UNC Football: Tar Heels turnover the game to Miami

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Trajan Bandy
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Trajan Bandy /

North Carolina and Miami faced off in Chapel Hill and the end result was yet another loss for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina’s game against Miami was highlighted by quarterback changes, defensive stops, and multiple chances to win. The Tar Heels found a way to lose, though, in what turned out to be a roller coaster ride for everyone involved.


The biggest move on offense came after a late hit on Chazz Surratt. That hit knocked Surratt out of the game and brought in backup quarterback Nathan Elliott. Elliott took over and never relinquished the spot, even after Surratt returned to the sideline.

Elliott looks as if he should’ve been UNC’s starter much sooner than the ninth game of the season. Overall, he made good decisions, completing 16-of-39 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 21 times for 79 yards and caught a pass.

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However, he did throw three interceptions in the second half, putting the defense in tough spots.

Anthony Ratliff-Williams also had a big game. The wide receiver caught two passes for 25 yards. He was also 2-for-3 passing for 51 yards and a touchdown. Ratliff-Williams also had a kickoff return for 43 yards that set up the teams’ first touchdown.

Speaking of touchdowns, Beau Corrales finished with two of them. The freshman, who had two receptions for 19 yards going into this game, finished with four receptions for 64 yards and the both of the Tar Heels’ touchdowns.

Finally, the Tar Heels also got a big game from Jordon Brown. Brown did most of the running back work with Michael Carter out with an injury. He finished with 88 yards on 19 carries, but also fumbled the ball with the Tar Heels driving in Miami territory at the end of the game.

The offense hurt itself as much as anything with four turnovers in the second half, two coming while trailing by less than a score. None of those bigger than Brown’s fumble that ended the offense’s day.


CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Jalen Dalton
CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Jalen Dalton /

The defense, as I feel they have all season, did their best. If not for the defense, UNC is not in position to win late in the game. They forced two turnovers, and should’ve had a third, and gave UNC’s offense the ball with less than two minutes, down by five.

Sure they gave up some big plays, including two touchdowns of 51 and 78, but otherwise they held a pretty good Miami offense in check. Miami finished with just 59 rushing yards on 32 carries.

Again not perfect but the defense did its job.

Special Teams

Special teams was pretty good. Freeman Jones was 2-for-2 on field goals, including one from 44 yards out. That was Jones’ first field goal over 40 yards this season.

The Tar Heels also got a good game from Hunter Lent, who punted the ball five times for 240 yards, including two inside the 20. He did have a punt blocked, but the defense held the Canes to just three points.


There were a couple of questionable coaching calls in this game.

The play on the teams’ second drive on fourth down from the one-yard-line was the first. Surratt was under center, dropped back and got sacked. It wasn’t a bad decision to go for it, but the play call made no sense.

There was also a decision to fake a field goal that failed. Again, not a bad call considering Jones’ inability to kick long field goals.

BLACKSBURG, VA – OCTOBER 21: Head coach Larry Fedora of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts with linebacker Cole Holcomb
BLACKSBURG, VA – OCTOBER 21: Head coach Larry Fedora of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts with linebacker Cole Holcomb /

Third, trailing by five with three minutes left, Fedora tried an onside kick. Miami easily recovered it. Though the defense forced a fumble that gave the offense a chance, this was a questionable call because the Heels still had all three timeouts and the defense was playing well.

Fedora probably should’ve kicked it off, but it’s a tough call to make.

However, the biggest call was probably that Elliott has been the third string quarterback. Elliott had a big game, but if not for a Brandon Harris injury, Elliott would not have played at all this game.

And I would be remiss not to mention two straight calls by the referees that essentially changed the outcome of the game. With North Carolina trailing by four, Ratliff-Williams got a double reverse and overthrew to an open Elliott.

Elliott was then nailed in what was a pretty clear late hit by the defense. The refs called nothing. It led to a UNC punt.

On the very next drive, North Carolina picked off a pass from Malik Rosier and returned it to inside the Miami 40. A pass interference penalty was called on a defender who did not make the interception.

The ball was underthrown and uncatchable for the receiver. Replays also showed that the ball was tipped. Additionally, the defender turned toward the ball and went down with the receiver. After the reversal and just three plays later, Miami scores a touchdown to go up by 11.

I am not one to blame refs for a loss, but those two calls happened within six plays of each other, and clearly had a huge impact on the outcome of the game.

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North Carolina will finally get some time to rest up and heal as they go on bye this week.