CORAL GABLES, FL – No. 13 Miami hasn’t done well in these types of games in recent years.
They are 0-7 against non-conference, beating five opponents since beating West Virginia in 2016 and 0-4 against SEC opponents since beating Florida in 2013.
Mario Cristobal was hired to change the direction of the Hurricanes program, and he will get his first opportunity to reverse recent trends when the 13th-ranked Hurricanes travel to College Station to face No. 24 Texas A&M on Saturday (9 p.m. ., ESPN) .
“Obviously a team that we have a lot of respect for — their coaching staff, their players and their program,” Cristobal said. “Many traditions. Great players, a really explosive football team and our guys are really excited about the opportunity ahead of us.”
Despite their aforementioned woes, the Hurricanes (2-0) surprisingly fared better against ranked teams away from home, going 4-5 in their last nine contests since 2015, which spanned three different head coaches.
Still, finding a way to win at Kyle Field, where more than 100,000 are expected to be in attendance, will prove to be a difficult task for the Hurricanes, who are six-point underdogs.
“Every time you go on the road, you’ve always heard that term ‘business trip’ and what that really means,” said Cristobal, who went 13-12 in games away from home at Oregon. “I guess the best way to put it is you work on toughness, discipline, resilience, execution and leadership in the winter, the fourth quarter program, spring, summer, fall camp and everything else and you have to make those things real, because that’s what you should pack in your bags before taking a trip to a place to play a great football team like Texas A&M. The mentality is like being on a business trip, understanding the task at hand and understanding what we need to do to give ourselves the best chance in every single game.”
Texas A&M (1-1) is 14-2 in its last 16 home games, but lost at home when it fell 17-14 to Appalachian State last week.
“I’m really excited to get to College Station, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity against a great team, great defense, a lot of players, high-profile, good players, so it’s going to be a challenge and we’re going to be up for it,” quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said.
Van Dyke is 2-2 as a starter away from home (6-1 at home), throwing for 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions in wins at Pittsburgh (ranked 17th) and Duke with losses at North Carolina and Florida State.
“It feels good to go into another team’s stadium and play and make the crowd go quiet,” Van Dijk said. “At the end of the day, all the work you put in in practice, you’re the ones who get excited after we score a touchdown in an away stadium.”
Miami has no players who have played at Kyle Field, but a defensive coordinator Kevin Steele been there four times. First as Baylor’s head coach in 1999. His teams are 2-2 in College Station, winning the last two, while he was Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2017 and 2019.
“It gets so loud in the sideline with headphones that you can’t hear in the headphones,” Steele said. “I’ve been in the box there when it was so loud you couldn’t hear it in the headphones.”
So how do you deal with the noise?
“The best way you can, you’re yelling a lot into the headset,” Steele said.
While no Hurricanes have played at Kyle Field, three have faced the Aggies, with all three coming away with runaway victories Henry Parish helping mississippi win in 2021, wide receiver Frank Ladson helping Clemson win in 2019 and cornerback Tyreek Stevenson helping Georgia win in 2019. Antonio MoultrieUAB’s team lost in 2018, but he did not appear in the game.
“They were really fast and aggressive,” Parrish said of his meeting with the Aggies. “You just have to attack them in certain areas. You just have to make it.”