Nov 26, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jake Garcia (13) attempts a pass against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami QB Jake Garcia reportedly enters transfer portal

Miami quarterback Jake Garcia plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

Garcia has already made coaches aware of his decision to enter the portal ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, per the reports. That deadline only counts for entry into the portal, though, allowing Garcia to take his time in deciding where he will be headed.

In his second season with the Hurricanes, Garcia appeared in eight games, throwing for 803 yards and five touchdowns against four interceptions. He completed 59.6 percent of his passes as Miami went 5-7 with a 3-5 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Garcia started just once this past season, leading the Hurricanes to a 14-12 victory over Virginia in four overtimes. He threw for 125 yards on 15-of-31 passing.

After attending five high schools in four years, Garcia committed to Southern California before changing course in December 2020 and deciding to go to Miami. He redshirted his freshman year, giving him three years of eligibility left with his next program.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  UAB Blazers interim head coach Bryant Vincent  talks to the side judge against the LSU Tigers during the second half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

UAB holds off Miami (Ohio) late to win Bahamas Bowl

The bowl season began in dramatic fashion Friday as the UAB defense stopped Miami (Ohio) short of the goal line as time expired to hang on for a 24-20 victory in the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau.

Aveon Smith connected with Jalen Walker on a 13-yard pass on the final play of the game, but Walker was tackled at the 2-yard line to touch off a celebration by the Blazers.

UAB (7-6) had taken the lead on the previous series after making a bold decision. With no timeouts, 1:35 left and facing a fourth-and-1 at the Miami 12-yard line, the Blazers opted against attempting a game-tying field goal.

The gamble worked out even better than UAB hoped for, as Jermaine Brown Jr. burst through the offensive line and scampered untouched for the 12-yard go-ahead touchdown.

Brown paced UAB’s offense on the day with 24 carries for 116 yards and two scores. Dylan Hopkins completed 16 of 24 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown and Trea Shropshire caught six passes for 183 yards and a TD.

The Blazers have won back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history after winning the Independence Bowl last season.

Smith completed 15 of 27 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns for Miami (6-7). He also rushed 22 times for a team-high 50 yards. Mac Hippenhammer and Kenny Tracy caught touchdown passes.

The game featured four lead changes and saw UAB jump out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Hopkins connected with Shropshire for a touchdown pass and Matt Quinn kicked a 42-yard field goal.

Miami battled back and took the lead in the third quarter on a 4-yard scoring rush from Kevin Davis. The two sides then exchanged touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

UAB won despite losing the turnover battle 0-3. The Blazers lost two fumbles and threw a pick. Miami’s offense simply wasn’t strong enough to take full advantage of those mistakes though. The RedHawks converted just 4 of 14 third downs and were outgained by 118 yards on offense by the Blazers.

It was the final game on UAB’s sidelines for interim coach Bryant Vincent. Former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer takes the reins of the Blazers as their new head coach this offseason.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Miami in LA eyeing early sunset for wobbled Chargers

While the Miami Dolphins are enjoying the week in Los Angeles, the Chargers are trying to avoid starting another year with plans that don’t include playoff football.

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins (8-4) know how Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) are feeling right about now heading into Sunday night’s game.

Miami was 6-7 entering Week 14 one year ago; Tagovailoa was being pounded by critics doubting his NFL readiness and durability and the Dolphins’ fanbase was eager for the arrival of his replacement.

That was one coaching change and a few landmark trades ago.

“He’s a baller. He’s a great player. He can do a lot of great things,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday of Herbert. “I feel very blessed, I’m just happy to be where I’m at. … For me, I’m just very fortunate and very blessed to be here.”

Herbert has been fighting to keep his nose above the waves as the Chargers bail water. Stringing together consecutive wins is the only way L.A. finds the postseason after missing out in heartbreaking fashion last season.

The fifth and sixth picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa went one pick before Herbert and during their rookie season won the only pro matchup between the QBs.

Tagovailoa, the leader in Pro Bowl voting and passer rating (112.0) with a month left in the regular season, pilots Miami into Los Angeles just one game behind AFC East-leading Buffalo. The Dolphins have the fourth-ranked offense in the NFL (380.2 yards per game) and No. 2 passing offense (290.5 yards per game).

Tagovailoa is squarely on the MVP radar, overtaking Herbert, a player many thought could be in this position in 2022.

