Canes Crumble at Clemson

In the penultimate game of this tumultuous season the 2022 Canes gave you things to be optimistic about while also showing you things to pessimistically cry about. In that regard, this game felt a lot like a Game of Thrones season finale, feeding you a little hope before crushing your soul like the Red Wedding. The defense is starting to show remarkable promise and consistent growth in key areas of deficiencies like forcing turnovers, stopping the run, covering with linebackers, tackling, and reducing the amount of explosive plays in the passing game. Wesley Bissainthe is getting a ton of snaps and it is easy to see why. The kid is a player! He has tremendous coverage chops and isn’t afraid to lay the wood down like a lumberjack. Sean Spence vibes? Some upperclassman has lost their job for good because Bissainthe is not coming off that field.
In the 2nd half of the matchup with Clemson, the Canes had a window to start a comeback when the defense strung together consecutive stops and even gave the ball back to the offense on short fields in sudden change situations. Unfortunately, the offense stumbled and sputtered its way to 98 yards and only 10 points in yet another anemic performance that had us all wondering if the program nutritionists were making sure that these guys were getting enough iron in their diets? Maybe they need to eat more steak and take it easy on the pickle juice because the extra electrolytes are not helping them score more points. Ten points is still a very low output even if you’re going up against Clemson. Especially when you consider that the defense held Clemson’s offense scoreless in the 3rd quarter but the Canes offense only managed a field goal while also giving Clemson back two points in the form of a sack for a safety.
Where was the Rushing Attack?
Accruing less than 100 yards in this era of college football is hard to do but somehow the Canes managed to achieve this dubious distinction for the first time since November 27, 1965. Just for historical context at that time, Lyndon Johnson was the President (of which we only had 36 at that point), we had just entered the Vietnam war less than a year before, Martin Luther King Jr. was still leading the Civil Rights movement and marched from Selma to Montgomery earlier that year. The Supremes had the #1 pop song in the country, we were still 4 years away from landing on the moon, the NFL still had not merged with the AFL, Hawaii/Alaska had only been states for 6 years, and the University of Miami was still 2 years away from allowing its first African-American player on the team. If all of that sounds like stuff that you read in ancient history books, that’s because it is.
QB Limitations
In the previous game at Georgia Tech, Jacurri Brown looked like the dual threat heir apparent to the QB1 iron throne. Against Clemson in Death Valley we saw his limitations in the passing game when Clemson clearly decided that they were not going to get beat by a running quarterback and 5 yard throws, daring Brown to dial up some downfield passes that he did not connect on. By no means is this a final indictment of Jacurri. He is a true freshman quarterback with plenty of upside and a big arm. However, he has a lot of room to grow with his mechanics, field reading, blitz diagnosing, and accuracy. There were a few big plays left on the field against Clemson that we didn’t capitalize on because the rookie didn’t see it or missed on the throw. Having your second start be on the road against a team with an all-time home winning streak in a place called “Death Valley” is a tough place to try to cut your teeth for sure.
Jake Garcia was inserted and created a different dynamic with his ability to throw the ball initially, but that change of pace quickly fizzled out when Clemson adjusted to play more coverage- which is a big deficit in Jake Garcia’s game. He struggles reading coverages which manifests in his propensity to throw interceptions. Miami ran 42 plays and only had 68 yards passing and 30 yards rushing in a 4 quarter game. Miami had almost as many punts as first downs. Miami had almost as many penalty yards as passing yards. Miami only converted on three 3rd downs all game while Clemson were 14 of 19 in those same situations. The loss was as comprehensive as it was complete. There was not one phase of the game that the Miami Hurricanes won in any quarter and that includes the pre-game and the postgame. They kicked our asses there too. Dabo decided to pour it on with a seemingly unnecessary touchdown, but we were powerless to stop them. We reaped what we sowed on that one because we have been known to run it up on teams with our backups in as well.
A Look Ahead…
So now we look ahead to the season finale matchup at home with the Pitt Panthers. If you bet on Miami over 8.5 wins, that bet was over the moment they lost to Middle Tennessee State University. If you picked Miami to win the Coastal, then that 8 turnover spanking we took from the Blue Devils made you look foolish weeks ago. However, the Canes still have a shot at finishing 6-6 and going to a mediocre postseason Aluminum Wrap or Spicy Shrimp Top Ramen bowl game in mid to late December.
Let’s be honest, Pittsburgh is a far better team than Miami, and the Hurricanes have no business potentially winning this game even though we have a more talented roster. Nevertheless, the same was true last season and the Canes did pull it off in the cold of late October last year. Granted, that iteration of the Canes’ offense would run laps around this year’s offense. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but there’s a chance. You might have a better shot at squeezing through the eye of a needle, but there’s a chance. You might have a better chance of getting your wife pregnant after you’ve had a vasectomy and she’s had her tubes tied, but there’s a chance. Especially if Tyler Van Dyke plays, although I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening either. So we shall see how this game plays out and if we get a bonus bowl game or if Pitt puts us out of our misery, we finish 5-7, and get back to what we seem to do best at the moment: win the offseason and talk recruiting.

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