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What national writer thinks is one thing to make or break 2022 Miami football team

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Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami football team is ranked 25th in the way too early 247 sports 2022 rankings. There will be a lot of projections about the 2022 season with Mario Cristobal in his inaugural season with Miami. Cristobal still has to hire most of his staff six weeks after being introduced as the Hurricanes’ new head coach.

A lot of the optimism about the first season under Cristobal relates to the return of quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. Van Dyke was named the 2021 ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Over the last six games of the season, Van Dyke threw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in each game.

Van Dyke’s accomplishments in 2021 were impressive in only nine starts. When he was hired Cristobal said about Van Dyke “there is not a better QB in the country.” Van Dyke enters the 2022 season without his top two wide receivers, Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley. Harley and Rambo both set Miami records in 2021.

Rambo set the Miami single-season record for receptions and receiving yards. Harley set the single-game and career Miami reception record. Xavier Restrepo and Keyshawn Smith are Miami’s two leading returning WRs in 2022. Sam Marsdale of 247 Sports projects the one thing that can make or break Miami in 2022.

25. Miami Hurricanes: Tyler Van Dyke avoiding a regression

“Van Dyke burst onto the scene this season after barely playing in 2020. The Connecticut native and former four-star recruit in the 2020 class completed 62.3% of his passes for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions in 10 games.

Now, as the main guy and with defenses having plenty of tape on him, avoiding the regression we’ve seen from several quarterbacks in this situation is key.”

The offensive coordinator hire for Cristobal will be critical for the continued development of Van Dyke. Van Dyke thrived under former OC Rhett Lashlee. The Miami football team has a lot of talent at WR for Van Dyke to work with. All of the Miami WRs are stepping into bigger roles in 2022.

The three amigos 2021 signees Romello Brinson, Jacolby George and Breshard Smith plus recently signed Clemson transfer Frank Ladson and Restrepo and Keyshawn Smith provide Van Dyke with a deep WR corps. Michael Redding III and Daz Worsham also return for Miami at WR. New WR coach Bryan McClendon has a talented group.

Van Dyke will also have to adjust to how defenses scheme for him in 2022. The positive for Miami could be the new system they will play under their new offensive coordinator. Van Dyke should continue to develop and improve entering his second season as the starter. The Miami football team won five of last six games in 2021.

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Butler, Heat blast past Celtics in Game 1

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The Miami Heat ripped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals from the Boston Celtics in the third quarter.

Jimmy Butler scored 27 of his 41 points after the break, and Miami’s defense locked down Boston to flip an eight-point halftime deficit into a 17-point lead by the end of the third quarter in a 118-107 conquest.

The Celtics lost Al Horford to health and safety protocols in the hours before the series started and ruled Marcus Smart out with the right mid-foot sprain he suffered in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series. Whether they ran out of gas two days after their hard-fought battle with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks or succumbed to Miami’s relentlessness, the Celtics collapsed after halftime and never recovered.

The Heat, who were also without Kyle Lowry (hamstring), found scoring from Tyler Herro (18 points, eight rebounds), Gabe Vincent (17 points) and Max Strus (11 points). Their defense changed the course of a game that nearly got away from them, amassing 12 blocks and forcing 16 turnovers (turned into 19 points).

The Celtics also lost center Robert Williams III with six minutes remaining in the game. He experienced cramping in his left leg, which also required meniscus surgery in March and suffered a bone bruise against the Bucks. After missing the last four games of the conference semifinals, Williams returned to the starting lineup against the Heat and anchored a defense that slowed Miami early, staking Boston to an 18-9 start.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler registered the fifth 40-point playoff game of his career in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler registered the fifth 40-point playoff game of his career in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Herro, the Sixth Man of the Year, settled the Heat’s offense, totaling seven of his points and three of his assists in the first quarter to withstand Boston’s early onslaught and keep their deficit respectable, 28-25.

Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half, when the Celtics led by as many as 13 points and 62-54 at the break. But Miami never quit. Butler and Bam Adebayo totaled seven points on a 10-1 run to start the second half, giving the Heat their first lead since they inched ahead for 16 seconds in the first quarter.

Butler inspired a stifling defensive effort after Boston shot 59% from the field in the first half. Two straight steals led to four of his 11 points during Miami’s 22-2 start to the third quarter. The Celtics trailed, 76-64. When the third quarter was done, Boston had eight turnovers and just two field goals on 15 attempts.

The Heat’s lead reached 96-76 on three Herro free throws to start the fourth quarter. Boston was lost. Jaylen Brown could not find any seams in the defense, and the Celtics were relying on Payton Pritchard, Daniel Theis and Aaron Nesmith off the bench — three players on the fringes of their healthy rotation.

