clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Miami Hurricanes Football: Three Stars From the UNC Game

Shining bright on South Florida evening, Miami turns it up in the conference opener.

North Carolina v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

After wrapping up their non-conference schedule with a decisive victory over FIU, the Hurricanes embarked upon their conference opening match against the University of North Carolina. With only five days in between two games, the questions that arose last Saturday (who will start at QB, what’s the health status of a few stars, and whether their performance over three games translates to ACC play) needed to be answered.

Tonight’s 47-10 score provides further evidence to lean over to the optimistic side than the pessimism that creeps into the subconscious. It wasn’t pretty and, for reasons that are hard to quantify, rarely plays out like the script when the Canes and Heels meet — at least on the gridiron. It’s an all-important Coastal Division win, one that spurs the momentum forward with a four-game win streak.

Lets dwell in the moment a little longer by highlighting a few players who pulled Miami across the finish line this evening.

Third Star

Jonathan Garvin

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Garvin continues to be a man on a mission. The sophomore DE finished with four tackles, three tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries to go along with a TD. With Joe Jackson lining up on the other side, Miami’s DE were truly holding a meeting at in the UNC backfield all night.

Second Star

Joe Jackson

After an unusually slow start, Joe Jackson has returned to form over the course of two games. Employing a blend of hand moves and instincts in pursuit of the play, the junior defensive end feasted on the UNC offensive tackles on his way to the ball. The defensive end was able to haul in his first career interception, taking the ball all the way back for six. With five tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a nightcap of a sack, forced fumble and interception for touchdown, Joe Jackson appears ready to dominate ACC competition once again.

First Star

Shaq Quarterman

In a game where Miami’s defense scored three touchdowns, it would only be fitting that a defender be named first star of the game.

The face of the linebacking unit is never one to be quiet, and tonight on ESPN allowed his play to reach max volume. Quarterman was all over the field. He was in the Tar Heels’ backfield, dropped back in coverage when he needed to and chased the ball towards the sideline to end plays effectively. It reminded us of that old school linebacking performance of past Hurricanes, the Denzel Perryman, Jon Beason or Jon Vilma flow-and-react play that set the standard at the position. Although Quarterman was unable to play in the second half after suffering an ankle injury. However, With a final stat line of five tackles and four tackles-for-loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, and a QB hurry, Quarterman is making a case to add his name to the illustrious lineage of UM LBs.

Honorable Mentions

North Carolina v Miami Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Miami’s defense scored three touchdowns. Manny Diaz’s turnover hungry bunch dished out three sacks, 17 tackles-for-loss, three interceptions and 21 points in the rout over UNC. The Hurricanes forced SIX turnovers tonight!!! It was a stellar performance from the starters to the rotational players. DE Jonathan Garvin, DE Joe Jackson and Striker Romeo Finley all walked into the end zone as the UNC offense looked on out of breath and diminished of spirit.

There’s a new sheriff in town and he wears number five. Entering last week’s game against FIU after two series, RS freshman N’Kosi Perry is unwilling to relinquish the starting QB job for the Hurricanes. Beginning tonight’s game under center, Perry unleashed the entire gamut of his skill set on the Tar Heels’ defense.

We know that the Vanguard High School grad can use his legs to pick up valuable yardage. What endears Perry to coaches and fans is his accuracy and willingness to take chances passing downfield. In front of the home crowd, Perry put together another impressive performance, passing for 125 yards on 12 pass attempts with eight completions. His 26 rushing yards once again underscored the versatility of this dual-threat quarterback.

Another game, another Gerald Willis highlight film. Piling up four tackles, there hasn’t been a team all season that’s had any sustained success preventing ‘G’ from disrupting business in the backfield. Big number nine surged across the line of scrimmage, ragdolling North Carolina’s center and guard in pursuit of quarterback Nathan Elliott. The only thing keeping Willis out of the top three this week was a tricky tack penalty that cost Miami 15 yards after a successful third down stand.

It appears that Homer has found his rhythm at running back. In his last two outings, the Oxbridge Academy standout has attacked the holes at the line of scrimmage with urgency, propelling his lower body to mow forward for the most possible yards. The junior back powered around, under and through UNC’s defense on his way to 88 rushing yards to an incredible primetime performance for the Canes.

RB DeeJay Dallas was the benefactor of a 56-yard run by Homer, leading to the sophomore punching it in the end zone for the score. With his ability to explode in an instance, Dallas took advantage of excellent blocks up front to carve out big gains on multiple offensive drives. Dallas padded his rushing total with 114 yards and the aforementioned touchdown to keep pace in UM’s rushing race.

Romeo Finley got the final defensive score of the night, but Miami’s striker has been ballin’ out throughout the season.