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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: North Carolina Edition

Miami eked out a win against a bad team and it shouldn’t have been as close as it was. We dive into the action.

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, this is starting to get ridiculous. The Miami Hurricanes squeaked out a 24-19 win against 1-8 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. You can read more in our Game Recap below

With that being said, we’re here to recap and grade the events from today so let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • Winning. I know, I KNOW, it didn’t look the way we might have wanted, but in the end Miami is 7-0 and 5-0 in the ACC.
  • RJ McIntosh had 9 (!!!!) tackles in the first quarter. He was about the only Miami player to bring it from the jump.
  • Shaq Quarterman had a sack on 4th down inside the 5 for UNC.
  • Malik Rosier hit TE Christopher Herndon IV up the seam for a 51 yard TD late in the 2nd quarter to give Miami their first lead of the game. Great throw, great catch, great GREAT run after catch.
  • Jeff Thomas making plays at Z receiver. He’s super talented, and was targeted often. He had a couple 3rd down conversions, and was just good today. And, he helped Miami extend the lead out with this 78 yard TD on the first play of the 2nd half. The freshman finished the day with 3 catches for 101 yards and a TD.
  • Holding UNC to 6 points in the first half was huge, especially when the Tar Heels were inside the 10 yardline 3x in the first half.
  • 6 TFLs and 2 sacks in the first half.
  • 10 TFLs and 4 sacks for the game.
  • Halftime adjustments. IDK what magic the coaching staff works at halftime, but keep working it. Miami came out fast, strong, and dominant after the break, and immediately scored. And, the Canes got 4 UNC turnovers in the 2nd half, so that was great too.
  • Freshman DE Jonathan Garvin bowled over a blocker on a punt and blocked it. THAT’LL WORK!!!
  • Michael Jackson with an interception, his 4th of the year, and you know what that means: TURNOVER CHAIN!!!!
  • On the very next UNC play, Charles Perry had an interception, and with it got the Turnover Chain!!
  • Braxton Berrios scored a TD, then took UNC’s reverse U and threw it up the right way. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE DO!
  • Sheldrick Redwine had an interception 1 play after Berrios’ TD for the 3rd takeaway and, you guessed it, MORE TURNOVER CHAIN!!!
  • Braxton Berrios cleanly fielded a UNC onside kick. Small play, but a big deal.
  • Joe Jackson forced a huge fumble to get Miami the ball back with UNC driving for a potentially game-winning TD. Massive play. That was the game-winner right there.
  • Speaking of Joe Jackson, the sophomore had 8 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and the aforementioned game-winning forced fumble. Huge day.
  • DeeJay Dallas making a play. The freshman had a 49 yard catch and run which got Miami down close for their final TD.
  • Jaquan Johnson with 11 tackles and the game-winning fumble recovery.
  • RJ McIntosh with 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU, and tons of penetration. He’s so good, and you better enjoy watching him while you can.
  • 415 yards of total offense
  • 5.7 yards per play
  • 20.9 yards per completion
  • TDs of 51 and 78 from Rosier to Herndon IV and Thomas, respectively (hitting the big plays when the chance is there).
  • 7 PBUs
  • 3 Interceptions
  • 1 fumble recovery
  • 4 QBH hurries
  • Miami’s conditioning. Faced with another tempo offense, Miami faced 92 plays on defense, and the defense held up and kept making plays. No cramps. No major “oh boy they’re tired” plays. None of that. Again, great job by S&C coach Gus Felder and his staff on getting the team in shape.
  • Miami’s current 12-game winning streak.

The Bad

  • Missed tackles. Just so much arm tackling and reaching and it was bad.
  • 248 yards and 18:11 time of possession allowed in the first half. Not good enough.
  • More drops by Ahmmon Richards. Dropped a 3rd down on the drive after Thomas’ TD made it 14-6. IDK what’s up with him, but the drops gotta stop.
  • Richards ending the game with only 1 catch for 11 yards. I know MJ Stewart is good, but not THAT good.
  • Miami got fooled on a double pass for a TD to let UNC get within 17-13. Not good.
  • Jeff Thomas’s decision to bring the ball out of the endzone on a kick return that he fielded going backward. Freshman mistake hurt the team.
  • Miami did exactly 0 with the back-to-back interceptions by Jackson and Perry. This has been a trend — getting turnovers but not scoring subsequently — all season.
  • The continued inconsistency on offense. Take away a couple big plays, and Miami did nothing on offense all day. Feast or famine, with way too much famine. Woof.
  • Malik Rosier’s completion percentage — 16/38 for 42%. That’s pretty bad.
  • A couple of Rosier’s decisions in the zone-read game. He missed the correction option (keep or give) and it hurt the offense.
  • Letting UNC run 92 plays. That is by far their most plays run on the season. The other similar game was 89 which was an outlier. Ouside of that, UNC had only run 70+ plays twice (70 and 76) this season. And, UNC has 5 games of 65 or less plays. It’s clear that teams think increasing offensive tempo is a way to beat Miami.
  • QB contain. UNC backup to the backup QB Nathan Elliot played the majority of the game, and he was able to find room running.
  • 5 penalties for 60 yards. AND, a couple more that could have been called. Gotta tighten up.