Big plays and dynamic playmakers are setting the Dolphins apart. Tagovailoa has six TD passes of 25-plus yards and averages 9.0 yards per attempt. In San Francisco last week, the Dolphins lost to snap a five-game winning streak. Tagovailoa suffered a minor ankle injury and threw his first interception (two, in fact) since Sept. 29. The ankle is fine, but the Dolphins are determined to prove the 49ers’ fortune won’t be a blueprint to slow head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense.

“Everything that went wrong wasn’t a direct result of the quarterback,” McDaniel said, noting the eight called running plays is Miami’s low-water mark for designed rush attempts.

There’s a great chance McDaniels’ call sheet will highlight the running game at Los Angeles, and not just because left tackle Terron Armstead (knee) has been out and worked out on the side in the team’s practice at UCLA on Wednesday.

The Chargers allowed 154 rushing yards last week, the sixth consecutive game opponents have topped 150.

Looking for his first home win since the 19-16 rock fight with the Denver Broncos on Oct. 17, Herbert might have a case if he points to the supporting cast as the differentiator between these teams.

What Herbert wouldn’t do for a player with Tyreek Hill’s production at that position right now. Hill has six games with 125-plus receiving yards in 12 games with the Dolphins, who landed the former Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro via trade. The Chargers know Hill well. He had 12 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers last December.

The Chargers don’t have a wide receiver ranked in the top 30 statistically through 13 weeks and running back Austin Ekeler leads L.A. in receptions (85) and TD catches (five). Wideouts Mike Williams and Keenan Allen have shared the field for less than 50 snaps and the IR cache for the Chargers is a veritable Pro Bowl stock, including top free agent cornerback J.C. Jackson, defensive end Joey Bosa and left tackle Rashawn Slater.

The Chargers could be without three offensive linemen on Sunday. Center Corey Linsley (concussion) and rookie guard Zion Johnson (shoulder) were listed as limited participants Wednesday. Right tackle Trey Pipkins (knee) did not practice and missed Week 13.

“The games do mean more as you go,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “Every week they’re going to mean more and more because you’re getting closer to the end and there’s a lot at stake in terms of positioning, but you got to pour yourself into that week, and that’s where our focus is, on Miami.”

Allen has rounded into form of late. He caught six passes for 88 yards and has touchdown receptions in consecutive games. Williams, listed as limited Wednesday with an ankle injury, didn’t play last week and has one reception for 15 yards in the team’s past five games.

That has meant more — and more — Ekeler, who has 104 targets as a receiver, ranks fourth in the NFL in receptions and leads the team with 589 rushing yards.

Herbert has continued the fight. He posted his 19th career 300-yard passing game last week — matching Andrew Luck for the record in the first three years of a career — but the production was again delivered in a painful loss (27-20 to the Raiders). Herbert’s 23 losses since his rookie season in 2020 are the most for any quarterback other than Matt Ryan (28).

Another defeat Sunday night could stack the deck against the Chargers with the Titans (7-5) up next in Week 15. Tennessee is one of seven AFC teams to already record seven wins in 2022.

“We need to win the rest of these games,” Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer said. “For us, the playoffs really started last week.”

Miami has another primetime road game looming with massive postseason implications next Saturday night against the Bills.

“The bottom line is we have two opportunities to play in front of a national audience,” McDaniel said. “It’s something we’ve been building towards for the whole season in terms of how we play, but only one of which we can really do anything about in the immediate future.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Nov 12, 2022; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (5) warms up passing before the game with Louisville at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022.     Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Clemson wary of talented Miami

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney remarked Miami is one of those teams that just looks different getting off the bus. Now it’s up to the Tigers to be ready when the upset-minded Hurricanes show up Saturday with the No. 9-ranked Tigers in their sights.

“Make no mistake. They have some dudes. They can get off the bus with anybody,” Swinney said.

Clemson’s goal is to enhance the playoff chances that faded two weeks ago at Notre Dame. Miami (5-5, 3-3) wants to move into a more comfortable postseason position.

The Tigers are hoping to build on momentum from last week’s bounce-back win over Louisville when it entertains Miami in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup Saturday afternoon in Clemson, S.C.

The Tigers (9-1, 7-0 ACC) moved up a spot to No. 9 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. The Tigers have two games to sway selection committee members. They are at South Carolina on Nov. 26 to finish the regular season.

