Miami begins its ACC conference schedule on a Thursday night in a primetime showdown against Coastal Division rival Virginia and it will do so without its star quarterback and one of the two primary backups at the position.
D’Eriq King missed last week’s game against Central Connecticut State with a shoulder injury while Tyler Van Dyke started in his place and freshman Jake Garcia played significant minutes in the second half of the 69-0 win. King was officially questionable for this week’s ACC opener as he continues to work his way back to full health from the injury suffered during the second half of the team’s loss to Michigan State on Sept. 18. During warm-ups on Thursday night the school announced that Van Dyke will once again be the team’s starter.
Making matters even more dire for the Hurricanes as they look to rebound from a 2-2 start to the season is the fact that Garcia, who threw for two touchdowns last week, is also out with an injury. So behind Van Dyke will be Peyton Matocha, a former three star prospect from Houston who has seen action in one game and mostly served as a member of the practice squad during his two years with the program.
The good news for Miami is that Van Dyke had a crisp and efficient performance in his first career start, completing 10-of-11 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns, with the one incompletion being a dropped pass. But while success against Central Connecticut State can build some level of confidence, it’s an entirely different challenge facing the Virginia defense, even if that group has been picked apart in consecutive games by the North Carolina and Wake Forest passing attack.
This injury news adds a new wrinkle to a division series that has been very competitive over the last several years, with Miami claiming wins in six of the last seven meetings but each of the last three being by one score.