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

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From bad to worse to open the 2019 season for the Canes

Miami v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

For the first time since 1978, the Miami Hurricanes are 0-2 to start a football season following a 28-25 loss to North Carolina. NORTH CAROLINA!!!!!!!!

We’ll have a recap and 3 stars eventually. I’ll link them when they’re done. I think everybody is kind of shocked right now so they’re not ready for you, yet.

Anyways, let’s get into the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. And yes, it’s heavy on the last 2.

And we begin:

The Good

  • The 2nd quarter of the game, in its entirety. Miami outscored UNC 10-0, outgained them 159-5, and got the game to a manageable 17-13 score heading into half. Sure, there was a missed FG in there, and it took several drives before Miami finally found the endzone just before halftime, but on all sides of the ball, the Canes were clearly the more dominant team in the second stanza of tonight’s game.
  • The duo of DeeJay Dallas and Cam’ron Harris in the first half. Fast and physical, the pair combined for 96 yards in the first half, and each ran over multiple UNC defenders as Miami turned the tide in the 2nd quarter. Great stuff from each of them.
  • Dallas ended with 107 yards and Harris had 60 yards and a TD on the day. Solid work from both.
  • Jarren Williams’s arm. The TD throw to KJ Osborn just before halftime was a LASER, and threaded a very small needle. Plays like that are why he’s QB1.
  • And, overall in the first half, Jarren Williams was 15/20 passing for 112 yards and a TD with 0 INTs. And that included 3 throwaways. That’ll work.
  • Williams finished 30/39 passing with 309 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT. Even in the loss, he showed why he’s starting, and why Miami should be excited about the QB position moving forward.
  • K.J. Osborn. 7 catches, 76 yards and a TD. He keeps showing why we brought him in as a grad transfer.
  • Brevin Jordan. 6 catches, 73 yards. He was much more a focus of the gameplan throughout tonight’s game, and showed again why he’s the best TE in the country.
  • Michael Pinckney. Missed a couple snaps after taking a helmet to the knee, but #56 did his dollar tonight. 8 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 TFL, 1 QB hurry. That’s a full stat line, for sure.
  • Romeo Finley. A couple tackles to save big plays, and some perfect coverage from the STRIKER position. He’s integral to the success of the defense and he played well for most of the game tonight.
  • Louis Hedley. Miami’s new punter continues to do good work, averaging 45 yards per punt on 3 punts.
  • 27 first downs
  • 35:23 time of possession
  • 10.3 yards per catch
  • 7.92 yards per passing attempt
  • 4.8 yards per rushing attempt
  • 76 plays
  • No turnovers
  • 6.4 yards per play
  • 14 chunk plays — 6 passes (15+), 8 runs (10+)
  • 10 TFLs
  • 4 sacks
  • 2 PBUs
  • 2 QB hurries
  • Held UNC to 2/10 on 3rd downs
  • Held UNC to 97 yards rushing on 2.7 yards per attempt

The Bad

  • Losing. Losing is always bad. It sucks. I hate it. And we found a way to lose to YET ANOTHER team we are more talented than and shouldn’t lose to. This SUCKS.
  • Settling for Field Goals. That’s not how you win at this level. Compound that with missing a chip shot for the 2nd game in a row and WOOF.
  • Allowed 389 yards of offense. That’s not BAD, but it’s not good or ugly so here it sits.
  • 11 Chunk plays allowed — 6 passes (15+), 5 runs (10+)
  • Allowing a true freshman to complete 67% of his passes for nearly 300 yards, no turnovers, and a win against you. Seriously man. That’s BAD, and for as talented as he is, Howell isn’t THAT kind of good.
  • 7 penalties for 57 yards. Much better than the opener, but still far too many.

The Ugly

  • I’ll put it to you like this: when we’re hitting performance markers unseen since WELL BEFORE Miami started winning championships, that’s the definition of Ugly.
  • 7-11 in the last 18 games.
  • Amari Carter’s first quarter ejection for targeting. I know he was breaking down to hit the QB already. I know the QB slid late. But I don’t care. The result is what matters, regardless of the process.
  • