MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Hurricanes are going to have more than two weeks to lament their heartbreaking 30-28 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday night.
They go into next week’s bye at 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the ACC following kicker Andres Borregales’ missed 33-yard field goal off the left upright as time expired. The Cavaliers (3-2) came into the matchup 0-2 in the conference, but they seized a 27-14 lead in the second half and held on for their first win in Miami since 2011.
The Hurricanes were 5½ point favorites, with a 71% chance of beating the Cavs, according to ESPN’s computer-generated College Football Power index.
With time winding down in Thursday’s game, Miami coach Manny Diaz played for a winning field-goal attempt instead of a touchdown, opting to put the team’s fate into the hands of the true freshman Borregales, who was 6-for-8 on field goals this season, including 2-for-3 from 30 to 39 yards out.
Miami missed the game-winning FG in the final seconds. pic.twitter.com/8vtiEoyzfS
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 1, 2021
Here are five things that stood out in Saturday’s defeat to Virginia:
Tyler Van Dyke struggled early under the bright lights
Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was impressive in his debut (10-for-11, 270 yards, three touchdowns) against Central Connecticut State, but had a hard time with all eyes on him Thursday.
Fellow freshman Jake Garcia, who alternated possessions with Van Dyke last week, was not available because of an undisclosed injury and senior starter D’Eriq King missed his second game because of a bad shoulder. With Peyton Matocha serving as his backup, Van Dyke started 1-for-6 for 5 yards before completing a 16-yard pass to Charleston Rambo in the second quarter.
The two later hooked up for a 36-yard completion on the ‘Canes’ lone scoring drive of the first half. It was easily Van Dyke’s best throw of the game.
Van Dyke finished the first half 4-for-11 for 63 yards.
He was much better in the second half, throwing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Mike Harley Jr. in the third quarter, scrambling for a 24-yard score in the fourth, and then converting a third-and-14 with a 16-yard completion to Rambo.
The ‘Canes offense looked atrocious early against a bad defense
The Cavaliers surrendered 96 points and 1,172 yards combined in their past two games – losses to ACC foes North Carolina and Wake Forest — entering Thursday.
Yet after the first quarter, the Hurricanes had just 10 yards of offense. They had a total of 33 yards before a five-play, 54-yard drive capped by running back Cam’Ron Harris’ leap into the end zone from 1 yard out.
Harris struggled to find much room to run behind the Hurricanes’ offensive line, which was without center Corey Gaynor, as did speedster Jaylan Knighton, who made his season debut after sitting out the first four games because of a suspension for violating team rules. Rambo’s two catches for 52 yards accounted for a huge chunk of the team’s 91 yards of offense in the first half.
The Hurricanes’ second-best weapon? Punter Lou Hedley, who averaged 49 yards on five punts, including a season-long 62-yarder.
'Canes have issues on defense even when healthy
Miami played without striker Amari Carter, cornerback Al Blades Jr., and defensive tackles Jared Harrison-Hunte and Jordan Miller. But the Hurricanes defense didn’t surrender huge statistics to Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who started the night No. 1 nationally in passing yards per game (426) and second nationally in passing yards (1,705), including a school-record 554 yards against UNC.
Thursday, Armstrong was 25-for-44 for 268 yards, one touchdown and an interception snagged by Miami middle linebacker Corey Flagg.
Armstrong appeared to throw his second pick in the third quarter. Instead, it wound up as a 36-yard touchdown to Dontayvion Wicks after Marcus Clarke let the ball go through his hands, it landed on Wick’s back and then popped up into his hands.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 1, 2021
Besides that misfortune, the ‘Canes defense suffered again from poor tackling and mistakes such as safety James Williams taking a bad angle on Mike Hollins’ 25-yard touchdown run late in the first half.
Cam'Ron Harris came up big in the second half
Harris finished with 14 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns, including a 57-yard scoring run that cut the ‘Canes deficit to 27-21 with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
Then with the ‘Canes driving late in the game for a go-ahead field goal, Harris ripped off a 22-yard run on third-and-6 from the Cavaliers’ 36. It was a second consecutive impressive effort by Harris, who rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns and had an 83-yard catch and run against Central Connecticut State.
The junior came into the game as Miami’s leading rusher with 272 yards and three touchdowns on 51 carries.
Howard Schnellenberger’s induction harkened back glory days
The late Howard Schnellenberger, who guided the Hurricanes to the first of their five national titles, became the first coach ever inducted into the Hurricanes’ Ring of Honor.
Schnellenberger’s family attended the ceremony held on the field at halftime. The occasion gave ‘Canes fans a reason to cheer after their team went into the locker room trailing by nine points.
Still, that didn’t stop them from booing Hurricanes athletic director Blake James when James was introduced during the tribute to Schnellenberger. In addition to the induction ceremony, ‘Canes players wore a patch featuring an image of Schnellenberger smoking a pipe on the shoulder of their jerseys.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami loses to Virginia thanks to missed field goal in final seconds