Tyler Van Dyke was easy to size up. And quick to overlook.
A four-star from Connecticut, Van Dyke was an afterthought in Miami’s quarterback room. D’Eriq King would be the starter in 2021, coming off knee surgery. And if not the Hurricanes had five-star Jake Garcia.
As the injuries mounted, King a shoulder and Garcia an ankle, Van Dyke became the best option. And in Miami’s last three games, all of them wins, Van Dyke has surpassed the 300-yard mark.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence,” FSU defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said. “Usually, success has to breed confidence. It looked like his confidence bred the success. He feels really confident in what they’re asking him to do. They keep it pretty clean for him with similar formations, they spread things across the field so they’re pretty clean for him. He’s got a real live arm.
“I think it’s no secret that he’s offered a big spark to that football program. He’s done a really good job.”
Miami was reeling just a month ago, coming off a missed field-goal attempt that could have beaten Miami at home and then a shootout loss to UNC. But the Hurricanes regrouped behind Van Dyke, who has tossed 10 touchdowns and an interception in wins over two ranked teams (NC State and Pitt) as well as Georgia Tech.
Now, it’s FSU-Miami week. The rivalry means something different for a player who didn’t grow up in the state but Van Dyke had an appreciation of the significance of FSU-Miami from a distance.
“It means a lot for the history of the program,” Van Dyke said. “It means a lot to the team right now. It’s FSU-Miami. We’re going to give it our all. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in college sports and we’re excited to play in it.”
After completing just 44.4 percent of his passes against UNC, Van Dyke has been quite accurate: 75.8 percent vs. NC State, 76.2 percent vs. Pitt and 64.7 percent vs. Georgia Tech. Van Dyke is very much a pocket passer, decisive and with playmakers surrounding him. He’s really not a threat to run, and the Seminoles know they must turn up the heat with the pass rush.
“I do believe we have to get him rattled early,” said FSU defensive tackle Keir Thomas, who has 3.5 sacks in the last two games. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He’s playing really good football. I think it’s important to get him off his spot early.”
In an odd stat, as mentioned by the AP’s Tim Reynolds, Miami is looking for its fifth straight victory in the series and Van Dyke will be the fifth different starter at quarterback. The Hurricanes have used Malik Rosier (2017), N’Kosi Perry (2018), Darren Williams (2019) and King (2020). And in FSU’s 2016 win over Miami, the Hurricanes started Brad Kaaya.
FSU will honor a group of 13 football players in their final game inside Doak on Saturday. Among those are linebacker Emmett Rice, defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas, quarterback McKenzie Milton, tight end Jordan Wilson, wide receiver Andrew Parchment, linebacker DeCalon Brooks, offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor, Brady Scott, Jalen Goss and Robert Elder.