CLEMSON, SC — Clemson won its 40th straight home game and had at least 10 wins for its 12th straight season on Saturday.
But most Miami fans will probably remember the Tigers’ 40-10 win for doing something to the Hurricanes that no team has done since November 1965.
Clemson stopped Miami on under 100 yards on total offense – the latest embarrassment in a season of disappointments.
“It was a dominant win, but we still missed a lot,” said coach Dabo Swinney just after Kobe Pace’s 1-yard touchdown run 16 seconds left an exclamation point on Clemson’s fourth straight win by 25 points or more over the had set hurricanes.
“Defensively a great day. 98 yards in modern football is difficult to achieve.”
Dabo is not wrong.
Here are five Miami food stalls from Memorial Stadium.
1. Miami’s offense has been epically bad – and has been for most of the season.
Only two other FBS teams managed to yard under 100 in a game this season leading up to Saturday: New Mexico (88 yards vs. LSU) and New Mexico State (91 yards vs. Minnesota).
The Lobos and Aggies are ranked 118th and 127th respectively in the 247Sports Talent Composite. Miami is 13.
Mario Cristobal can certainly point to injuries to quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and four starting offensive linemen as reasons for the team’s offensive struggles this season.
But Clemson — for as many future NFL players as it could have in its first seven — limited just one of its 10 previous opponents this season to under 300 yards before Miami’s visit (and Notre Dame had 281 yards in a 35-14 -Victory). about the tigers).
Furman, a 9-2 FCS program, rushed for 376 yards against the Tigers.
Boston College (3-8) was 364 yards.
There’s no excuse for the Hurricanes to produce six first downs and complete only nine of their 18 pass attempts for 53 yards.
“They did a good job up front,” Cristobal said of Clemson, who held Miami for 30 yards with 24 carries — Miami’s lowest rushing total since Notre Dame grounded the canes at 18 yards in 2016.
“They have a really good front seven. We didn’t get much exercise. Quarterback runs came late in the game. The way they played it, they forced the surrender. We just didn’t get much. credit to her. We didn’t execute it as well as we could.”
Sure, Clemson deserves credit. But it’s tough to defend as Miami is averaging just 328 yards and 17 points per game against Power 5 opponents in the distributed offense era. Going nine quarters without a touchdown earlier this year was bad. Saturday’s performance was just as ugly. None of that makes offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, the 2021 Broyles Award winner, look good.
2. The Canes’ two big missed passes wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
Miami’s final stats might have been different had real freshman quarterback Jacurri Brown not brought down a wide-open Xavier Restrepo from scrimmage in the team’s second offensive game. Restrepo would have rolled in for a 73-yard touchdown and the Hurricanes would have answered Clemson’s first 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive with the longest offensive play of the season.
Miami also had a chance to cut Clemson’s 26-10 lead in the fourth quarter if Jake Garcia’s pass hadn’t rebounded off the face mask and hands of freshman tight end Jaleel Skinner at Clemson’s 20-yard line.
But let’s not twist it. Even if those two passing plays were complete, it wouldn’t have stopped Clemson from rolling past the Hurricanes. The Tigers had touchdowns on three of their first four drives and led 24-0 at halftime.
Clemson looked bored in the third quarter, turning it twice inside the Hurricanes ’25 before a third straight Tigers turnover deep in their own territory resulted in Miami’s lone touchdown.
“They have a really good football team,” Cristobal said. “They were where we were before. You built it. I get it. We’ll be there.”
3. The Miami administration is still very happy with the decision to hire Cristobal.
As bad as Cristobal’s first season has been, the Miami principals aren’t panicking. The growing pains were expected and Cristobal has shown the kind of leadership they wanted to see. They think he’s changing the culture.
A UM official brought up Cristobal’s reaction to FSU’s late touchdown in the 45-3 blowout loss a few weeks ago as refreshing (he said it was Miami’s job to prevent FSU from scoring). They also said his comments this week – regarding parents coming to pick up their children when they are unhappy with their son’s playing time – are the right approach to end the players’ claim.
“Obviously tonight didn’t go the way we thought it would,” tight end Will Mallory said. “The first half didn’t go well, but whatever the result, the lads kept fighting. That’s a credit to the culture Coach is building here. You have guys who just won’t give up.”
Miami has players left the field. Running back Thad Franklin and defensive back Gilbert Frierson announced last week that they were entering the transfer portal. But both are players who were told they would not be part of the team’s plans to move on. Further exits are expected in the coming weeks.
4. Van Dyke could return against Pittsburgh next week.
Cristobal has been adamant that Van Dyke has been working on his return this season, and there’s evidence that the ACC’s 2021 Rookie of the Year is targeting the regular-season finals as a potential return date since attending the Florida State game with left with a shoulder injury.
Van Dyke made the trip to Clemson — as he had done at Georgia Tech the previous week — and signaled from the Miami sidelines throughout the game. He’s hoping to step up his work at practice this week to try and help the Hurricanes qualify for a bowl game.
If he can’t play, it’s unclear who Cristobal will name as a starter. But Miami’s coach praised the efforts Brown made, saying he benched him in the fourth quarter to try to give Clemson a different look. Brown finished 6 of 13 for 53 yards and led Miami with 22 yards and 10 carries. Garcia was 3 of 5 for 15 yards, with a touchdown pass to tight end Kahlil Brantley and a lost fumble.
“We tried to use both because of what[Clemson]was doing,” Cristobal said. “The quarterback runs weren’t a big deal. I felt like Jake had a pretty good grasp of some of the things we wanted to do in the passing game. So we used it. Jacurri’s a young guy, man. He played his butt off. He tried his best. It was a lot.”
5. Kamren Kinchens continues to show us that he is the team MVP on defense.
Kinchens started the week at the top of the country with six interceptions. On Saturday, he led the team with 13 tackles, two pass breaks and a forced fumble.
Cornerback DJ Ivey had four tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Akheem Mesidor had two sacks and the forced fumble that led to Miami’s touchdown.
However, Clemson still rolled up 447 yards and picked up more than enough points early on to put the Hurricanes in a deep hole.
“Unfortunately, forcing sales wasn’t enough,” Kinchens said. “We have to do more. We have to give up fewer points.”
Miami may not have starting linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. available for the regular-season finals against Pittsburgh. He left with an injury after recording two tackles in the first half.
(Photo of Clemson’s Justin Mascoll, 7, rolling over Jacurri Brown for safety: Ken Ruinard/USA Today)