How the UM Hurricanes fumbled a promising start en route to another mediocre season

The University of Miami Hurricanes had high hopes entering the 2023 season, and showed promise when the team started the season with a 4-0 record.

Led by junior quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and head coach Mario Cristobal, the Hurricanes averaged 43.75 points per game in those four wins. The national media took note and the Hurricanes were ranked 18th in the nation.

And then came week five. Leading in the final minute in Hard Rock Stadium against ACC rival Georgia Tech, Cristobal made a coaching blunder that would haunt the team the remainder of the year. 

Instead of having Van Dyke take a knee to run out the clock,  the Hurricanes decided to run the football. Running Back Don Chaney Jr. fumbled, Georgia Tech  recovered and then scored the game-winning touchdown. 

“I take full ownership in not taking a knee and giving them the opportunity to have a couple extra plays and preventing us from sealing the win,” Cristobal said. 

The next week, the Canes lost to the University of North Carolina 41-31. That dropped the Hurricanes to 0-2 in the conference and out of the top 25. 

In addition, Van Dyke injured his right hand,  his throwing hand. He sat out the next game against Clemson. 

Freshman quarterback Emory Williams started in a make it or break game – and helped lead the Canes to an overtime win, 28-20. 

The Hurricanes won their next outing, also in overtime, against the Virginia Cavaliers, 29-26.

Winning that game put Miami back in  the top 25. Hurricane fans had some hope. But the optimism didn’t last. 

The Hurricanes lost their next three games, dropping out of the national conversation. 

Van Dyke struggled, with10 turnovers in the final 4 games. 

The team salvaged a bowl invitation by beating Boston College 45-20 in the regular season finale, but Van Dyke, who started the season amid hype, was by then discussing leaving the team.

Van Dyke spoke about his late season struggles.

“I don’t want to be upset the rest of my life because football didn’t go my way. You learn that throughout the process of the last few weeks. Maybe that was the life lesson that God was trying to teach me.”

The team will face Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28 at Yankee Stadium, with Van Dyke and several others headed to the transfer portal. 

Pablo Hernandez was born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Florida. He has a huge love for sports and aspires to be a sports analyst on television in the future.