Miami Hurricanes collapse bench Tyler Van Dyke in stunning loss to Middle Tennessee

Miami Hurricanes collapse bench Tyler Van Dyke in stunning loss to Middle Tennessee

The University of Miami’s only bye week of the 2022 football season will not be uplifting for the No. 25 and soon to be unranked Hurricanes.

In UM’s final non-conference game of the season, the 25 ½-point favorite Hurricanes were upset 45-31 by Middle Tennessee State for their second straight loss and a 2-2 record as they head to eight consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games.

“Obviously bad job on my part, bad job by the organization,” UM coach Mario Cristobal said. “They coached better than us. They played better than us. They were better. We haven’t done a good enough job. There are no excuses.

“Real men look in the mirror and do something about it and don’t let any cracks happen from within. We have a lot of work to do.”

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke had the worst game of his career, completing 16 of 32 passes for 138 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on his first two passes — one of which came back for a touchdown. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Jake Garcia at 7:55 of the third quarter with UM trailing 31-10.

Garcia went 10 of 19 for 161 yards and no touchdowns, but led the Canes on two touchdowns, both ending with 1-yard runs by Thaddius Franklin. Key’Shawn Smith also returned a 91-yard kickoff for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, one play after a 98-yard touchdown catch pushed Middle Tennessee’s lead to 38-17.

The 98-yard touchdown came on the Blue Raiders’ first practice play after UM failed on fourth-and-2.

Heading into Saturday, the Blue Raiders (3-1) were 112th of 131 FBS teams in total offense. Their defense, No. 9 nationally in the red zone, stopped UM twice inside the 10-yard line – once at the 2-yard line and once at the 6. Another time, Van Dyke came out just outside the red zone at the 21-yard line before throwing three incomplete passes and settling for a field goal.

Cristobal was asked what was wrong with Van Dyke.

“Regime change,” he said. “It’s different”, adding that “obviously”, with the record departures of Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley from last year, “more than 65% of his receiving production is gone. And then this injury to Xavier [Restrepo] makes us develop guys who work hard to improve.

“We need to do a better job of setting him up for success and doing things offensively that allow us to have a more successful and productive passing game.”

Cristobal turned 52 on Saturday, not exactly a happy birthday.

The last non-Power 5 program to defeat the Hurricanes was the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, also in Conference USA, to culminate the 2019 season under Manny Diaz at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. UM finished 6-7 that year.

Next weekend will be the only weekend the Hurricanes won’t play, as there are no weekday games this season to give them other weekends off. After that, it’s their first ACC game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Hard Rock at a time yet to be announced.

It was as ugly a game for the Hurricanes and their advertised crowd of 46,713 booed fans (cheering when Garcia walked in) as anyone could have imagined.

Bad offensively, bad defensively.

The first seven minutes of the game yielded four turnovers — the first three by Miami, including interceptions on UM quarterback Van Dyke’s first two passes.

“About as bad a first quarter as you could get,” Cristobal said.

After Middle Tennessee’s opening possession ended with a punt, UM took over on their 11-yard line. On the first down, Decorian Patterson of the Blue Raiders dived past Will Mallory for the steal. Four plays later, Zeke Rankin threw a 28-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead at Middle Tennessee.

It got worse 42 seconds later.

Van Dyke’s second pass, second-and-10 in the UM 20, was caught at the 15-yard line by defensive end Zaylin Wood, who sprinted into the end zone for a 10-0 Blues lead Raiders with 10:04 to go. in the opening quarter.

Miami took over and Van Dyke’s third pass was caught by teammate Frank Ladson for 11 yards. But alas, on the very next game, Jaylan Knighton lunged from two yards – then fumbled.

The Blue Raiders have recovered.

Finally, a UM hero emerged, as safety Kamren Kinchens intercepted Chase Cunningham on the next play. The Hurricanes took over at their own 32 and drove to the 21-yard line, thanks in part to a 6-yard run on Middle Tennessee’s fourth-and-1 43. UM went all the way to the line from 21 yards, before three incomplete Van Dyke passes sent Andy Borregales out for a 39-yard field goal.

Middle Tennessee 10, UM 3.

But the Blue Devils barrage was far from over. On their drive that followed. Cunningham hit DJ England-Chisolm with a 71-yard completion which he caught at his own 39. Tyrique Stevenson, who was sidelined and wearing shorts in the second half with an apparent injury, dove at his ankles of England-Chisolm but couldn’t quite bring him down as he ran into the end zone to make it 17-3 with 4:21 left in the first quarter.

Miami took over at their own 33, drove to the Middle Tennessee 6-yard line, then, in the fourth and fourth, Van Dyke’s pass to Mallory grazed his hands on the goal line. The Blue Raiders took over and, naturally, scored on a quarterback guard to make it 24-3 early in the second quarter.

The Canes ended the scoring on Van Dyke’s first and only touchdown, a 6-yard pass to Henry Parrish, with 1:20 left in the half to leave it at 24-10 when the teams rushed in their locker rooms.

Middle Tennessee went 31-10 on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Cunningham to Elijah Metcalf at 8:01 of the third quarter, beating freshman cornerback Jaden Harris on the play.

Kinchens was asked about the post-game vibe in the Miami locker room.

“What do you expect it to be?” he said. “Everyone is down. We should never have lost.”

This story was originally published September 24, 2022 7:31 p.m.

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Miami Herald sportswriter Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes’ football editor since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She’s won several national APSE writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to college football playoffs, major marathons to the Olympics.

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