Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke returns as starter vs. Virginia

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Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke returned Saturday as starter for the University of Miami when the Hurricanes kicked off against the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium.

Van Dyke, a 6-4, 230-pound fourth-year junior who was the 2021 ACC Rookie of the Year, missed UM’s last game Oct. 21 against Clemson after being hit hard and injuring his right leg, ribs and back Oct. 14 at North Carolina. He was replaced last week by true freshman Emory Williams, who led Miami to a double-overtime victory against the Tigers in his first collegiate start.

Van Dyke struggled in the first half, going just 6 of 10 for 55 yards, with an interception on a badly underthrown pass. He was 1 of 3 for 8 yards after the first quarter. Miami finished the first half with 3 points on a 47-yard field goal by Andy Borregales.

As of Friday, Van Dyke was ninth of 110 FBS quarterbacks ranked nationally in passing efficiency (171.8), 14th of 130 quarterbacks in passing yards per game (286.8), 16th in passing touchdowns (16) and 25th in passing yards per completion (13.3).

Van Dyke has struggled with injuries since last year. He spent the last half of the 2022 season with a third-degree AC joint sprain of his throwing (right) shoulder. He also began this season with three torn ligaments on a finger on his throwing hand. This season he is 129 of 183 (70.5 percent) for 1,721 yards and 16 touchdowns, with six interceptions.

Van Dyke returned to practice this past week wearing a brace over his right knee, and UM coach Mario Cristobal told reporters on Monday that he was “good to go” for Virginia. Sources told the Herald that the Canes were hopeful he’d start for Saturday, but that he was not completely healed. Williams also got first-team practice snaps this week.

Williams, who last year was a senior at Milton High School near the Florida Panhandle, against Clemson was 24 of 33 (73 percent) for 151 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. He was 14 of 17 for 120 yards in the second half.

Running back news

Almost 14 months into his college career, TreVonte’ Citizen finally got a chance to suit up for the Hurricanes for the first time Saturday.The running back, who was one of the first prized recruits Cristobal signed after the coach arrived at Miami before the 2022 season, missed all of ‘22 with a major knee injury he sustained last preseason and had not yet played this year.

Citizen was the No. 8 running back in the Class of 2022, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Mark Fletcher Jr. also dressed for the Hurricanes on Saturday for the first time since September and got multiple carries in the first half. Fletcher was one of several impressive freshmen early in the season, rushing for 76 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, but he got hurt in Miami’s upset of then-No. 23 Texas A&M a week later. Fletcher returned to play against Temple at the end of September, but then missed the first three games in October.

With Citizen and Fletcher active, the Hurricanes’ running backs are finally close to full strength. After not playing the previous week against Clemson, running back Henry Parrish Jr. played multiple snaps in the first half. Tailback Donald Chaney Jr., who got nicked up at the end of game against the Tigers, was back Saturday but hadn’t seen the field as of halftime Saturday.

Defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor missed his sixth straight game, leaving star freshman Rueben Bain Jr. to once again start at defensive end.

Defensive alignment

After shutting down Clemson with 3-3-5 defensive alignment last week, — Miami switched back to its usual 4-2-5 look Saturday.

Bain started again at defensive end in place of Mesidor, with Jahfari Harvey opposite him, and fellow defensive linemen Leonard Taylor III and Jared Harrison-Hunte in the interior. Linebackers Wesley Bissainthe and Francisco Mauigoa lined up behind them, with defensive backs Te’Cory Couch, Daryl Porter Jr., Kamren Kinchens, James Williams and Jaden Davis rounding out the starting lineup.

On offense, Van Dyke returned to the starting lineup following his one-week absence, next to running back Ajay Allen and with four wide receivers -- Brashard Smith, Jacolby George, Colbie Young and Xavier Restrepo -- flanking them. The offensive line was the usual for Miami, with Jalen Rivers, Javion Cohen, Matt Lee, Anez Cooper and Francis Mauigoa lined up from left to right.