They also will need some breaks to fall their way to get one of the top four spots in the playoff field for the seventh time after starting November with a 35-14 loss to the Fighting Irish.

With the SEC loaded and two Big Ten teams in the top four, there is much to be sorted out in Swinney’s estimation. The Tigers can only pounce on an opportunity to move back up if they avoid another late-season loss.

The Top four teams in the CFP rankings – No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU – are the only undefeated teams, though the final number will be no more than three with Ohio State and Michigan meeting in the regular-season finale on Nov. 26. The Tigers also have to navigate their way past a couple of 9-1 teams in No. 5 Tennessee and No. 7 USC and two 8-2 teams in No. 6 LSU and No. 8 Alabama.

“You don’t ever want to lose,” Swinney said, “but it’s human nature when you lose one late people look at it differently.”

The Tigers handled Louisville 31-16 last week for their 39th consecutive home victory, the longest such streak in ACC history.

D.J. Uiagalelei was an efficient 19-of-27 passing for 185 yards and a touchdown while Phil Mafah rushed for 106 yards on just 10 carries and Will Shipley 97 on 19 rushes as the Tigers ran for 248 yards.

“We managed the failure well,” Swinney said of their response to the loss to the Irish. “Now we’ve got to manage the success well.”

The Hurricanes are coming off their most impressive performance this season, beating Georgia Tech 35-14 last week. True freshman Jacurri Brown rushed for 87 yards and threw for three touchdowns – one on his first drive to end Miami’s nine-quarter touchdown drought – in his first collegiate start.

“He brought great energy to the team,” Canes coach Mario Cristobal said. “You know, when you’re a true freshman and you get the nod like that, and the first drive is a successful, that brings some pretty good juice and energy.”

Brown will start, but Cristobal said Tyler Van Dyke (shoulder) is “right at the cusp” of being available this week. Cristobal also is hopeful of getting leading rusher Henry Parrish Jr. (583 yards) back from the undisclosed injury that sidelined him last week.,

Clemson also has injury issues. Swinney said that junior defensive back Malcolm Greene (two starts) will need surgery for a groin injury and miss the rest of the season. Safety Tyler Venables (hamstring) remains out, but surgery won’t be required.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier looks on against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Recruit Jaden Rashada flips from Miami to Florida

Four-star quarterback prospect Jaden Rashada called an audible over social media on Friday morning by agreeing to join Florida, four-plus months after committing to Miami.

Rashada is listed by 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 7-rated quarterback in the 2023 class. He initially selected the Hurricanes over the Gators as well as LSU, Mississippi and Texas A&M in June.

“After a lot of prayer, conversations with my family and those close to me, I have decided to change my commitment and play for the University of Florida,” Rashada wrote early Friday morning on Twitter.

“I have tremendous respect for Miami and what they are going to accomplish there, but I have watched this season and Coach (Billy) Napier and his team are building something very special in The Swamp and I want to be a part of it.”

Per Sports Illustrated, Rashada has thrown for 4,883 yards and 63 touchdowns and added 420 yards and five scores during his four-year high school career at Pittsburg (Calif.) High School.

The addition of Rashada gives Florida the No. 8 overall recruiting class for 2023, per the 247Sports rankings.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Zach Pyron (14) looks to throw during the second half against the Florida State Seminoles  at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

After lopsided loss, Miami to meet Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech, which is 3-2 since Geoff Collins was fired as coach, will host Miami on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Atlanta.

The Yellow Jackets (4-5, 3-3 ACC) are favored against the disappointing Hurricanes (4-5, 2-3), who are coming off a 45-3 home loss to Florida State.

While the Hurricanes no doubt are feeling embarrassed by the lopsided score against their rivals, the Yellow Jackets have some momentum.

Zach Pyron, the team’s true freshman quarterback, made his first career start last week and led the Jackets to a 28-27 win at Virginia Tech.

The Hokies led 27-16 in the fourth quarter, but Pyron engineered two late touchdown drives.

“(Pyron) has ice in his veins for a young kid, whether it’s making a throw or lowering his shoulder to get a first down,” said Jackets interim coach Brent Key, who replaced Collins in September.

