UNC Football: Miami Hurricanes scouting report

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 7: Wide receiver Braxton Berrios
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 7: Wide receiver Braxton Berrios /

The Tar Heels host one of the best teams in the country this weekend as Miami comes to Chapel Hill

“The U” may finally be back.

Mark Richt has the Miami Hurricanes playing at a very high level as the No. 8 team in the country and 6-0 on the year.

They currently lead the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division and have a realistic shot at the College Football Playoff.

In Richt’s second year with the program, he’s turned it around in a hurry. Following a disappointing 2016 campaign, Richt has his team in striking distance of playing in the four-team playoff.

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This week could be a trap game if the Hurricanes aren’t careful.

Miami comes into Chapel Hill just a week before they host No. 13 Virginia Tech, a game that will have HUGE implications not only for the ACC but the College Football Playoff as well.

For UNC, a win would be the highlight to their season thus far as the have the chance to shake things up in the Coastal Division. More importantly, the team needs to show some hope for the future of the program with just four games left.

Here’s what to expect from Miami:

On offense….

The Hurricane’s offense is led by junior signal caller Malik Rosier.

Rosier has thrown for 1,715 yards, 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in 6 games this year, putting up a QB rating of 100+ in each of those games. While he can beat you through the air, he can also use his feet to keep plays alive.

The quarterback has 191 yards on the ground with 2 touchdowns.

He’s a nice compliment to a very good Hurricanes rushing attack. Travis Homer is the Hurricanes primary back and he’s averaging 7.3 yards per carry this year. Homer has 477 yards and 5 touchdowns in 6 games.

Fellow running back Mark Walton has 428 yards on the year with 3 touchdowns. Both backs have 50+ carries as the Hurricanes like to hit you with a one-two combo.

As far as the passing attack goes, the Tar Heels will have their hands full with receivers Braxton Berrios and Christopher Herndon IV.

Both receivers are over 20 receptions for the year. Berrios leads the Hurricanes with 5 touchdowns while Herndon IV leads with 28 receptions.

Miami has 5 receivers with at least 10 receptions on the season as Rosier likes to spread the ball around.

It could be another long day for UNC’s secondary.

On defense…

This is where UNC has a chance to win the game.

Miami’s run defense has struggled in 2017, just a year after having a nice season stopping the run in 2016. The Hurricanes enter the game giving up 183.2 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry this season, that’s good for 85th in the country against the run.

They’ve given up big games to both Georgia Tech and Syracuse the past two weeks. Now UNC has the chance to exploit Miami’s run defense and control the clock.

Overall Miami’s defense has been pretty good this season. The Hurricanes will bring in their “Turnover Chain” to Chapel Hill.

The team has a chain that they pass around to a player who forces a turnover.

Basically, you don’t want to see that chain being passed around on the Hurricanes sidelines.

The strength of Miami’s defense is their secondary and that could be a big problem for the Tar Heels in the game. UNC has struggled through the air this year with both Chazz Surratt and Brandon Harris.

Miami’s pass defense is ranked 27th in the country giving up just 188 yards per game this season.

Led by defensive back Michael Jackson, Miami’s secondary has been flying all over the field this year. If the Tar Heels can’t establish the run early and are forced to throw it more than they want to, it’s going to be another long day in Chapel Hill.

Difference maker..

In order to win this game, UNC is going to have to run the ball effectively. The one-two combo of Jordon Brown and Michael Carter have to be utilized early on.

As we stated, Miami isn’t very good defending the run which might be UNC’s only chance of winning this game.

I’d like to see Fedora come out and try to establish the run right away. If UNC can sustain some drives and control the clock, they have a shot.

Next: 3 impact ACC Coastal Games

They need to find the end zone on those drives however.