Miami Hurricanes and UNC QBs different approaches to 2020 blowout

Sep 7, 2019; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2019; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /
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Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and North Carolina signal-caller Sam Howell have taken different approaches to the Tar Heels’ 62-26 victory last season. North Carolina amassed 778 yards of total offense and ran for 554 at Hard Rock Stadium earning the rout over Miami in 2020.

Howell and Van Dyke both spoke about last year’s game during practice this week. Howell was 15-20 for 224 yards and two touchdowns in the Tar Heels’ victory over the Hurricanes last season. Van Dyke played in relief of Miami Hurricanes starter D’Eriq King going 0-2 and having one carry for a loss of seven yards.

North Carolina lost most of its skill position players from 2020. Van Dyke will be starting for the first time in his collegiate career on the road after starting the last two games at home. Van Dyke has completed 61 percent of his pass attempts this season for 473 yards, no TDs and one interception.

Van Dyke started his first career game against FCS opponent Central Connecticut State. Miami lost Van Dyke’s second start against Virginia two weeks ago. Miami travels to Chapel Hill with five straight losses against Power Five opponents. Miami has not covered the spread in its last six games against FBS teams.

"“We actually, before we came out, just watched the end of the game…the announcers talking crap about us, or whatever…We’re going to have that in the back of our minds. We’re going to get revenge on them for sure…We’ve got to.”"

Van Dyke clearly still has the blowout loss to North Carolina on his mind. Are the Tar Heels still in the heads of the Miami Hurricanes We will never know for sure, but it appears that the Hurricanes are trying to use last year’s game as motivation. The coaching staff showing the video of last year’s game would indicate that.

Howell took an entirely different approach to the game than Van Dyke. The Tar Heels lost their top two running backs and wide receivers from 2020. After being ranked 10th to begin the season, North Carolina has plummeted out of the rankings with a 3-3 start. The Tar Heels lost 35-25 to Florida State last week.

"“We haven’t even talked about last year’s game…It’s a new team that we’re playing against, it’s a new Miami team, and it’s a new team here for us. So we’re just taking it one game at a time. We’re not worried about what happened last year, that’s behind us.We know to go out there and have success, we’ve got to put the preparation in this week and execute on Saturday. We’re not worried about last year at all.”"

Howell is correct in stating that Miami and North Carolina have new teams. Howell is the only premier skill position player the Tar Heels return from last season. The Miami Hurricanes are without QB D’Eriq King who is out for the season after shoulder surgery and tight end Brevin Jordan who turned pro after last year.

Miami lost second-team running back Don Chaney Jr. for the season with a torn ACL. Jaylan Knighton returned for Miami at RB in the last game against Virginia after a four-game suspension. Miami returned nine of its 11 starters on defense from 2020. Howell won’t have to contend with defensive ends, Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche.

Phillips was a first-round pick of the Dolphins and Roche a sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers who is now with the New York Giants. Phillips and Roche have both moved to linebacker in the NFL. The Miami pass rush has dropped from 32nd and 2.73 sacks per game in 2020 to 61st and 2.2 in 2021.

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Miami has to come out focused on the road Saturday. For the second time in a row, the Hurricanes will be starting a redshirt freshman QB at Keenan Stadium. Miami lost 28-25 in Chapel Hill in 2019. At the very least, Miami needs to be competitive against North Carolina on Saturday to put the 2020 outcome behind them.