Miami edges No. 18 North Carolina State 31-30, ends two-game skid

Freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke throws a pass in the second quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021. The Hurricanes won 31-30.
Freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke throws a pass in the second quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021. The Hurricanes won 31-30. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

After two straight gut-wrenching losses, Miami put together a complete performance and upset No. 18 North Carolina State to achieve its first elusive ACC win.

The Hurricanes (3-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) were led by second-year freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who completed 25 of his 33 passing attempts for 325 yards and four touchdowns in his fourth start. Van Dyke completed a four-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior receiver Charleston Rambo with 10:18 left in the fourth quarter to give the Canes a 31-27 lead.

“I feel like a lot of guys have my back,” Van Dyke said. “I feel like I’m really taking charge of the offense.”

Van Dyke’s longest touchdown pass of the night was a 53-yard pass to freshman running back Jaylan Knighton, who extended Miami’s lead to 11 points with 14:30 left in the second quarter.

“Me working hard [and] going hard is an everyday thing,” Knighton said. “I just put it on the field on Saturdays.”

Knighton also voiced his support for Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz, who has dealt with a fair share of criticism after an underwhelming start to the season.

“Coach Diaz is our guy,” Knighton said. “We give him our all every day, and he gives us his all every day.”

Diaz, who with a win over North Carolina State (5-2, 2-1 ACC) improves to a 17-14 head coaching record at Miami, commended his team’s mental toughness.

“This team is resilient, we’ve shown it again and again,” Diaz said. “It’s baked into our DNA at this point.”

Junior tight end Will Mallory dives into the end zone and scores a touchdown in the third quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021.
Junior tight end Will Mallory dives into the end zone and scores a touchdown in the third quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Rambo finished the game with a team-high nine receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns, followed closely by Knighton, who had six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. Junior tight end Will Mallory caught three receptions for 34 yards and a third-quarter touchdown.

Freshman safety Kamren Kinchens made the biggest defensive play of the night, with a fourth-down tackle as 3:34 remained in the game to seal the Canes’ victory.

“It was just a routine play,” Kinchens said on his game-sealing tackle. “I already kind of knew it was coming, so I just had to make the play.”

UM’s defense did a tremendous job limiting the Wolfpack’s rushing attack, as they only accumulated 111 rushing yards, more than 50 yards short of its weekly average.

“I thought our run defense got better today,” Diaz said. “To hold them to basically 70 yards rushing when you take away the fake punt, that’s getting better. That’s something that we hadn’t been great at, we got better at that today.”

North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren was disappointed with his team’s lackluster performance.

“Obviously, we weren’t good enough tonight,” Doeren said. “Third down, we were really bad offensively, 3-of-14, so, hard to win games when you don’t get any takeaways and you are 3-of-14 on third down.”

Miami will look to continue its winning ways next Saturday at noon against No. 23 Pittsburgh in a game with major ACC Coastal Division implications.

“The fight is special in Miami, and the players just hadn’t seen the reward of the win,” Diaz said. “And tonight, they got the win and you watch them as a staff, we watch the players and you’re so proud of them, and you’re so happy that they finally got the reward, that in my mind, they’ve deserved.”