The Celtics scratched back within nine points with seven minutes remaining and 114-107 just inside of two minutes, but Butler and the Heat had an answer for every run. His block of Pritchard erased Boston’s final hope, and his last-minute layup gave him the fifth 40-point game of his playoff career and third this year.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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Cubs pitcher Brandon Hughes makes MLB history in remarkable debut

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Brandon Hughes makes MLB history in Cubs’ debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

His Major League debut occurred more suddenly than he would have liked on Tuesday night, but Chicago Cubs pitcher Brandon Hughes made the most of the occasion as he made big-league history at the Friendly Confines.

Hughes, called up to the Cubs on Tuesday before the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, was summoned into the game when relief pitcher Daniel Norris was forced to leave the contest because of soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

Needless to say, Hughes made quite the impression, as he struck out the final two batters of the inning and then struck out the side in the seventh inning.

In addition to being impressive, the feat was actually historic. According to STATS Inc. (as cited by Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune) , Hughes is the first pitcher in modern baseball history to record at least five outs and to have them all come via strikeout in his MLB debut.

Infielder Christopher Morel, who was called up along with Hughes on Tuesday, also made his big-league debut, and he joined the party by smacking a home run into the left field bleachers in the eighth inning. In doing so, he became the first Cubs player since Willson Contreras to hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat.

To put the icing on the proverbial cake, the Cubs blanked the Pirates for the second consecutive night, winning 7-0 at Wrigley Field.

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Judge homers twice as Yankees edge Orioles 5-4

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The new wall in left field at Camden Yards served its purpose, denying Aaron Judge a home run on his 399-foot drive in the first inning.

“I learned my lesson and decided to go to right field after that,” he said.

The ballpark couldn’t hold Judge’s next two hits, a pair of solo homers that helped the New York Yankees to a 5-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. Judge and reliever Michael King were the biggest stars of this victory, New York’s 20th in its last 23 games.

Judge came within a few feet of a three-homer game. His bid in the first hit high off the wall — which was moved back and made taller before this season. He settled for an RBI double, then went deep in the third and fifth to increase his major league-leading home run total to 14.

Judge added a single in the eighth for his third four-hit game and first since 2019.

Ramón Urías homered for the Orioles, who matched a season high with their fifth straight loss. Down 5-3, Baltimore managed a run against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth on a two-out double by Ryan McKenna. With men on second and third, Chapman retired Cedric Mullins on a foul pop for his ninth save in nine chances.

Jameson Taillon (4-1) allowed three runs in five-plus innings. King came on after a leadoff double in the sixth and retired all nine of his hitters with six strikeouts before giving way to Chapman.

After Urías tied the game at 1 with a homer in the second, Judge began hitting to parts of the ballpark that are unchanged this year. His home run to right-center made it 2-1 in the third. After a pair of Baltimore runs in the fourth, Judge tied it with a shot to center.

In the sixth, DJ LeMahieu came up with the bases loaded and one out against Dillon Tate (0-2) and put the Yankees ahead with a groundball. Baltimore then pitched to Judge with first base open, and he grounded out.

An error by Urías at shortstop with two out in the seventh gifted New York an unearned run that made it 5-3.

TIDBITS

Judge’s two homers went 410 and 422 feet, according to Statcast, after his double was just under 400. Judge’s reaction to the new dimensions at Camden Yards was about what you’d expect from a right-handed slugger.

“It’s a travesty man. I’m pretty upset,” Judge said. “It looks like a create-a-park now. I didn’t like it because I always like coming here and playing here. Hopefully maybe in a couple years they can put it back in.”

King induced 10 swings and misses, equaling the total by all of Baltimore’s pitchers combined.

“He’s been one of the best relievers in the league, especially considering the amount of innings we’ve been able to get from him,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Really impact innings.”

MOVES

Before the game, the Orioles designated LHP Logan Allen for assignment and optioned INF Rylan Bannon to Triple-A Norfolk. They selected the contract of LHP Nick Vespi and recalled RHP Logan Gillaspie from Norfolk.

Gillaspie pitched the final two innings, keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard in his big league debut.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: OF Austin Hays (hand) returned after missing four games. He misplayed Judge’s drive in the first, allowing it to bounce past him off the wall, but he made up for that by throwing Judge out at third when the slugger tried for a triple.

UP NEXT

The Yankees send Gerrit Cole (3-0) to the mound Wednesday night against Jordan Lyles (2-3) of the Orioles. Cole has a 1.42 ERA over his last four starts.

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Follow Noah Trister at http://www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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