Miami Hurricanes faithful, the new season college football season does not begin until the spring game.
It was an important one with the hope of sight of starting quarterback D’Eriq King. He left with a right knee injury with 4:06 remaining in the first half of the Hurricanes 37-34 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Cheez-It Bowl.
King, who transferred to Miami from Houston before the season, announced that he would be returning to Miami and for a sixth season of college football before the bowl game. He is expected to remain QB one while currently rehabbing.
The beat went on for the scrimmage.
Team Hurricane won over Team Ibis 27-19. All eyes were glued on Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia, competing for the backup spot behind starter D’Eriq King.
Van Dyke and Garcia were impressive though Van Dyke did not play in the second half of the scrimmage.
Van Dyke, a second-year freshman from Connecticut, started with the first-team offense and threw one touchdown, completing 12 of 17 throws for 102 yards.
“I feel like that was my best scrimmage of the spring,” Van Dyke said. “I liked where my eyes were; I knew where to go with the ball and how I handled protection issues.”
Garcia, a true freshman, completed 19 of 25 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. As an early enrollee, he looked exceptionally poised for someone so new to the college landscape. Garcia credits the fact that he moved around to so many different schools during his high school career.
It is a coin flip at the backup quarterback position. The Hurricanes did not show their hand on who the backup is; moreover, it is early to tell.
King will have talent at the wide receiver position when he returns.
Charleston Rambo, a redshirt senior transfer from Oklahoma, looked impressive and glitzy. Rambo finished with seven receptions for 74 yards and connecting with both Van Dyke and Garcia. Second-year freshman Xavier Restrepo, a slot receiver, had the touchdown of the day, a toe tap into the corner of the end zone for a touchdown thrown by Tyler Van Dyke. Restrepo caught four passes for 42 yards and the touchdown.
Veteran receivers Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins, who both dropped passes, finished the game on a sounder note, with a 50+ yard catch each.
Lastly, Keyshawn Smith, a second-year freshman, had three receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
The running game did not appear much, as expected. Cam’Ron Harris, who was barely involved, had four carries for nine yards. Running back, Jaylan Knighton had a 27-yard touchdown run and 43 yards on seven carries.
Defensively, the Hurricanes continue to show athleticism from the line through the backup secondary. The defense had four sacks in the scrimmage.
Starters in the secondary were missing in action (Bubba Bolden, Al Blades Jr, Brian Balom and Te’Cory Couch, and Marcus Clarke).
“Getting the adjustments checked, tackling, just because you can drive the car 120 mph doesn’t mean you can always have it 120 mph,” Hurricanes head coach Diaz said. “They are learning, but this spring has been great for them because of the number of guys we’ve had out in our secondary.”
Safety Avantae Williams and Georgia transfer cornerback Tyrique Stevenson each had two pass breakups, and Kamren Kinchens had six tackles and one interception. Defensive end Deandre Johnson, a transfer from Tennessee, recorded a sack and two and a half tackles for loss.
The Hurricanes will have time off before they return to begin preparing to open the season on Sept. 4 against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.