Tyler Van Dyke has thrived versus elite defense ahead of facing Texas A&M

Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite losses in his first two games against FBS competition in 2021 Tyler Van Dyke was confident before Miami hosted North Carolina State. The Wolfpack had one of the best defenses in the country in 2021. Van Dyke completed 25 passes in 33 attempts for 325 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-30 Miami victory.

The 2021 performance by Van Dyke versus North Carolina State should provide Tyler Van Dyke and the Miami offense with confidence as they play at Texas A&M on Saturday. North Carolina State was 14th nationally allowing 19.2 points per game in 2021. The Wolfpack was 19th allowing 330.8 yards per game in 2021.

NC State finished 43rd in 2021 allowing 190.5 passing yards per game. Texas A&M is tied for 11th allowing 8.5 points per game, 20th giving up 256.5 yards per game and sixth with opponents averaging 112.5 passing yards per game. The difference is that Miami will face the elite Aggies’ defense on the road.

Calling out signals in front of over 100,000 fans at Kyle Field could be difficult for Van Dyke. Van Dyke rallied Miami a few times in the one-point win over North Carolina State last season. Miami has a vastly improved running game this season. Van Dyke wasn’t awed by the NC State defense before facing them last season.

"“Yeah, NC State has a great defense…That doesn’t matter. They’re still the same guys we played last year(2020) . We put up 44 points on them. We feel really confident.”"

The Hurricanes had 38 carries for 95 yards in the 2021 win over North Carolina State. Third-year sophomore Jaylan Knighton who is likely to receive carries behind Henry Parrish and Thad Franklin had 21 carries for 83 yards and six receptions for 83 and a TD against the Wolfpack last season.

Texas A&M could be susceptible on the ground. The Aggies are 84th nationally allowing 144 rushing yards per game. Miami ran 49 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-7 win over Southern Mississippi on Saturday. That includes six carries for a loss of 16 yards by Tyler Van Dyke that included four sacks.

Playing in a tough road environment, being able to run is important. Parrish has 37 carries for 217 yards rushing and four TDs and six receptions for 73 receiving this season. Franklin has 21 carries for 135 yards and three TDs and two receptions for 10 yards this season. Franklin and Parrish consistently gain positive yardage.

Prior to the season, Van Dyke spoke about the offense under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. Van Dyke likes that Gattis will incorporate more play-action passes than Miami used last season. The success of the Miami running game early in the season should set up the play-action pass versus Texas A&M.

Miami could have a conservative game plan if Texas A&M continues to be anemic offensively. The Aggies gained only 97 yards passing and 89 rushing in a 17-14 loss to Appalachian State last week. Seven of the 14 points came on a kickoff return by starting running back Devon Achane.

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Expect Texas A&M to have a far better performance offensively. Miami should be able to exceed the 315 yards Appalachian State had. In an interview with David M. Hale of ESPN, Miami’s leading receiver Xavier Restrepo said Van Dyke relishes playing against elite teams. Saturday could be a career-defining performance for Van Dyke.