Miami football produced big plays defeating Pittsburgh

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

For the second straight week, the Miami football team produced big plays to upset a ranked opponent. The Hurricanes used big plays to defeat North Carolina State last weekend and that continued on Saturday at Pittsburgh. Miami has produced explosive plays offensively and timely stops and turnovers defensively.

The Miami football team had nine pass plays of 15 or more yards and two runs that gained at least 10 yards. Miami intercepted Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett twice and had eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Hurricanes QB Tyler Van Dyke was 32-42 for 428 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Van Dyke completed passes to eight different receivers. Six of the eight Miami receivers had at least one big play reception. Wide receivers Mike Harley, Charleston Rambo and Xavier Restrepo each had two receptions of a minimum of 18 yards. Van Dyke has continued to push the ball downfield.

Running back Jaylan Knighton added a 40-yard TD run in the second quarter that extended the Miami lead to 21-7 and a 15-yard run. Knighton finished with 17 carries for 80 yards and two TDs. In the last three games, Knighton has 422 total yards and six TDs. Rambo has been equally explosive.

Quickly becoming one of the best WRs in the ACC, Rambo has 51 receptions for 649 yards and four TDs this season after transferring from Oklahoma. Three of the four TDs Miami scored in the first half are defined as big plays. Van Dyke connected with Elijah Arroyo on a 20-yard TD pass for the first Miami score against Pittsburgh.

On a double reverse flea flicker, Van Dyke and Mallory connected from 57 yards for the second TD on the day for Miami against Pittsburgh. The fourth Miami TD of the first half came after cornerback Tyrique Stevenson returned an interception 39 yards to the Pittsburgh 37 yardline. Knighton scored four plays later.

Sixth-year senior defensive end Zach McCloud had three tackles, 1.5 TFLs and set a career-high with 1.5 sacks. True freshman safety James Williams had nine tackles and a critical fourth-quarter interception that allowed Miami to take possession and run out the clock. Big and key plays were the difference for Miami in victory.

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Van Dyke is 17th with completions of 40 or more yards and top 10 for 50, 60, 70 and 80 or more. The Miami offense should continue to put pressure on opposing defenses in the last four games with the way offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has been calling games and the ability for Van Dyke to connect with receivers on big plays.