The North Carolina Tar Heels traveled to Miami to face the Hurricanes riding a three game win streak and looking for the first road win in the Larry Fedora era. They started off hot scoring a touchdown on their first offensive possession of the game on a 71 yard drive capped off by who else? Giovani Bernard on a seven yard TD run.
Following the TD the Heels came up with a big interception as Shakeel Rashad came up with the ball of a tip by the intended receiver as Miami was threatening very close to field goal range. The Hurricanes returned the favor picking off a Bryn Renner pass on the one yard line. A bad pass that Renner tried to force into double coverage came back to haunt him and prevented the Heels from going up two scores.
Romar Morris saw some first half playing time for the first time this season and looked good. He would have scored the teams second touchdown if it weren’t for a holding penalty. After the penalty UNC was unable to get into the end zone and had to settle for a 33 yard FG attempt that hooked left due to some difficult winds and Casey Barth had a rare miss.
After three trips into Miami territory, the Heels only managed three points, visions of Louisville ran through my mind. After stopping Miami the Heels committed a costly penalty running into the punter and giving the Hurricanes a first down. After two consecutive penalties for 12 men on the field, Miami punched it in from about a 1/2 yard out for the TD, tying the game at seven each.
UNC responded by marching down the field and scoring on a 17 yard TD run by Bernard after he caught a big 4th down pass. Great drive by Carolina on a 10 play 78 yard drive that took less than three minutes to operate. Carolina got a two point conversion when the punter threw a swing pass to Eric Ebron who took it in for two putting Carolina up 15-7.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled and recovered by UNC, the runner was called down on a very close play was challenged by Fedora, the call was confirmed and Miami retained possession. Miami tried to go deep on third down and the pass was picked off by Tre Boston with 2:18 left giving UNC another scoring opportunity before the half.
The best way to describe the first half was sloppy for Carolina, lots of penalties and mental mistakes on both sides of the ball.
Score at the half: UNC 15 Miami 7
The second half started out ugly offensively for both teams. It wasn’t until Miami put together a nice drive capped by a Stephen Morris TD run at the 5:06 mark. The Hurricanes went for the two point conversion in an attempt to tie the game. They were called for a delay of game for snapping the ball to quickly and Miami then brought out the kicker for the PAT. UNC held onto a one point lead 15-14.
UNC finally gained some momentum on the next possession that was stalled by a drop on 3rd and 7 by Ebron. Fedora opted to go for the FG attempt from 48 yards out and Barth nailed it extending the lead to 18-14 over Miami with 1:51 left in the 3rd quarter. Miami’s rushing attempt starting to gain momentum by Duke Johnson in the second half. After a nice run by Johnson, a play action pass deep down field was picked off by Tre Boston again who had a nice return on the play. A late flag came in, pass interference was called on Gene Robinson giving Miami a huge break.
UNC held strong defensively and forced a Hurricane punt. Carolina didn’t send anyone back and they were pinned on their own one yard line. After Gio Bernard ran them down field the Heels decided to go for a 47 yard FG that hooked right. Stephen Morris hurt his leg on a third down play with just over eight minutes to play and left the game. Miami turned the ball over on downs with just over five minutes to play and all UNC had to do was either run out the clock or score again, something that proved difficult throughout the game.
After taking it into Miami territory the Hurricanes forced a 4th and 14 with just under two minutes to go forcing UNC to punt. Plenty of time remained for the Canes’ to make a run. UNC quickly forced a 4th and 3 and the Canes converted on a swing pass and picked up the first down getting out of bounds and staying alive. A big third down sack by Tommy Heffernan forced fourth down with 34 seconds remaining and the Heels stopped them short of the first down marker after a completed pass to hold on.
Giovani Bernard once again put on an absolute show and UNC remained undefeated with #26 in the lineup.
Final Score:UNC 18 Miami 14