Canes Rewind: A Look Back at the Game Against NC State
RALEIGH, N.C. – 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 20-7 loss to NC State on Saturday night at Carter-Finley Stadium.
After notching a pair of overtime wins over Clemson and Virginia, the Hurricanes entered the month of November knowing they faced a tough gauntlet of four conference games that would go a long way in determining their ACC fate.
Of those, three would come on the road, starting Saturday night in Raleigh against NC State.
Miami’s defense made its presence felt throughout the night, holding NC State to just one touchdown through the first three quarters – a 12-yard touchdown catch from MJ Morris to Jordan Poole in the first that gave the Wolfpack an early 7-3 lead.
The Hurricanes also held the Wolfpack to a total of just 231 yards and NC State only converted on 3 of its 11 third-down opportunities.
Unfortunately, though, Miami’s offense struggled.
The Hurricanes mustered just two scores – a pair of field goals from Andy Borregales – and turned the ball over four times.
Trailing 10-6 early in the fourth, Miami drove deep inside Wolfpack territory, but came up short on a crucial fourth-and-1, turning the ball over on downs with 7:35 left.
NC State responded with an 8-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 31-yard touchdown run from Kendrick Raphael with 5:03 left that virtually put the game out of reach for Miami.
“A lot of really good efforts by a lot of our guys, particularly the defense. I thought the defense played extremely hard, extremely well. Limited them, gave us opportunities on short fields as well and then we really struggled in the red zone. That’s what was obvious and turned the ball over,” Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal said. “Certainly, that last drive when they stopped us on fourth-and-1 and went the length of the field ended up being the difference in the game.”
Numbers to Know
115 – Total rushing yards gained by Hurricanes running back Mark Fletcher, Jr. in his first start. It was a career high for the freshman.
4 – Season total number of interceptions for All-American safety Kamren Kinchens, who notched another pick during Saturday’s loss.
48 – Length in yards of Andy Borregales’ first field goal of the day. The kicker is 4-of-5 on field goals between 40 and 49 yards this season.
“I think it’s not just pointing a finger at [quarterback] Tyler [Van Dyke]. I think, offensively, there are things we need to do better. The passing game certainly hasn’t been what it’s needed to be, especially when we started the season in such a strong manner. … Sometimes the routes are covered, smothered a little bit. Protection has been fairly good for the most part. … It’s a little bit of everything. We’ve got to coach it better. We’ve got to get our guys to perform better. We’ve got to design a couple things that might help us see things a little bit more clearly. But it’s a little bit of everything.”
– Head coach Mario Cristobal, on the struggles in Miami’s passing game
“It wasn’t just me. Credit to my o-line. They were making it easy for me out there, making many openings. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we just have to go back to work on Monday.”
– Running back Mark Fletcher, Jr. on his performance in Saturday’s loss
“We have to move on, quickly. We have to hurry up and move on to the next game. Can’t dwell on this. It hurts. It hurts. It stings badly. But we have a big game Saturday and that’s the reason I came here, for this game. So, we’ve got to move on quickly.”
– Defensive lineman Branson Deen, on the team’s next step
Miami’s loaded November continues next week with a trip to Tallahassee for its annual showdown with rival Florida State.
The fourth-ranked Seminoles have already clinched a berth in next month’s ACC Championship Game and are currently one of the teams projected to advance to this season’s College Football Playoff.
FSU is coming off a 24-7 road win over Pittsburgh in which quarterback Jordan Travis completed 22 of 36 passes and threw for 360 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Ja’Khi Douglas had six catches for 115 yards in the win and Trey Benson rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Miami holds a 35-32 lead in the all-time series and is 16-11 in games played against FSU in Tallahassee.