Canes Roll Past Aggies in Statement Win
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Last season in the roaring din of Aggieland, the Miami Hurricanes racked up 392 yards of total offense but never once found the end zone.
Texas A&M made the return trip to South Florida Saturday. And to the delight of the roaring Hard Rock Stadium faithful, the Canes made sure to visit the end zone early, often, and in a variety of fashions.
Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke threw a career-high five touchdown passes, wide receiver Jacolby George had a career-best three touchdown catches and fellow wideout Brashard Smith electrified the crowd with a 98-yard kickoff return for a score as Miami earned a wild, 48-33 win over No. 23 Texas A&M.
The Canes improved to 2-0 while the Aggies dropped to 1-1.
“The guys played really hard,” head coach Mario Cristobal said. “They overcame a lot of mistakes and self-inflicted wounds and found a way to just keep making one more play, get one more stop, another explosive.
“It was just a complete team effort. I’m certainly proud of these guys. We played a really good game against a really good football team, a really talented football team.”
Miami amassed 451 total yards and Van Dyke threw for 374 of them, completing 21 of 30 passes to six different teammates in a breakout game for Miami’s receiving corps. Xavier Restrepo racked up a career-high 126 receiving yards, and Colbie Young hauled in six passes for 75 yards and a score. George totaled 94 yards on five receptions – his three scoring grabs now gives him four for his career.
Miami’s defense forced three second-half turnovers and harassed Aggies quarterback Connor Weigman throughout the evening. All-America safety Kam Kinchens, who was injured late in the game, registered two takeaways, leading to 10 points. Fellow safety James Williams paced the Canes with nine tackles, and cornerback Te’Cory Couch iced the game with a late interception.
“So far, the reports that we have on (Kinchens) are that everything seem to be relatively normal, so I’m going to head over there right after I get done with the press conference and see how he’s doing,” Cristobal said.
Weigman completed 33 of 51 passes for 336 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. Wide receiver Evan Stewart had 11 catches for 142 yards. A&M ran 82 plays to Miami’s 54.
Miami couldn’t move the chains on its opening drive and faced 4th and 9 from its 12-yard line. Aggies wide receiver Jahdae Walker blocked Dylan Joyce’s punt and the A&M took over at the Canes 15 just 1:33 into the game. Three plays later, Weigman scored on a one-yard keeper and the Aggies had a 7-0 lead.
Weigman kept A&M moving on its second drive, tossing a 24-yard swing pass to running back Rueben Owens to the Miami 42. After a holding penalty extended the drive, the Aggies reached the seven-yard line before Miami’s defense held. Randy Bond kicked a 24-yard field goal to push A&M’s lead to 10-0.
The Canes’ offense found its rhythm on its third drive. Van Dyke connected with George on a 11-yard pass and threw a dart to Restrepo, hitting him in stride for a 48-yard gain to the A&M 16. Four plays later Van Dyke connected with Young and the lead was cut to three points.
Miami’s defense stopped the Aggies around midfield on the ensuing drive, but George muffed the punt and A&M recovered at the Canes nine-yard line. Daniels scored on a nine-yard run two plays later and the Aggie lead was back up to double digits.
The Canes responded immediately. Van Dyke rolled right and found Young for a key, 16-yard third down conversion to the Miami 45. Two plays later he lofted a gorgeous deep ball down the left sideline to wide receiver Isaiah Horton, who cradled his first career touchdown for 52 yards to trim A&M’s lead to 17-14.
The Canes forced their first three-and-out of the game and got the ball back at their 25. Van Dyke sidearmed a ball to Restrepo, who pinballed his way 23 yards through the A&M defense to the Aggies 47. A pass interference call moved the ball to the 33-yard line but two Aggie sacks forced a field goal attempt by Andy Borregales, who missed from 54 yards. A&M took over with 3:59 left in the half.
The Aggies reached the Canes 25 but stalled there and Bond pushed a 42-yard field attempt wide right. Miami took over with under a minute left and no timeouts left.
Running back Henry Parrish, Jr. scampered 18 yards and then Van Dyke needed just three completions to escort Miami into the end zone. He connected with Young for 32 yards, Restrepo for 19 yards and rolled right to find a wide open George for an 11-yard touchdown. The Canes had a 21-17 halftime lead.
Tyler Van Dyke became the first Miami quarterback to throw five touchdown passes against a Top 25 team.
Weigman led A&M all the way down to the Miami four-yard line to open the second half. The Aggies faced a 4th and 1 and lined up to go for it but A&M committed a false start and settled for a 28-yard field goal from Bond to cut the Canes’ lead to 21-20.
Smith immediately extended the lead to eight with an electric, 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. When the Aggies got the ball back, Weigman was picked off by KInchens, who returned it 28 yards to the A&M 22. It was the first interception thrown by the Aggies in their last six-plus games dating back October 29 of last season, which the longest streak in FBS. Borregales kicked a 34-yard field goal to push Miami’s lead to 31-20 with 5:39 left in the third quarter.
The Aggies answered back, capping a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown toss from Weigman to running back Earnest Crownover. But A&M went for two and didn’t convert so the Canes still had a five-point lead.
The Aggies forced a three-and-out and faced a 3rd and 1 on their next drive. Daniels ran right and cornerback Jaden Davis jarred the ball loose. Kinchens recovered and the Canes were back in business at the A&M 31 as the third quarter concluded.
Van Dyke picked up a 3rd and 6 with a 24-yard completion to Restrepo. Two plays later he found George wide open in the left flat and the wide receiver waltzed into the end zone for his second score of the evening.
Miami forced a punt and moved the ball to the Aggies 32, more importantly taking more precious minutes off the clock. Borregales capped the drive with a 50-yard field goal and the Canes led 41-26.
The Aggies marched right back, converting a fourth and goal with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Weigman to wide receiver Noah Thomas that cut the lead to 41-33 with 5:02 left.
The Canes continued to stay aggressive, and it paid off. Van Dyke hit George on a 64-yard scoring strike to push Miami’s lead back to 15 points. The Aggies managed to move the ball down to the Canes 10 with under a minute left but Couch stepped in front of a pass near the goal line to end any A&M comeback hopes.
“We are working our way there,” Cristobal said. “We are nowhere where we want to be. We’ve got a couple of guys who are nicked up, banged up, and we’ll see what that looks like but all in all just a massive step for the program.
“(The Aggies) are a really good football team. They’ve recruited everyone in the country over the last few years so they are loaded to the gills, but we work hard, we practice hard, we train hard, we prepare hard. We felt that if we eliminated mistakes we’d be able to take over the football game and we did.”
Miami has a quick turnaround, hosting Bethune-Cookman Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. on ACC Network.