MIAMI GARDENS – The Miami Hurricanes looked to rebound from a disappointing loss in College Station as they welcomed Middle Tennessee State to Hard Rock Stadium. Instead, the Blue Raiders won 45-31 and handed the program it’s most embarrassing loss of the last 20 years. Toss in a full-blown quarterback controversy and it would be hard to imagine a worse way to be heading into conference play.
The game started off badly as Tyler Van Dyke continued his poor play this season with interceptions on his first two attempts. The second was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by backup defensive end Zaylin Wood who added two sacks in what was a monster day. MSTU quarterback Chase Cunningham threw for 408 yards as he torched the Miami secondary all afternoon.
Following four turnovers in the game’s first seven minutes, three by Miami and one from MTSU, the Canes found themselves behind 17-3. Miami had a chance to get some momentum down 10-0 early after a Kam Kinchens interception, but saw their 11-play drive stall out at the 21-yard line and settled for a 39-yard field goal. The Blue Raiders responded with a two play 75-yard drive that was capped off with a 71-yard touchdown reception to DJ England-Chisolm for a 17-3 lead.
The Hurricanes finally found the end zone with 1:20 left in the first half after TVD connected with Henry Parrish for a 6-yard touchdown reception. It cut the deficit to 24-10 and gave the Cane a little momentum heading into the half. Those hoping for a comeback were dissapointed as the Canes punted on thier first two drives. But then for the third drive of the quarter, the crowd rose to their feet and it got very loud, very fast as backup quarterback Jake Garcia led the Hurricanes offense onto the field. Miami responded as Garcia connected on two big pass plays to Will Mallory and Key’Shawn Smith before Thaddius Franklin punched in a 1-yard touchdown to make it 31-17.
MTSU then exposed the Miami secondary with another huge play. This time it was a 98-yard bomb to DJ England-Chisolm again. He ended his day with two catches for 169 yards. His teammate Jaylin Wayne added four catches for 130. It was a very bad day for Miami’s secondary. Chase Cunningham completed passes of 98, 89, 71 and 69 yards. It was embarrassing.
The Hurricanes have two weeks to figure out how to fix this before the welcome the University of North Carolina to The Rock to open conference play. Instead of going in 3-1 and riding Mario-mentum, they are 2-2 and in complete disarray. No one said the rebuild would be easy, but not many fans thought the Hurricanes were that far back either. This was a shockingly poor display of football.