Canes Rewind: A Look Back at the Win over Virginia
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Each week this season, we’ll take a look at the game that was for the Hurricanes.
Here are some key storylines, numbers of note and quotes from Miami’s 29-26 overtime win over Virginia on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Miami’s gauntlet of eight straight ACC games continued Saturday when Miami welcomed Virginia to Hard Rock Stadium a week after both the Hurricanes and Cavaliers notched memorable victories.
For Miami, it was a double-overtime thriller over Clemson. For Virginia, it was a road upset of previously unbeaten and then 10th-ranked North Carolina.
Ahead of their matchup, the Hurricanes – more than once – tipped their caps to the Cavaliers and acknowledged Virginia was playing well just when it needed to most.
And early Saturday, the Cavaliers continued that trend, scoring 10 unanswered points in the first half as Miami’s offense struggled to get into a rhythm.
The Hurricanes got their first points of the day late in the second quarter when kicker Andy Borregales – who has been beyond consistent for Miami all season long – connected on the first of his three field goals on the day, this one from 47 yards out to pull the Hurricanes within 10-3 before half.
Momentum seemed to swing Miami’s way, though, early in the third.
After forcing a three-and-out on Virginia’s first drive of the second half, the Hurricanes went on a seven-play, 64-yard drive that culminated with a dazzling 26-yard scoring run from running back Ajay Allen, who hurdled a Cavaliers defender on his way to the endzone.
It took all of seven seconds for the Hurricanes to add another score.
Moments after Allen’s touchdown, Miami safety Kam Kinchens intercepted Cavaliers quarterback Tony Muskett and sprinted 29 yards to the endzone for a touchdown that gave Miami a 17-10 lead – the Hurricanes’ first lead of the day.
But Virginia battled back.
The Cavaliers cut into Miami’s lead after a 23-yard field goal from South Florida native Will Bettridge and then, after capitalizing on a Tyler Van Dyke interception, regained the lead after running back Mike Hollins scored his second touchdown of the day.
Borregales and Bettridge traded field goals in the fourth quarter, with Borregales hitting from 48 yards out with 1:43 left to help Miami force overtime for a second straight week – and a second straight game against Virginia.
Unlike last year’s showdown in Charlottesville, though, the Hurricanes (6-2, 2-2) didn’t need four overtimes to get the win.
After Miami’s defense held Virginia to a field goal in overtime, Hurricanes running back Mark Fletcher, Jr. – who had been sidelined for four games with a foot injury – scored on an 11-yard run that set off another wild celebration at Hard Rock and gave Miami its sixth win of the season.
“Obviously, I’m proud of our guys for the win. A back-and-forth game, one that we didn’t start off very well in,” Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal said. “And one that we just found a way to make just enough plays to take this thing into overtime and then find a way to win it.
“Like I told the players in there, football is football and I’m not going to waste a lot of time in the locker room talking about the things that we didn’t do well. I’m going to focus on the fact that we found a way to win and make sure that we congratulate each other. Obviously, we are going to get back to work [Sunday] and do the things that we need to to get better. That being said, credit to Virginia. They proved last week they have a good football team, and we knew it.”
Numbers to Know
50 – Number of yards on the longest field goal kicked Saturday by Andy Borregales. The junior also connected on field goals from 47 and 48 yards. According to the Associated Press, Borregales is just the second Miami kicker in the last 10 years to connect on three field goals of 40 yards or longer in a single game. The other kicker to accomplish that feat? Borregales’ older brother, Jose, who did the same in a win over Louisville in 2020.
6 – Sacks posted by the Miami defense in Saturday’s win. Rueben Bain, Jr. and Francisco Mauigoa had 2.5 sacks each to lead the Hurricanes, while Branson Deen had two sacks. Corey Flagg, Jr. who had the game-saving tackle in last week’s win over Clemson, also had a sack.
6.1 – Yards per carry averaged by Ajay Allen in Saturday’s win. The running back finished with 11 carries for 67 yards.
75 – Kickoff yards totaled by Nathaniel “Ray Ray” Joseph on three returns. The speedy freshman’s longest return of the day went 31 yards.
2 – Total number of penalties called on Miami against Virginia. That’s the Hurricanes’ lowest total this season.
“I think what it shows is that there’s nothing we haven’t seen. I’m sure there’s a few things we haven’t seen, but you could hit that theme hard because at the end of the day, it’s about belief. Play the players that you trust, trust the players that you play. … Days like that, when you start off like that, it’s hard to explain. It’s hard to put a finger on it. We practiced well. We did. We practiced hard. We thought, ‘Man, we’re going to come out hitting on all cylinders and doing what we’ve done.’ But I guess the best way to put it is, our team, by now, should feel that there is not a situation that we can’t overcome. We’ve seen a lot of being down in the fourth quarter. We’ve seen ourselves turn the ball over. We’ve been in holes. We’ve been up and then behind. All of that stuff, it’s important. It’s difficult on the heart a little bit, but besides that, it’s really good for your football team to be able to respond the way they did, so we’re moving forward.”
– Head coach Mario Cristobal, on what back-to-back overtime wins mean to the program
“To make an impact like that, that’s what I dreamed of as a kid. It’s crazy. I did it. … I asked [running backs coach Tim Harris, Jr.] ‘Coach, you want me in there?’ and he said, ‘Come on, 22.’ When my number is called, I have to make a play and thank God I did.”
– Running back Mark Fletcher, Jr., on his carries in overtime and his game-winning touchdown
“I think of every kick as the same, like if it’s a game-winning or game-time kick, I kind of just have the mentality [that] I only get one shot, you know? And that’s kind of how it is as a kicker. … You just don’t want to miss, ever.”
– Kicker Andy Borregales, on whether he approaches kicks differently depending on the game situation
“James [Williams] is literally standing next to me and said, ‘Bro, I’ve got a feeling somebody’s going to catch a pick-six. He was like, ‘I don’t know who’s going to catch it, but it’s going to be a pick and it’s going to be a pick-six.’”
– Safety Kam Kinchens, on the conversation he and fellow safety James Williams had just before the defensive series that ended with Kinchens returning an interception for a touchdown
“At the end of the day, my teammates got me. The defense did a great job and gave the offense a chance to win the game. And thank God for Andy Borregales. Without him, I mean, I think we would have lost the game. He made three clutch kicks.”
– Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, on how his teammates stepped up in Saturday’s win
The Hurricanes will play two straight – and three of four in November – on the road, starting next Saturday at NC State.
The Wolfpack (5-3, 2-2) have won two of their last three and are coming off a 24-17 win over Clemson.
In that win, NC State quarterback MJ Morris completed 11 of 20 passes and threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns, with receiver Kevin “KC” Concepcion catching both scoring passes. Concepcion finished with five catches for 83 yards. He also had two rushes for 51 yards.
The Wolfpack defense, meanwhile, totaled nine tackles for loss and forced two Clemson turnovers in the win.
The Hurricanes have won four straight against the Wolfpack, including wins in Raleigh in both 2016 and 2020. Miami holds an 11-5-1 lead in the all-time series.