Miami Hurricanes look for winning record against Virginia Tech

Redshirt junior wide receiver Charleston Rambo runs with the ball after catching a pass in the fourth quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State University at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Charleston Rambo runs with the ball after catching a pass in the fourth quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State University at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

In what could have been its fourth straight win, the Miami football team fell to the Florida State Seminoles in their annual rivalry game last Saturday. The loss now puts the Hurricanes at a 5-5 overall record and out of contention for an Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

The Hokies (5-5, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are fresh off a win against unranked Duke, who the ‘Canes play Nov. 27 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Like Miami (5-5, 3-3 ACC), Virginia Tech has had a tumultuous season, beating Georgia Tech and North Carolina, but losing to Pitt. The future of the head coaching position at Virginia Tech is also unknown, as Justin Fuente chose not to finish the 2021 season when he was told he wouldn’t be back for 2022. As a result, former Hokie and All-American J.C. Price is acting as interim head coach and will be on the sideline as they face Miami head coach Manny Diaz and his Hurricanes.

The long-term future of head coaching at the University of Miami is also uncertain, though. The ‘Canes are in the process of hiring a new athletic director as Blake James was ousted from his position earlier this week. In his first statement after the news broke of James leaving The U, Diaz thanked Blake for the opportunity he was given at the university, and said that he is “forever grateful for him.”

Shortly after, Diaz moved on to this week’s matchup.

“There’s a mission and the mission this week is to beat Virginia Tech. That’s all we can control,” Diaz said.

Beating Virginia Tech is crucial if Miami hopes to enter bowl game consideration. Losing to the Hokies will mean that the ‘Canes must beat Duke in Durham, North Carolina, the following weekend to enter bowl eligibility.

Despite the pressure, though, starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is confident in his team’s ability to perform this weekend.

“Obviously a tough loss to Florida State, but we’re going to get this win for our seniors,” Van Dyke said. “It’s the last time at Hard Rock Stadium, so we’re going to come out fighting like we have all year.”

Against Florida State, Van Dyke threw for a 53.4% pass completion rate with only a gain of 319 yards. He also threw two interceptions, the highest he’s thrown since the Hurricanes lost to UNC in Week 7. Running back Jaylan Knighton also averaged two yards per carry against the Seminoles, his lowest average of the season.

As the Hurricanes look to commit to short-term memory and put last weekend’s rivalry loss behind them, they will kick off their final home game of the season at 7:30 p.m.