July 23, 2024

The Miami Hurricanes faced familiar issues of inconsistency and lack of discipline in their disappointing loss to Rutgers at the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. While the bowl game might not have carried the same prestige, it represented a crucial opportunity for Miami, especially under the leadership of Coach Mario Cristobal, who aims to instill a culture of significance in every game.

However, Miami’s performance in the initial quarter was far from what Cristobal seeks to establish. The breakdown of their loss to Rutgers on the Locked On Canes podcast revealed troubling aspects. Miami struggled with defensive lapses, evident in allowing Rutgers’ running back Kyle Monangai to evade 14 tackles, marking the most missed tackles by any running back in the ongoing bowl season. Moreover, a blocked punt due to a missed block led to a Rutgers touchdown, compounding Miami’s challenges.

Criticism was directed at the decision to retain wide receiver Jacolby George, despite his multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, calling for accountability regardless of the team’s depth. The game did witness spurts of resilience from Miami, marked by a 17-point unanswered streak in the second and third quarters, and a late rally involving a touchdown and an onside kick attempt, although they fell short of a complete comeback.

Yet, Miami faced difficulties establishing their usual dominance in the trenches due to key player absences from transfers and opt-outs, hindering their strategy against Greg Schiano’s Scarlet Knights. The absence of a backup plan was evident, highlighting the need for more creativity and assertiveness in offensive play-calling.

However, amidst the setbacks, there were noteworthy individual performances. Xavier Restrepo achieved over 1,000 receiving yards for the season, setting a record for Miami’s single-season receptions. Additionally, standout displays from freshmen Rueben Bain, Markeith Williams, and Isaiah Horton showcased promising talent.

Quarterback Jacurri Brown demonstrated resilience after an early interception and displayed improving accuracy. Nevertheless, the lessons from the Pinstripe Bowl emphasized Miami’s persistent struggles with mental readiness, holding a 1-12 record in their last 13 bowl games. The team’s depth issues, with 17 absent players, revealed a challenge that wasn’t overcome as expected. Looking ahead, securing an experienced quarterback through the transfer portal seems imperative for Miami’s progression from a seven-win season to greater success.

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