Hurricane Van Dawson

From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, this game had it all and yet the game just does not seem as important anymore. I want to start off by giving all of my well wishes and prayers to Kam Kinchens and his family. Seeing a member of the family go down like that shakes us to the core and we are all hoping and praying for his full recovery. As members of the Canes family and fanbase walked out of Hard Rock Stadium, instead of the jovial jubilance that would normally ensue after a win over a ranked opponent in our cathedral, it was calm and quietly reverent. Everyone was and is concerned about Kam as they should be.


Kamren Kinchens is absolutely the best of us and as a Miami Northwestern and University of Miami alumnus, I am proud that he is the face that represents both programs today. The good news is in Coach Cristobal’s post-game press conference coach said, “so far reports that we have on Kam, everything seems to be relatively normal. We’re going to head over there right after I get done with the press conference and see how he’s doing. But it seems like we’re going to be fine.” Amazing news! We will continue praying for Kam’s healing as his health is bigger than football.


Now to the game. The Miami Hurricanes came into Saturday afternoon’s game as 4-point underdogs and started playing the game as a nervous underdog would. It was a shaky start that had us all a bit worried about déjà vu from last season’s matchup with the Aggies. We had an early partially blocked punt that ended up basically being a redzone turnover and automatic touchdown for Jimbo, Wiegmann, and crew. Then we had a couple of three and outs and just when Guidry’s defense started clamping down and keeping Texas A&M from moving the ball and converting third downs, we muffed a punt to give Texas A&M another possession starting inside of our 10-yard line. That is tantamount to spotting a team 14 points and in college football where the talent gaps can be large and the margins quite small, one cannot afford to do that against a team as stacked with stars like the Aggies. Yet somehow, we overcame the special teams mistakes and penalties to take control and dominate the bulk of the plays in the game, even though Texas A&M ran 30 more plays than the Hurricanes.

Miami’s quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) throws the ball during an NCAA football game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 9 ,2023 in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)

The second quarter was the coming out party for Shannon Dawson and reemergence of Tyler Van Dimes. If anyone still has questions about bringing Dawson from Houston, now is the time to submit those inquiries to the question box of Stevie Wonder because you would have to be blind to not see the dramatic difference in quality of offensive schematics and play calling from last season to this young campaign. We’re not forcing runs up the middle on second and long against loaded boxes. The Canes offense is running tons of motions to diagnose what coverage the defense is in and then a secondary motion to set up the play once the defensive look is established. We are scoring tuddies in the red zone by getting the ball out quickly to our speedy playmakers in creative ways. Xavier Restrepo had a monster 6 catch 126-yard game and Colbie Young was only 6 yards shy of the century mark and had 3 touchdown receptions! Most importantly, Tyler Van Dominant is back and he’s making NFL throws all over the field again. Five touchdowns and no picks? TVD picked a great day to show out with all of the NFL scouts in the building today. I almost thought we had a Rhett Lashlee sighting on the sidelines today with some of the simpatico production we were getting from the QBC and QB1 in Saturday’s game.


Make no mistake. The Miami Hurricanes showed mental toughness and an ability to adapt to what the game called for in the moment. This was not a perfect game for Miami, yet they still won it decisively and could have won it in a blowout if not for a generous special teams unit early in the game. The running game was not able to get going in a consistent manner like in game one against the Redhawks.  However, 77 precious yards were gained by Ajay Allen and Henry Parrish when they needed to slow the game down and take the frenetic air out of the game in the 2nd half. The offensive line did a great job of protecting Tyler Van Dyke for most of the game even though Mauigoa, the true freshman, had some true freshman moments. Mauigoa was not the only one on the team drawing yellow laundry; ten penalties for 115 yards as a team is wild. The Canes offense was only 3/9 on third down while the Aggies offense was 8/18 on third downs. The Miami Hurricane defense gave up 433 yards including 336 in the passing game but also forced 3 turnovers.


It was not a perfect game, but the fact that these 2023 Canes still won this game decisively against a new and improved SEC West opponent filled with players from the best recruiting class of all time really makes me wonder about just how good this team can end up being when they clean up the messy aspects and fire on all cylinders. The fact that this team was able to win a game in a completely different way from last week is a sign of a good team. Last week we ran the ball and played smothering defense. This week we had to air it out and force timely turnovers. I look forward to watching this team develop and grow alongside all of you. Tonight we celebrate Canes family! Most of the national media was picking Texas A&M to dominate the game and have more fans in our stands than us. Instead, the stadium had lots and lots of orange in the lower bowl and a decent amount in the upper bowl. The fans were very loud all game long which certainly helped the squad turn the energy up as well. As Miami keeps this comeback train rolling and starts climbing the rankings I expect to see Hard Rock start rocking. Next up, Bethune Cookman. Go Canes!


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