UNC Football Opponent Preview: Miami Hurricanes


Keeping It Heel will preview all 12 opponents the North Carolina Tar Heels will face in the upcoming football season. Today, we continue with a preview of the Miami Hurricanes.

Preview of NC A&T

Preview of Illinois

Preview of Delaware

Preview of Georgia Tech

Preview of Wake Forest

Preview of Virginia

Preview of Pittsburgh

Preview of Duke

Preview of Virginia Tech

Preview of N.C. State


The Miami Hurricanes storm into Chapel Hill on November 14th this season. This ACC opponent beat the Tar Heels last season and finished 6-6 in the regular season before falling to South Carolina in the Independence Bowl. Miami ended 2014 with four straight losses but they are surely nothing to sneeze at. The Tar Heels must pay attention to leave with a home victory.

Key to Victory #1: Reigning ACC Rookie of the Year, Miami QB Brad Kaaya, is very dangerous.

Let’s read some stats: 26 Touchdowns, 3198 yards, 221 of 378 completions. These are numbers from Kaaya’s sophomore season. What does this mean? It means things just got tougher for the Tar Heels.

Add another offseason of sprints, weightlifting and reps throwing with receivers often adds to the natural maturation process. Underclassman to upperclassman is an important part to any player on the field. This is even more true with a position as heady as quarterback.

Luckily for the Tar Heels, Kaaya will no longer have the option to throw to his top 2014 receiver. Miami will miss the 10 touchdowns and 36 receptions of Phillip Dorsett, who is now a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

Even better though is the fact that the Hurricanes’ second top receiver, TE Clive Walford, is also in the NFL. He brought 7 touchdowns and 44 receptions to the table.

This will help the Tar Heels, but Kaaya will still be tough to stop.

Key #2: Watch RBs Joseph Yearby and Gus Edwards

Against the Tar Heels, Miami handed the ball off to freshman Joseph Yearby 22 times. Yearby scooted for 104 on the ground and snagged a catch for another 26 on Chapel Hill.

Sophomore Gus Edwards ended his 2014 campaign in a not-too-shabby way himself. The 6’2″ 230 pound tank recorded six touchdowns on only 61 handoffs. Stat-wise, six TDs isn’t crazy. Ratio-wise though, finding the end zone every tenth handoff is fairly scary for the opposition.

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Luckily for Carolina though, the Hurricanes’ number one tailback from 2014 is no longer a threat. Duke Johnson Jr. was picked up by the Cleveland Browns in the NFL draft. He’ll be taking his 10 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards with him.

UNC cannot make the mistake of overlooking either Yearby or Edwards in the backfield. Both underclassman will be gunning for the number one RB spot and have on-field experience to boot. Chapel Hill significantly struggled stopping both the pass and the run last season. It’s imperative to keep eyes on these two running backs to defend home field November 14th.

The biggest lesson UNC must learn, though? Miami might be rebuilding this year in key positions, but all their recent NFL Draft picks show how talented this team is from top to bottom. Chapel Hill must stay focused in order to win this tough Coastal Division matchup.