Miami football last three offensive drives versus Virginia encouraging for future

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Trailing 27-14 the offense for the Miami football team had its best production of the game against Virginia on the last three drives. Miami ran 30 plays for 240 yards on its last three drives. The Hurricanes wore down the Virginia defense. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has to figure out how to get Miami off to better starts.

Miami ran 34 plays for 141 yards on their first 11 drives of the game. The Hurricanes scored two touchdowns on their first 11 drives, but one of those drives was three plays for 18 yards after an interception. The play of quarterback Tyler Van Dyke in the second half nearly rallied Miami to a victory.

Van Dyke was 4-11 for 63 yards in the first half. The Hurricanes’ second-year freshman finished the game 15-29 for 203 yards and one TD pass. Van Dyke added a scintillating 25-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to cut the score to 30-28. The Miami offense needs to be more consistent beginning against North Carolina next Saturday.

Running back Cam’Ron Harris and wide receivers Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo were key playmakers for the Miami offense against Virginia. Harris had 14 carries for 111 yards and two TDs. That includes a big 57 yard TD run in the third quarter. Harley had six receptions for 45 yards and a TD, Rambo five for 99.

Miami needs Harley to produce how he did in the second half of the 2020 season. In the final six games of the 2020 season, Harley had 40 receptions for 625 yards and five TDs. Four of the six opponents Miami had during Harley’s productive stretch remain on the 2021 Miami football schedule.

Harley had eight receptions for 153 yards and two TDs against North Carolina State in 2020. The Hurricanes host the Wolfpack on October 23. Rambo is among the leaders nationally with 31 receptions for 386 yards and three TDs. If Miami is going to turn its season around, they need more consistency from Harris, Harley and Rambo.

Rambo has 255 combined receiving yards against Michigan State and Virginia. Harris has played well since Miami lost to Alabama in the second opener. Miami needs Harris to continue running well. Harris cannot have the midseason slump he had in 2020. Against Clemson, Pittsburgh and Virginia Harris had 28 carries for 35 yards.

The significance of the up tempo spread offense Lashlee runs is to tire out the defense. It worked against Virginia. Miami has to figure out a way to way to get off to good starts against North Carolina, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh. This is the toughest stretch the Miami football team will have in 2021.

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If the Hurricanes offense struggles early against the Tar Heels, Wolfpack and Panthers it will be more difficult to rally than it was against Virginia. The Miami season and potentially the job of head coach Manny Diaz and his staff could depend on it. Miami needs more offensive consitency in the last seven games.