In their first win in over a month, the Hurricanes football team defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies, 20-14, on Saturday at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.
There were many things to be proud of, but it was not a dream game for Miami, which nearly squandered a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter. However, a win is a win and the ‘Canes are now back to a .500 record.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
The start we’ve all been waiting for
Miami has consistently gotten out to slow starts this year, but Saturday was different. On the opening drive, cornerback DJ Ivey forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Avantae Williams. Four plays later, a five-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to Frank Ladson Jr. gave the ‘Canes a lead for the first time since they played Southern Miss on Sept. 10.
“We started very strong. We came out with purpose, we came out with conviction and we really executed at a high level,” head coach Mario Cristobal said.
In the first quarter, Miami had 161 yards compared to Virginia Tech’s 70, while having the ball for 9:14 compared to Virginia Tech’s 5:46.
Colbie Young is that guy
Bringing Colbie Young to the team this past offseason might have been one of the best moves made by Miami. Earlier in the week, the coaching staff said Young would get an increased role in the offense against Virginia Tech and he made exceptional use of it.
Young got involved early, making an acrobatic 37-yard catch that set up Ladson’s touchdown. He was one of the most prolific receivers of the day with 110 yards on nine catches, including a 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put Miami up 17-0.
Penalty problem from out of nowhere
Going into the game against Virginia Tech, Miami was the least penalized school in the entire Atlantic Coast Conference, with 27 on the season. On Saturday, they had 17.
The penalties yielded over 150 yards total and hurt both sides of the ball. It allowed Virginia Tech to get back into the game, as it outscored Miami 14-3 in the second half.
Beastly pressure on the quarterback
Going into the game, the Miami defense was among the top defenses in the nation when it came to pressuring the quarterback and it continued on Saturday. The ‘Canes got to Virginia Tech quarterback Grant Wells six times in the game, with star defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor recording a career-high 3.5 of them.
The pressure was a big reason Virginia Tech was held scoreless through the first three quarters and it is key to Miami’s success defensively.
Mesidor was another key transfer addition for Miami, along with lineman Darrell Jackson Jr. The two have established the trenches emphatically.
The Canes look to keep the winning up against Duke on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium. Kickoff will take place at 12:30 p.m.