Georgia Tech starting QB Jeff Sims, who is out with a foot injury, could be ready for the Miami game. But that doesn’t mean Key will use Sims, who has completed 58.5 percent of his passes this season. Sims hasn’t improved much as a passer in his three years with the Jackets, completing 57.5 percent in 25 games.

Pyron, who has completed 61.7 percent of his throws, has a better QB rating than Sims. Pyron has thrown for 451 yards, and his average yards per attempt is 7.5, which is superior to Sims’ figure of 5.9 this season.

Meanwhile, Miami has had problems at quarterback. Starter Tyler Van Dyke left the Florida State game in the second quarter after he appeared to injure his passing shoulder again, and backup Jake Garcia has averaged one interception per every 20.5 throws (compared with Van Dyke’s 61.3 number).

Third-string QB Jacurri Brown is strong as a runner but has struggled at times as a passer, bouncing or sailing throws.

In addition, Miami’s offensive line is without left tackle Zion Nelson, an NFL prospect who has yet to play this season because of injury, while left guard Jalen Rivers was injured Saturday.

“There’s no sugar-coating it,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Greedy Vance (21) runs with the football after intercepting a pass during the second quarter against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State gets jump on Miami, wins going away

Trey Benson ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns, and Jordan Travis passed for 202 yards and three scores as the Florida State Seminoles routed the host Miami Hurricanes 45-3 in their ACC matchup on Saturday night.

Travis, who rested most of the fourth quarter, completed 10-of-12 passes. Benson averaged 8.5 yards per rush, breaking numerous tackles. He also caught one pass for 25 yards.

Florida State (6-3, 4-3 ACC) became bowl eligible with its second straight win over Miami.

Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke returned after a right-shoulder injury. However, with 14:01 left in the second quarter, Van Dyke threw an incomplete pass and grabbed his right shoulder in pain.

He was pulled for good shortly after that, finishing with 24 yards passing on 4-for-8 completions.

Miami (4-5, 2-3) also used Jacurri Brown and Jake Garcia at quarterback, but the Hurricanes have gone two straight games without a touchdown.

Florida State opened the scoring on its first drive. After looking like a three-and-out possession, the Seminoles got a break when Miam was called for pass interference on a third-down incompletion. Travis then hit Ontaria Wilson for a 56-yard touchdown.

Miami, on its first drive, cut the deficit to 7-3 on Andres Borregales’ 49-yard field goal.

Florida State made it 14-3 on its next possession. Miami again had the Seminoles stopped on a third-down incompletion, but an interference call on Tyrique Stevenson led to Travis’ 2-yard touchdown toss to DJ Lundy.

In the second quarter, after a 29-yard punt by Miami’s Lou Hedley, Florida State needed to travel just 39 yards to make it 21-3 with 12:11 left in the second quarter. Benson dove for the touchdown to finish a 13-yard run.

The Seminoles got another short field later in the second when Greedy Vance intercepted a Garcia pass at the Miami 7-yard line. That set up Benson for a 1-yard scoring run.

The Seminoles took a 31-3 lead on the last play of the first half — a 41-yard field goal Ryan Fitzgerald.

After a scoreless third quarter, Florida State extended its lead to 38-3 on Travis’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Camren McDonald with 14:55 left in the fourth, and the game was all but over at that point.

–Field Level Media

Lakeland's Cormani McClain puts on the baseball cap after choosing Miami.

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5-star CB Cormani McClain commits to Miami

Top-ranked cornerback recruit Cormani McClain committed to Miami (Fla.) on Thursday, passing on Alabama and Florida.

The Lakeland (Fla.) High star made his announcement at a nationally televised ceremony.

In the 247Sports Composite that tracks numerous recruiting rankings, McClain is listed as the No. 2 player in the class, behind only Texas-bound quarterback Arch Manning of the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.

ESPN lists McClain as the fourth overall player in his class.

McClain said of his decision, according to 247Sports, “Miami … it’s just a cool atmosphere. I would say it feels like home. Obviously, Miami is a great school and I can say that they got a dog coming.”

The consensus five-star recruit added, “I just wanted to get this over with. It ain’t no surprise. I just wanted to get it over with. Straight business. I found the school that I want to go to for the next three to four years.”

McClain credited Hurricanes cornerbacks coach Demarcus Van Dyke for swaying him toward Miami.

