MIAMI GARDENS – The Miami Hurricanes came into their ACC opener knowing that many things had to change. Unfortunately, only some things changed. Tyler Van Dyke looked like the TVD we all loved last season, but the team itself just isn’t very good right now as the Hurricanes lose 27-24 at The Rock. The loss was their third straight and dropped them to 2-3 (0-1). The big money additions of Kevin Steele on defense and Josh Gattis on offense, just have not lived up to their price tags.
North Carolina struck first. Offensive coordinator Phil Longo proved that he watched Miami’s loss to MTSU as he went deep fast. Star freshman quarterback Drake Maye connected with JJ Jones on a 74-yard touchdown reception that gave Hurricanes fans flashbacks. Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, who has been plagued by uninspiring play to start the season, showed he was ready to turn things around.
Miami had a chance to answer that opening score as they marched 92 yards down the field before turning it over on downs. The Canes had 1st & Goal from the 2 and were unable to punch it in. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis again showed his weakness in red zone play calling. In four opportunities, he tried to run it the first three times before finally giving TVD a chance on 4th down that fell incomplete.
The Tar Heels followed up their 95-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter, with a 99-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter to go up 14-0. The big play on that drive was, you guessed it, a 52-yard pass play. This time it was Miami’s ‘best’ CB Tyrique Stevenson who was burned by Antoine Green. In all, the Miami secondary continued to give up chuck plays at the worst times.
The second half was equally as frustrating for the Hurricanes as a huge turnover in the 4th quarter basically ended the game. Jaylan Knighton broke free for a 9-yard run on 4th & 1 before Cedric Gray forced a fumble. The Canes were down 24-17 at the time and were marching deep in North Carolina territory. The Canes were able to muster another strong drive late on the fourth, but were already down 10 when TVD hit Colbie Young for a touchdown with 2:20 remaining in the game to make it 27-24. Miami got the ball back with 1:14 left and no timeouts, but the drive ended with a tipped interception at the UNC 24.
Tyler Van Dyke threw for 496 yards and three touchdowns and tight end Will Mallory had eight catches for 115 yards. In all, TVD threw to nine different receivers with all of them having at least two catches. The Canes will now head to Blacksburg for a date with Virginia Tech on Saturday and try to snap their three-game losing streak.