The Ugly

  • Miami’s first half performance. 7 points vs a UNC team missing 21 players? Unacceptable.
  • 18 rush yards in the first half. 1.7 yards per rush. Against a team giving up 224 yards and 4.7 per rush on the year coming into this game. I wish I had a level below “ugly” to put this.
  • 32 carries for 59 yards on the day. I know 2 of those were kneel downs at the end, but even without those, you’re talking about 30 carries for 62 yards. Disgusting. Gotta do better running the ball.
  • The play-call ratio. 41 passes and 30 runs. That’s not what a Mark Richt offense wants to be, or should be.
  • Evan Shirreffs came in for a series when Rosier went to the lockerroom quickly in 1H. Yeah......he don’t got the juice.
  • Refs missed a facemask call on UNC.
  • Refs called BULLSHIT roughing the passer on Zach McCloud about 3 plays after the missed facemask, and I’m fucking sick of playing against the opposing team and the refs every week.
  • First quarter offensive numbers: 43 yards — 35 of which came on 1 play, 2 first downs, 0-3 on 3rd down, 3.9 yards per play, 2 yards per rush, 0 points.
  • Malik Rosier’s interception. Locked on Richards, never looked off, threw the ball blindly directly to the Safety who was playing in the middle of the field. REALLY really bad.
  • Travis Homer’s fumble on the first play after getting the ball following a late UNC TD. That drive COULD have iced the game, but Homer put the ball on the ground. The ONE THING you can’t have. Ugh. Terrible.
  • Zach McCloud’s personal foul. UNC driving for a potential game-winning TD and you hit the QB late out of bounds? ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!!!!! I’d have benched him immediately if it was up to me.
  • UNC held Miami defenders egregiously and often and it wasn’t called once all game. That contributed to Elliott and the UNC run game getting space to work. Do better, ACC refs (they won’t, but I’m still gonna mention it).
  • Miami’s inability to score off turnovers. We’re taking the ball away, but not putting it in the endzone afterwards. Today, we didn’t even score after a turnover. NOT ONCE.
  • Letting teams hang around. FSU. Syracuse. Georgia Tech. North Carolina. Miami had chances to put each one of those teams away, and didn’t. That’s gonna come back to bite the Canes if that’s not fixed.
  • Carolina got called with 0 holding calls, but held all damn day.
  • Playing to the level of the opposition. I’m going to be honest here: North Carolina is not good. They’re objectively bad. But Miami played down to their level and that can’t happen. That kind of stuff gets you beat, and even if it wasn’t today, it’s going to happen with another similar performance.

Team Grades

Offense: D

Too many negative plays. Too many missed scoring opportunities. The complete and total lack of a run game. Yeah, Miami threw for a bunch of yards and hit the big plays, but the easy and medium plays were an issue today, and I have to take demerits for that. And the OL play was spotty, too. If not for the big plays, this would have been an F.

Defense: B-

4 turnovers was great, but letting UNC run 92 plays and roll up 428 yards of offense was not. Some great individual performances from Quan, RJ, and Joe. Too many conversions on 3rd and 4th down, too.

Special Teams: C

Badgley missed a 53 yard FG but made one from 21. Jeff Thomas had a very bad kickoff return that he should have downed instead of bringing out of the endzone. Zach Feagles was very inconsistent. Braxton Berrios had a couple nice punt returns, but he fair caught one with all kinds of room to run.

Coaching: D

Another flat start on offense. Lucky to have been up 7-6 at the half. Halftime adjustments on offense lasted like 3 plays. Defense got turnovers, but still was slow to adjust to what UNC was doing, even with their 3rd string QB in the game. We can’t continue to talk about a lack of execution by the players and ignore the coaching. That’s why this grade is so low, even after a win with several great highlights.

That’s it for this week. Yes, I was harsh in my grades, but this is simply not to the standard of excellence to which we should aspire.

Agree with me? Think I’m a moron? Have other things that you want to share from the game? Hop in the comments and let’s talk.

Go Canes