchdown grab by the redshirt senior wide receiver was the last play of the half to put the ‘Canes up 20-13. The second grab sewed-up a Hurricane win making the score 30-20 with little time left in the game.
What went wrong:
Penalties, poor execution and points left out on the field continue to plague the ‘Canes and their red zone struggles. Miami is now 4-2 and they still commit multiple penalties on offense, and a few crushing penalties on defense during third down plays. Miami can’t take steps backward on offense, and can’t give the opposing offense extra plays.
The mediocre performance by the offensive line looked worse now than they did earlier in the season. Kaaya is running for his life on too many plays.
The running game looks suspect against exceptional defenses thus far. No success against FSU, and very little success versus VT.
The defense needs to play more consistently. There were way too many drives where they underperformed versus a inferior team. Miami stepped up when they needed too, but the defense still has ways to go before fans can count on them.
Despite the inconsistent performances for four quarters, the ‘Canes played hard.
Passion and fire were displayed by this team all throughout the game, evident in Hurricane players pushing and confronting Virginia Tech players during the game.
Despite a heartbreaking loss to FSU, the team responded well during this game, something the ‘Canes have failed to do in the past two seasons when the loss to FSU meant a streak of losses for the rest of the season.This is a sign of encouragement for coach Al Golden and his staff.
Miami will take on the Clemson University Tigers at Sun Life Stadium, October 24, 12:00 p.m.
Brandon Carusillo is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in psychology. He’s from Coral Springs and wants to work as an entertainment agent when he graduates. He loves music, sports, writing and photography.
words_brandon carusillo. photos_hurricanesports.com