There’s nothing else to say about Kirby Freeman but the numbers: 1-for-14, 84 yards, and three interceptions. That’s not a Division-I-football type of performance. Maybe he was having a bad day, but even his sole completion was horribly underthrown, forcing Darnell Jenkins to play centerfield to make the grab and force his way into the end zone. It’s hard to believe there was a discussion about the quarterback situation that involved Freeman just two months ago. The worst quarterbacking at “Quarterback U” that I can remember.
Running Backs: B+
The backs did a great job, combining for over 300 yards as a squad, led by Javarris James with 103. However, it seemed they were all missing that one big move to force their way into the end zone. Even Derron Thomas’ 54-yard run could have been more if he would have gone above and beyond. Still, by far the bright spot of the day.
Receivers/tight ends: C-
It’s a shame Darnell Jenkins can’t get his own category, because his effort was unquestionably strong, even lining up underneath center for two snaps. Otherwise, the rest of the receivers were largely useless, accounting for only drops and penalties.
OffensiVe Line: C+
It’s hard to give a bad grade to an O-line when there’s over 300 yards of rushing involved, but most of the big runs were caused by running-back ingenuity. Freeman often faced pressure, causing more than a few incompletions and bad decisions.
Defensive Line: B-
They held the run to only 21 yards, but never sacked quarterback Daniel Evans once. This unit sometimes becomes invisible for points in time. If Miami wants to control games, that’s not tolerable.
Evans picked the middle of the field apart, and the linebacking core seemed unable to keep up with NC State’s receivers. Like the D-line, they did a good job covering the run, but if your opponent can’t stop the 6-yard out, why run?
Many of the same problems that plagued the entire defensive core extend to the secondary. They couldn’t stick to their assignments. Receivers gained a lot of yards after catch by breaking poorly executed tackles. Extremely frustrating to watch Miami try to stop NC State on third down.
Special Teams: F-
The University of Miami does not have a kicker. Matt Bosher did well punting, but the ongoing competition at kicker between Darren Daly and Francesco Zampogna is like competing to see who can fall down a cliff fastest. Can Darnell Jenkins kick?
Miami looked flat the entire game. Sure, the regular starting quarterback wasn’t available, but Freeman has led Miami to a bowl victory and a comeback win against FSU. The playcalling was stagnant, mistakes were repeated over and over again and the Canes looked like a team that just played yesterday, not a team that had two weeks off. The coaches looked like they hadn’t prepared at all.