They may not know it yet, but the Miami Hurricanes who participated in the 48-33 shellacking of Texas A&M have possibly changed the trajectory of the Canes football program. The Canes dominated a star-studded Texas A&M team with as much blue-chip talent as any team in the country, in a game with major implications for the future of the program. Why was this win so important for Miami?
To begin with, Miami’s 2024 class ranked #16 in the nation is good, but as of this moment, is not as formidable as their 2023 class. The Canes were landing a slew of blue-chip studs in the July-August timeframe last year. After a 5-7 season, most blue- chip targets have shown interest in Miami but have taken a “wait and see “approach. Miami had to prove that their sales pitch was not just talk. Head coach Mario Cristobal has been preaching that this is not an easy process. His teams take a major leap in the second year when the culture starts setting in, he pointed to his track record in turning around FIU and turning Oregon into a powerhouse with multiple PAC-12 titles and a Rose Bowl win in just four years. But the story in Miami for the past 20 years has been a lot of talk with zero substance.
Mario Cristobal understood the importance of this game and what winning this game meant. It is why he invited 60 + blue-chip recruits from the 2024-26 classes to witness the game. What would have happened if Miami had laid an egg? What would have happened if the team had folded after two déjà vu special team mistakes spotted the Aggies a 17-7 lead?
Instead, something amazing happened, Miami never folded. The Canes calmly attacked the Aggies with an impressive vertical attack that led to Tyler Van Dyke throwing for 374 yards, five touchdowns and completing over 70% of his passes. It led to a breakout game for Jacolby George who hauled in three touchdowns and dominated the Aggies defensive backs making them look slow in the process.
It was in the third quarter, with the Canes up 21-20, that it happened. Brashard Smith returned a 98-yard punt that blew the roof off of Hard Rock stadium as the fans went into a frenzy and you could visibly see that the Aggies had been beaten, the game was over and the Canes were in control. Not since Notre Dame 2017 have the Hurricanes had such an iconic and electric moment. The big difference between 2017 and Saturday? The Canes have invested $80 million on a top tier, program building head coach. They have the top budget in the ACC and have invested in a $300 million football facility. They have invested in strength and conditioning, have one of the top NIL platforms in the country and have rebuilt the line of scrimmage through recruiting and the portal. Additionally, with Alonzo Highsmith, they have one of the premier scouting departments in the country.
On Saturday, the Canes looked like a team with a roster full of five stars. They looked big, physical, fast, strong and more prepared than the Aggies.
The only thing missing from Mario’s Miami resume was that he did not have a signature win. The trepidation recruits felt about joining a team that had not had a big win is now gone. Miami is for real, they are improving and taking steps towards elite status. The fence sitters can now come home. Cristobal is not just talk, he is walking the walk and his proven formula is real. “Everybody wants to see progress. It has been so long. For nine months it is all about what are you going to do? What is it going to look like? Everywhere we have been, we have had a blueprint that has been successful. We came to Miami because we know when Miami is done the right way, it is the best one of them all. We are taking steps in the right direction. We are progressing. We are nowhere near arrived or where we want to be. Today was a big step in the direction we want to go.”
Mario’s signature win now opens the door for his own players to believe. Believe they can compete with the big boys of college football; believe they can win. It is a turning point in the mentality of a program who has grown accustomed to playing soft and being mentally frail. It is a message to future recruits that the “Old Miami” is back and that the “New Miami,” the one that has descended to the lowest of lows is dead. This win feels different, because for the first time in 20 years, the Canes are different, the culture has changed, the building blocks have been set, get ready, the Canes are coming.
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