“He’s a young coach that knows what’s going on and that’s a great thing for me,” McClain said of Van Dyke, according to 247Sports. “He produces a lot of great athletes and I think that I can be one of them.”

ESPN reported that McClain is highest-ranked player to select Miami since it began rating high school recruits in 2009.

–Field Level Media

Oct 20, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong (5) throws a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Miami faces Virginia in matchup of sub-.500 teams

Miami likely will be without starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke because of a shoulder injury when the Hurricanes visit Virginia on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Charlottesville, Va.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (3-4, 1-3) hope they get a stronger outing from starting QB Brennan Armstrong than they did last week in a 16-9 victory over Georgia Tech.

Armstrong completed 20 of 35 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two interceptions.

Virginia leads the nation with 19 turnovers and is averaging only 17.6 points per game.

First-year Virginia coach Tony Elliott remains upbeat, however.

“I think the offense is coming together. … The chemistry is a little bit better, the guys are understanding where Brennan [Armstrong] wants them to be,” Elliott said. “Brennan is getting a better understanding when or where to launch point is, what the timing is, and so you’re just starting to see some of those things click.”

Miami (3-4, 1-2) is among the worst teams in the nation in turnover margin (tied for 110th) at -0.71, with 17 giveaways overall. But the Hurricanes’ biggest question surrounds redshirt freshman Jake Garcia, who is expected to start after Van Dyke suffered his injury in last week’s 45-21 loss to Duke.

Garcia completed 13 of 21 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, but he also lost two fumbles. He has appeared in three games this season and is 32 of 49 for 470 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

“I am very confident in Jake,” Hurricanes offensive coordinator Josh Gattis told reporters on Monday. “… He’s been in other games and had success. He led us in success in that game in a short period of time, and so we’ll clean up the mistakes.”

A pleasant surprise for the slumping Hurricanes has been the emergence of sophomore Colbie Young, who earned ACC Receiver of the Week honors after his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game. Young caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns against Duke.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils running back Terry Moore (23) runs with the ball while North Carolina Tar Heels defensive lineman Jahvaree Ritzie (5) tries to tackle him during the first half at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

With newfound energy, Duke takes on Miami

After already eclipsing its win total from last season, Duke is clearly showing improvement.

But the Blue Devils are hungry for more, and they’ll look to continue boosting their stock on Saturday when they visit Miami for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.

Duke (4-3, 1-2 ACC) finished last season with just three wins against nine losses. Former Texas A&M defensive coordinator and first-year head coach Mike Elko has already lit a fire under the Blue Devils, and it was apparent in their game against North Carolina last Saturday.

Duke nearly knocked off UNC, but the Tar Heels scored the go-ahead touchdown with 16 seconds left, winning the game 38-35. Despite the loss, the Blue Devils still showed a lot of fight.

“Couldn’t be more proud with the way we battled,” Elko said. “We knew we were going to have to. We knew it was going to be that kind of game where we were just going to have to keep trying to make plays to keep up with them.”

Miami’s situation is different considering it entered the season as Coastal Division favorites and with top-10 expectations in the national polls.

A three-game losing streak shattered the latter, and a home loss to North Carolina two weeks ago put a huge dent in Miami’s plan to take the Coastal.

However, Miami snapped their losing skid last week with a 20-14 road win over Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes led 20-0 before the Hokies finally scored in the fourth quarter.

Miami coach Mario Cristobal raved about how his team has overcome injuries to several starters, including running back Henry Parrish Jr., wide receivers Key’Shawn Smith, Michael Redding III and Xavier Restrepo, and linebacker Waynmon Steed Jr.

In addition, star tight end Will Mallory left the Virginia Tech game due to a possible concussion.

“To be on the road and still find a way to win, those guys in there deserve all the credit,” Cristobal said of his players. “They deserve all the credit. They deserve the praise for it.”

The Canes will rely heavily on quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who struggled earlier this season. He is now on a roll, though, averaging 419 passing yards over his past two contests.

Van Dyke’s top target is currently Colbie Young, who had nine catches for 110 yards and one touchdown against the Hokies. Running back Jaylan Knighton could also be a factor on Saturday.

Duke sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard is having a breakout season. He is completing 66.0 percent of his passes and thrown for nine touchdowns against four interceptions. He has also rushed for a team-high 420 yards and five TDs.

–Field Level Media