Opponent Preview – Week 8 – Miami Hurricanes

Clemson limped into their bye week both literally and figuratively.  Cornerback Nate Wiggins and dynamic play-maker Antonio Williams have both been nursing injuries and have been noticeably absent in recent games.  They are expected back this weekend as the Tigers travel down to south Florida in a huge game with Miami.

The Wake Forest game was not very clean and way closer than Clemson fans wanted, but a win is a win in a year that is seemingly tough to get them.  

The Tigers travel down to Miami Gardens, Florida this weekend to face a Miami team that is coming off of consecutive losses after starting the year 4-0.  

Here is a look at everything you will need to know about the Tiger’s Week 8 Opponent:

Miami Hurricanes

Location: Coral Gables, Florida
Time: 8 PM on ESPN
2023 Record – 4-2; 0-2 ACC 
Last Game: Loss vs. North Carolina 41-31

  • 4 Wins against: Miami (OH); Texas A&M; Bethune-Cookman; Temple
  • 2 Losses against: Georgia Tech; North Carolina
  • Hasn’t won an ACC game under Mario Cristoba
  • Miami has beat Clemson at home since 1956

Head Coach: Mario Cristobal – 2nd Season – 71-69 Overall Record as HC

Coach Cristobal is in his second season as the head coach of the Hurricanes.  He returns to his Alma Mater after a head coaching stint at the University of Oregon and Florida International University before that, with a stop at Alabama in numerous roles.  Cristobal is known to be an exceptional recruiter but apparently does not have the “victory formation” in his playbook.  He brings a dynamic team into Saturday night’s game. 


Offensive Coordinator: Shannon Dawson – 1st year as OC;  (Previous: OC Houston)

Coach Dawson is in his first season at Miami after a successful stint in the same position for the Houston Cougars.  Dawson brings a high-flying passing offense and now has dynamic quarterback Tyler Van Dyke at his disposal.  As good as the offense is through the air, Dawson interchanges 4 different running backs as well and all of which have seen the end zone this season.    

Miami is averaging 37.7 points per game (13th nationally) with 191 yards per game rushing (27th nationally) and 310.8 through the air (14th nationally) for an average of 501.8 yards of offense through 6 games, good enough for 7th nationally.

Here is a look at the projected starters for the Miami Hurricanes as well as their 2023 statistics:

QuarterbackTyler Van DykeRS Junior#914 att., 68 yds, TD129-183 1721 yds; 16 TDs; 6 Ints.
Running BackDonald Chaney Jr. RS Sophomore#272 att. 462 yds, 4 TDs
Running BackHenry Parrish Jr.Junior#2156 att. 314 yds, 2 TDs
Running BackAjay AllenSophomore#2831 att. 163 yds, 2 TDs
Running BackMark Fletcher Jr.Freshman#2224 att, 136 yds, TD
Wide ReceiverColbie YoungJunior#429 catches, 462 yds, 5 TDs
Wide ReceiverXavier RestrepoJunior#747 catches, 574 yds, 4 TDs
Wide ReceiverJacolby GeorgeJunior#323 catches, 318 yds, 3 TDs
Tight EndCam McCormickRS Senior#842 catches, 28 yds
Left TackleJalen RiversRS Sophomore$64
Left GuardJavion CohenJunior#70
CenterMatt LeeRS Junior#55
Right GuardAnez CooperSophomore#73
Right TackleFrancis MauigoaFreshman#61


Defensive Coordinator: Lance Guidry – 1st Year – (Previous: Marshall DC)

Coach Guidry enters his first season in Coral Gables.  He is the architect of a hybrid defensive style, normally employing a 4-2-5 defense to combat three wide receiver sets by the opposing offenses.  He tends to stand up his defensive ends that act like linebackers.  A step-up in talent from his previous stop at Marshall.   

The Miami defense has given up an average of 19 points through their first six games (25th nationally).  They have given up 87.7 yards per game on the ground (9th nationally) and 220.7 yards through the air (60th nationally).  Opponents are averaging a total of 308.4 yards per game (18th nationally).

The Hurricanes are -3 in turnover margin through six games (100th nationally), having thrown 6 interceptions and also picking off 6 balls, as well as having caused 3 fumbles and have lost 6 fumbles in the six games so far.  

Here is a look at the projected starters for the Hurricanes on defense along with some stats from the season:

Defensive EndAkheem MesidorJunior#35 tackles, TFL, sack
Defensive TackleBranson DeenRS Senior#586 tackes, 2.5 TFLs, 0.5 sacks
Defensive TackleLeonard Taylor IIIJunior#566 tackles, TFL, sack
Defensive EndNyjalik KellySophomore#98 tackles, TFL
LinebackerFrancisco MauigoaJunior#5128 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, sack, Int.
LinebackerCorey Flagg Jr.Junior#1118 tackles, 2 TFLs
LinebackerKJ CloydJunior#2320 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, sack
CornerbackJaden DavisSenior#2220 tackles, 2 TFLs
SafetyKamren KinchensJunior#526 tackles, 2 TFLs, sack, Int., FR
STARTe’Cory CouchSenior#021 tackles, 3 Ints.
SafetyJames WilliamsJunior#2026 tackles, 0.5 TFLs
CornerbackDaryl Porter Jr.Junior#214 tackles

Special Teams 

Here is a list of the specialists for the Hurricanes along with statistics from the season so far:

KickerAndres BorregalesJunior#3010-11; long of 50
PunterDylan JoyceFreshman#9214 punts, 42.4 avg. long of 51
Punt ReturnerXavier RestrepoJunior#75 att. 22 yds. Long of 21.
Kick ReturnerBrashard Smith***Junior#010 att. 34.6 avg. 
***Nation’s leader in Kick Off Returns


Miami comes into this game on the two game losing streak; one of those games was self-inflicted and the other was at the hands of a very good North Carolina team.  The Hurricanes had high hopes coming into the season and all seem to have gone by the wayside all because of the lack of taking a knee.  

Clemson comes off of the bye week after a disappointing effort in a win against Wake Forest.  There are murmurs that Coach Cristobal may be losing the locker room, which, if Clemson continues its recent dominance over Miami, could become more than just murmurs.  

It’ll be interesting to see just how Miami comes out of the gates in this game.  If Clemson can clean up some things and come out swinging, this Miami team may run away and hide.  Here’s to hoping that’s the case. 

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