In one of the most anticipated games on the Hurricanes’ schedule, No. 13 Miami was unable to overcome the No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday night at Kyle Field, losing 17-9 in its first road game of the season.
“We came up short, there’s no sugar coating that,” Miami head coach Mario Cristobal said. “We have to go and get better and eliminate issues that hurt us in this game.”
Despite scoring only 14 points last week against Appalachian State, the Aggies (2-1) came out strong on offense. Quarterback Max Johnson and running back Devon Achane used a seven-play, 55-yard drive to bring Texas A&M into field goal range, where kicker Randy Bond put the Aggies up 3-0 with his 26-yard chip shot.
Missing key receiver Xavier Restrepo to a foot injury, Miami (2-1) found the redzone on its first offensive drive. Led by 2021 ACC Rookie of the Year and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, a 12-play drive ended with kicker Andres Borregales tying the game on a 28-yard field goal.
Defensively, the Hurricanes put together a quick stop after the score, leading to a Texas A&M punt. However, returner and junior cornerback Tyrique Stevenson fumbled the ball away as he attempted to grab it off a bounce. The Aggies recovered the ball and needed only three plays to score, as halfback LJ Johnson’s one-yard rush made it 10-3.
After, Miami’s drive would again stall as running back Henry Parrish dropped what would’ve likely been a first down pass on third-and-9. In his second attempt of the evening, Borregales’ 49-yard kick missed wide to the left, keeping the score at 10-3 through one quarter.
In the second quarter, Miami used a targeting call at its own nine-yard line to spark another drive. Making their second trip to the redzone, the ‘Canes special team unit would falter again when freshman defensive lineman Albert Regis leaped to block Borregales’ 36-yard field goal.
At halftime, Texas A&M led Miami 10-3.
After a Hurricanes punt, A&M opened the third quarter with a quick four-play, 76-yard scoring drive to go up 17-3. Achane caught a pass in the flat from Johnson and took off for a 25-yard touchdown.
Late in the third, Miami found its way down the field but hit fourth-and-goal. Playing conservatively, the Hurricanes sent Borregales out, who chipped in a 22-yard field goal to make it 17-6 .
With time becoming the enemy of the ‘Canes, the offense entered the fourth quarter needing a big drive. Taking 6:19 off the game clock, Miami drove the ball down to the A&M 16 before Borregales kicked yet another field goal to make it a one possession game at 17-9.
After trading possessions, Miami had one final opportunity to put together its first touchdown drive. At their own 43 with 1:16 left in the game, the Hurricanes only moved 17 yards until they turned it over on downs. On fourth-and-4, wide receiver Brashard Smith dropped Van Dyke’s pass to seal the deal for the Aggies.
Van Dyke’s 217 passing yards on 21-of-41 throws was the third-lowest total as a starter in his career.
“I’ve got to be a little more accurate,” Van Dyke said. “Just got to make more throws.”
The ‘Canes offense managed 4.9 yards per carry, but seven penalties and only nine points in four trips to the redzone countered the solid production on the ground.
“You’ve got to execute, you’ve got to prevent shooting yourself in the foot on some things,” Cristobal said.
With the 17-9 loss, Miami has still not beaten a Southeastern Conference (SEC) opponent since 2013.
Miami returns home for a date with Middle Tennessee State next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium.