Canes Rewind: A Look Back at the Win over Texas A&M
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Each week this season, we’ll take a look at the game that was for the Hurricanes.
Here are some of the key storylines, numbers of note, and quotes from Miami’s 48-33 win over No. 23 Texas A&M.
After opening the season with a big win over Miami (OH), the Hurricanes quickly turned their focus to preparing for their first Top 25 opponent of the season: the Texas A&M Aggies.
Miami knew it faced a formidable task entering the matchup. The new-look Aggies opened their season with a 52-10 win over New Mexico, with quarterback Conner Weigman and receivers Evan Stewart and Noah Thomas making headlines after Texas A&M scored touchdowns on their first five possessions against the Lobos.
But on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, it was Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and his receiving corps that stole the show.
After a pair of Miami special teams miscues helped Texas A&M take an early 17-7 lead, Van Dyke and the Hurricanes rallied.
First, Van Dyke connected with Isaiah Horton on a 52-yard scoring pass to pull the Hurricanes within three. Then, with just seconds left before half, Van Dyke engineered a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard scoring pass to Jacolby George that gave Miami a 21-17 lead after Andy Borregales ’ extra point.
The second half brought more of the same from Van Dyke and the receiving corps, with George hauling in two more touchdown passes, including a 62-yarder in the game’s final minutes.
Miami’s defense and special teams unit turned in their share of big plays, too.
After Texas A&M pulled within 21-20 after a field goal, Brashard Smith took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards and scored, pushing Miami’s lead again.
All-American safety Kam Kinchens notched a pair of turnovers, picking off Weigman and recovering a fumble forced by teammate Jaden Davis.
Van Dyke finished the game completing 21 of 30 passes for 374 yards with five touchdowns, receiver Xavier Restrepo posted a career-high 126 receiving yards and George finished with five catches for 94 yards.
The win marked the first victory over a top-25 opponent since head coach Mario Cristobal returned to his alma mater and while the coach said there is still plenty of work to continue doing in Coral Gables, he noted that Saturday’s game was a big step in helping the Hurricanes get to where they ultimately want to be.
“Everybody wants to see progress, right? The offseason is so long and that’s what is hard about football. After nine months, what are you going to do? What are you going to be? What is it going to look like?” Cristobal said. “Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve had a blueprint that has been successful. We came to Miami because, besides the fact that we love Miami, we knew that when Miami is done the right way, it’s the best one of them all.
“We are taking steps in the right direction. We are progressing. We are nowhere near arrived. We are nowhere near where we want to be. But today was a big step in the direction we want to go and I’m just extremely proud of everyone in that locker room.”
Numbers to Know
5 – Touchdown passes thrown by Van Dyke. That’s the most scoring passes ever thrown by a Miami quarterback against a Top 25 opponent. That’s also the most of Van Dyke’s career in a single game and tied for second-most in Miami history.
2 – Interceptions of Weigman forced by the Hurricanes defense. They were the first two interceptions thrown by the Aggies’ quarterbacks in his six starts at Texas A&M. One was notched by Kinchens, Miami’s All-American safety, the other by veteran corner Te’Cory Couch.
8.4 – Average yards per play gained by the Hurricanes’ offense in Saturday’s win.
6 – Solo stops recorded by Miami redshirt senior defensive back Jaden Davis. Davis finished with eight total tackles, including a team-high two tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble, broke up a pass and notched a QB hurry.
88 – Yards after catch recorded by Restrepo. The receiver, who missed last year’s game against Texas A&M in College Station because of a foot injury, finished the day with a career-high 126 yards on six catches with a long reception of 48 yards.
22 – Miami’s ranking in the AP Top 25 poll, which was released Sunday.
“Well, I think it’s a credit to the players because that’s always been the goal. When you change regimens and change cultures, you always have a choice to make and you can stick with what you believe in and sometimes it’s ugly, ‘cause last year was. But if you believe in it and make sure that the right people continue to grow and stay and you bring in people that are like-minded and hard-working, that’s a nice combination and that leads to better culture, better atmosphere, better environment, better programs, better businesses, better organizations. That’s what we feel we are headed toward and today was a big step in the that direction.”
– Head coach Mario Cristobal, on the resilience shown by Miami on Saturday
“It’s very special. It means a lot to the program for sure, with all the hard work we put in [and] especially what happened last year, all the adversity we faced and all the lessons we learned. That helped us in this big-time moment today. It’s only game two. We’ve still got a long season ahead, 10 games left. But this is something at the beginning.”
– Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, on what Saturday’s win meant to the Hurricanes
“He’s the heart and soul of this team. He really brings it. He really wants to win. He really wants to change the culture here. Doesn’t like losing. That’s one guy I love playing next to. You know why? He pushes me. And not only does he push me, he pushes everybody around me to be great. He wants us to be great. He wants us to be better than what we already are. A guy like Kam, that’s an amazing guy. I love him to death. That’s my boy.”
– Safety James Williams on fellow safety Kam Kinchens
“I mean, when somebody scores, no matter if they have one yard or a hundred yards, I’m pretty sure if you go watch the film, everybody’s jumping on the sideline. It’s a type of everybody-eats-kind-of-room right now. We’re so unselfish and that’s a big part of being successful, being super unselfish. Talk with the guys, and all we’re talking about is just win, you know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, winning’s the best feeling.”
– Receiver Xavier Restrepo, on the depth and camaraderie among the receivers
“Every day, it’s competition. A lot of the guys are from down here, so we’ve known each other for a long time, and it’s never been bad blood between us. … We’re constantly pushing each other every day and I feel like that’s what’s elevating the room. That’s elevating every single position. There’s so much depth at d-line, linebacker, corner, safety that you can’t relax. … I might have this game, but tomorrow, I go out there and don’t do that [at practice], now, it’s a battle. You have to constantly go out there and prove yourself every day. That’s what I love about this team.”
– Defensive back Jaden Davis on the competition in the Miami secondary
The Hurricanes will be operating on a short week and are set to host Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium to close out their three-game, season-opening homestand.
Bethune-Cookman is coming off a 31-6 win over Savannah State and outscored the Tigers 24-3 in the second half to secure the victory and even their record at 1-1.
Quarterback Luke Sprague completed 23 of 29 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns, while receiver Tink Boyd had two catches for 68 yards.
The Hurricanes and Wildcats met in last season’s opener, with Miami notching a 70-13 win. The Hurricanes hold a 6-0 all-time record in the series and have outscored Bethune-Cookman 302-50 in those matchups.