Saturday, November 5, 2022

Canes In Must Win Situation

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Going into the 2022 Season, I often wonder did anybody really know what to expect from the Miami Hurricanes?

The only things that I knew going into the season was the Canes lured Mario Cristobal from the Oregon Ducks to replace Manny Diaz.

They brought in Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator from the Michigan Wolverines, and there were high expectations for QB Tyler Van Dyke.

During this column, I’m not going to recap every single game especially when you think about the fact that this is Cristobal’s first year on the job.

All I can do is inform you on what I’ve seen on the guy and look at the realistic picture as I see it now.

There was no way that on heavens earth did I ever think this guy was going to lead the Canes to the National Championship his first year. 

For all of the Canes fans that thought this would happen, sorry to disappoint you, but you’re living in the past. 

Even when former Mark Richt coached this club from 2016-2018, the Hurricanes got the tired version of the man who had an abundance of success at the University of Georgia.

During his tenure in Coral Gables, Richt finished with a 26-13 mark and was 16-8 in ACC competition.

During the season, the Hurricanes suffered a severe blow when top wide receiver Xavier Restrepo suffered an injury that has cost him a lot of playing time.

The team has had to deal with an embarrassing loss to Middle Tennessee on September 24, losing 45-31. The worst part about this loss is Miami had a bye week and did some major soul searching about a contest it should have won. 

Game after game, the Canes would continue to fall behind early then be forced to play catch up. 

Following the loss to Middle Tennessee, the North Carolina Tar Heels came into Hard Rock Stadium, Miami came up on the short end of a 27-24 decision. 

By now, Miami was on a three game losing streak and found itself sitting at 2-3 and way off the National Championship Map.

That streak came to an end on the road as the Canes defeated Virginia Tech 20-14 to reach the .500 mark at 3-3.

The month of October will be known where Miami faced schools from Virginia and North Carolina.

On October 22, Duke came to town and took it to the Canes by hammering them 45-21. 

This was a game that saw Van Dyke get knocked out of the game due to a shoulder injury. He finished the contest 11-16 for 81 yards and a touchdown.

He was replaced by Jake Garcia, who was 13-21 for 198 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The major bright spot was wide receiver Colbie Young as he had six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

In this story are the comments from Cristobal and some of his players that described the mood of the team about what is turning out to be a roller coaster season. We encourage you to take a look at them. Meanwhile, Miami dropped to 3-4.

Where do you go when you need a win?

You guessed it, Virginia.

The best thing the Hurricanes had going for them is the Cavaliers (3-5) are struggling.

Van Dyke wouldn’t play in this game and Miami had to ride the leg of Andres Borregales, who kicked four field goal and Miami won this game 14-12 in overtime. 

The Hurricanes final two points occurred on a two-point conversion in overtime that gave them the win.

Garcia was 15-29 for 125 yards. Obviously he didn’t throw any touchdowns but also didn’t toss an interception.

Aside from Garcia, Henry Parrish Jr. was the team’s top offensive player as he rushed 24 times for 113 yards with a 4.7 average. He also had one reception for four yards.

The leading receiver was Young, who had five receptions for 46 yards.

But in the eyes of many, there is no doubt that the biggest game is upon us tonight at 7:30 PM in what will be a sellout crowd at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Florida State Seminoles are coming to town. In the past, I’ve covered these games and they’ve been classics. This stadium will be electric.

So with all the ups and downs the Hurricanes (4-4) have faced to this point, there are a couple of things at stake in this contest against the (5-3) Seminoles.

First, there will be state bragging rights.

Second and most important is the Hurricanes need this win in the worst way towards become Bowl Eligible.

The last thing the Canes need is not to even make it to a Bowl Game since they terminated Diaz, who is now the Defensive Coordinator for Penn State University.

They don’t need to be second guessed for the hiring of Cristobal especially during his first season at the helm.

But when you’re a school that has five national championships and has produced countless of NFL players, those are the expectations that come with the job.

Cristobal knew that when he came here. 

He’s had to deal with numerous injuries this season but then again, all teams have to with a sport as physical as football.

I’ll definitely be anxious to see what happens and this game will on ABC tonight at 7:30 PM, so the rest of the world we’ll know what we’ve been seeing thus far in 2022.

The one thing Miami can’t afford to do is fall behind early and play from behind.

If they do, then we could be looking at a repeat of Middle Tennessee, Duke and North Carolina.

For the Canes, if there is ever a Must Win Situation, this is it!

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southflioridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Subscribe to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel and you can see all of his streaming and remote broadcasts.

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