Black PR Wire Newsroom
(BLACK PR WIRE) – The margin of defeat on Saturday was only four points. And true, it pales in comparison to the 38-point beat down Miami took at the hands of the Fighting Irish the week before in Chicago. But let there be no doubt, so far, this loss was the hardest to process and the most painful to endure for players, coaches and fans alike.
The Hurricanes squandered a number of scoring opportunities on their way to losing to ACC Coastal Division rival North Carolina, 18-14, before an energized crowd of 58,954 at Sun Life Stadium.
Miami’s defense turned in a much better overall performance. For the first time since they played FCS member Bethune Cookman, Miami’s defense held their opponent to less than 20 points, yet still yielded 486 yards of total offense to the Tar Heels. The defense came to life in the second half, allowing North Carolina to score only three points to keep it close.
This game, it was Miami’s high powered offense that failed to get on track. Each of the first three offensive series of the game featured sustained drives that moved the team in North Carolina territory, but all failed to generate any points. Penalties, dropped passes and two interceptions thrown by Miami QB Stephen Morris all contributed to stalled offensive drives. Miami could only score two rushing touchdowns, one by RB Mike James, who rushed for a total of 96 yards, and one by Morris.
However, the pain of this loss may be felt well beyond the final whistle as Morris was helped off the field with an ankle injury with just over eight minutes left in the game and never returned.
Backup QB Ryan Williams replaced Morris and performed well, moving Miami both times into North Carolina territory, to their 26 and 35 yard lines. However, both drives ended with failed fourth down conversion attempts, with no points put on the scoreboard.
Williams completed nine of 13 passes for 80 yards, but had a crucial sack resulting in a six yard loss in Miami’s last offensive drive. With Morris injured, Williams may get his first start as a Hurricane when the 12th ranked Florida State Seminoles come to Miami next week.
North Carolina relied on a strong running game, gaining a total of 277 rushing yards and churning out 30 first downs to keep Miami’s offense off the field. Redshirt sophomore RB Giovani Bernard, who played at Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas, had quite a homecoming, rushing for 177 yards, and added four receptions and 36 yards to his one punt return of 26 yards. His 239 all purpose yards were almost half the entire North Carolina team’s total offense.
And while North Carolina’s offense was busy inflicting pain on the ground, their defense seemed intent on also inflicting as much pain as possible. The Tar Heel defense was flagged for four personal fouls, in addition to two high hits to Morris’ head that were not called, drawing the serious ire of Coach Al Golden. This may become a new feature of North Carolina football as they are currently the most penalized team in the ACC.
Miami (4-3, 3-1) will have to man up and get ready, because Florida State (6-1, 3-1) will not be any nicer when the two instate rivals meet for a nationally televised game this Saturday evening.