UNC Football: Quick Hitters – Tar Heels at Miami Hurricanes

Oct 8, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back DeAndre Boykins (16) celebrates his interception by doing a Miami ‘U’ sign against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back DeAndre Boykins (16) celebrates his interception by doing a Miami ‘U’ sign against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports /

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from UNC Football’s 27-24 road win over Miami on Saturday afternoon.


  • Not only was this a big road win for Carolina, but the Tar Heels are the lone remaining undefeated team in the ACC Coastal division.
  • It was DeAndre Boykins who had the game-sealing interception, but credit both Kaimon Rucker with tipping the ball at the line and Cedric Gray with keeping Miami receiver Jaleel Skinner inbounds on the prior play forcing Miami into the hurried frenzy that ultimately led to the pick.
  • It felt like this game would be another shootout and it just wasn’t, particularly in the second half as the teams scored just 13 combined points.
  • For the first time this season, UNC’s offense was held under 30, but the defense made just enough plays to secure a 27-24 victory over the Canes; the 4th in a row for Carolina over Miami.
  • Early in the second quarter, the Tar Heels stopped the Canes on four straight plays at or inside the UNC two to force a turnover on downs. My question: Was that goal line stand a season-changing moment for the defensive line?
  • Despite the fewer points scored, the Tar Heels scored in every quarter of this game and have now scored in 23 of the 24 quarters they’ve played this season.
  • Perhaps the most important drive of the game came immediately following Cedric Gray’s strip and Gio Biggers’ recovery. Just prior to the fumble Carolina led 24-17 and Miami converted a 4th & 1 on the outskirts of the red zone. Rather than Miami potentially tying the game, North Carolina took 8:21 off the clock and extended to a two-possession lead (27-17) courtesy of a field goal.
  • You have to appreciate that Corey Gaynor was a captain for the game. Whether or not the Tar Heels were trolling the Canes, this was a great move.
  • Miami nearly recovered an onside kick thanks to an extremely athletic save, but upon review the Miami player was clearly out of bounds prior to saving the ball.
  • I’ve been keeping my eyes on leadership roles on the team. Did you notice who was in the middle of the huddle pumping up the team just prior to kickoff? Kaimon Rucker. His role and importance to this team continues to grow.
  • There were several injury concerns sprinkled throughout the game. Ray Vohasek and RaRa Dilworth missed the game. Caleb Hood was in and out a couple of times, Cedric Gray and Gio Biggers had a collision in the 2nd half and were both down, Omarion Hampton appeared to hurt a wrist at some point, and William Barnes missed most of the second half.
  • We’ll have to watch Hood’s status because he has seemingly taken over the lead running back duties with Omarion Hampton now operating as RB2. Hood finished with 13 rushes for 74 yards and five receptions for 50 yards.
  • The Tar Heels got off to the start they needed to on the road. The start of a game certainly doesn’t win a four-quarter affair, BUT stopping Miami’s initial drive followed by a UNC touchdown was just what the doctor ordered.
  • I said it of the defense all week and it came to fruition: the Tar Heels don’t have to hold teams to 10 every week, but anything under 30 should do the trick. The defense did just enough: three turnovers on downs, two punts, one interception, and one missed field goal.
  • After his touchdown today, Josh Downs is now tied for 10th on the UNC career receiving TD list.
  • Carolina went 2-3 on fourth-down conversions and are now 11-14 this season. One of the conversions was a 4th & 9 that set up a touchdown you had to see to believe, both because of the throw Drake Maye made under duress and Josh Downs’ catch and subsequent dash to the end zone.
  • For the fourth game in a row Power Echols and Cedric Gray were 1-2 on the team in tackles. For the first time since the Florida A&M game, Echols was the leader, finishing with a career-high 14. The linebacking duo continues their streak of one or the other leading the team in tackles each game this season. Neither player has been lower than third.
  • After having thrown just one pick all season, Drake Maye was intercepted on back-to-back passes, one to end the first half and one to start the second half.
  • For just the second time this season, Carolina went into the red zone and came away with no points. The first occasion was the Tar Heels putting on the brakes at the end of the FAMU game. In today’s instance, they could have easily taken three points but surrendered a turnover on downs when Maye and Downs weren’t on the same page on a 4th & 4 play.
  • This season, Carolina has scored points on 22 of 24 red zone trips with 19 of those 22 being touchdowns.
  • Despite less gaudy touchdown numbers and tossing in a couple of interceptions, Drake Maye still had a really solid day. He hit 300 passing yards for the third straight game (and the fourth time this season), had two touchdown throws, rushed for 53 yards, and, perhaps most importantly, didn’t go all Superman on us.
  • The offensive line surrendered their highest sack total of the season – five.
  • While the defense held just enough, they did allow Tyler Van Dyke, who was averaging 202 passing yards a game, to finish with 496, nearly 300 over his average.
  • A win over Duke next week would make the Tar Heels bowl eligible, 4-0 on the road (after finishing 0-5 on the road last season), and provide another conference victory in the push to win the wide-open Coastal.

Box Score

Mack Brown Postgame Press Conference

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. Next up is a road game against Duke on Saturday, October 15. Kickoff is at 8 pm ET on ACC Network.

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