Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has had a rough week.
It began last Saturday night, when Van Dyke and the Miami Hurricanes faced a stern test on the road, traveling to College Station to take on Texas A&M. Van Dyke and the Miami passing game sputtered in that contest, as the quarterback completed 21 of 41 passes for 217 yards, and was held out of the end zone as the Hurricanes managed just three field goals in the 17-9 loss.
In the build-up to that game, Van Dyke sat down with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer on Palmer’s podcast, “The Room.” Palmer, who now coaches quarterbacks privately and has signed on with the XFL as their Director of Quarterback Development, asked Van Dyke whether he preferred playing on the road, or at home. With the visit to College Station coming up, Van Dyke talked about going on the road and quieting fans, and then contrasted that with the atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium:
I like away games better. … We don’t really have much of a college atmosphere because we play at Hard Rock. So we’re about 25 minutes away from campus, so a lot of students don’t go up most of the game unless it’s a big game. That’s why I like going into away stadiums and seeing that college atmosphere and making the crowd quiet.
Van Dyke and the Hurricanes had a chance for a bounce-back game, at Hard Rock Stadium, this Saturday night against visiting Middle Tennessee State. Both teams entered with a 2-1 record, with Miami still ranked, sitting at #25 in the latest AP poll.
Miami will not be ranked in this week’s poll.
The visitors created a pair of big plays early, intercepting Van Dyke on his first and then his third passing attempt of the game, en route to their 45-31 upset of the Hurricanes. Van Dyke and the rest of Miami would be facing boos by halftime, and the quarterback was benched in the third quarter for backup Jake Garcia.
The first interception came as Van Dyke stared down a receiver in the left flat, leading the defenders to the ball. Decorian Patterson jumped the route, creating the early turnover and setting Middle Tennessee up with incredible field position:
The Blue Raiders were held to a field goal despite starting in the red zone, and claimed an early 3-0 lead. But they would build that lead on Van Dyke’s next passing attempt:
Defensive end Zaylin Wood deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage, before catching it himself and returning it 15 yards for the touchdown. The extra point gave the Blue Raiders a 10-0 lead, and they would not look back.
Wood would have a hand in Van Dyke’s final play of the night, as his sack of the Miami quarterback on a third down early in the third quarter would be the Hurricanes passers last snap of the night. Garcia took over as Van Dyke looked on with the Hurricanes trailing 31-10, and he would finish the game by completing 10 of 19 passes for 169 yards.
Miami also scored three touchdowns with Garcia under center.
After the game, there was a lot of soul-searching going on in the Miami locker room.
“They coached better than us, they played better than us,” said Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal after the loss. “They were better. We didn’t do a good enough job. There’s no excuse. Real men look in the mirror and do something about it and don’t allow any cracks to happen from the inside. We all came here for a purpose and a reason. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Miami lineman Jalen Rivers wondered about the team’s motivation heading into the game. “We looked at that team, ‘Oh, we’re going to win this game.’ So we came in obviously unmotivated … and we got punched in the mouth.”
Regarding Van Dyke, the rough week draws to a close with further questions … about his draft stock. On the promise of his play last season, where he took over as the team’s starting quarterback and earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors, Van Dyke was a feature in many “early mock drafts” this summer. As you can see from this graph, courtesy of NFL Mock Draft Database, Van Dyke was a fixture in the first round over the summer:
But as August gave way to September, Van Dyke’s stock took a big hit.
With this latest loss, that stock probably takes an even bigger hit, turning a bad week into perhaps something more.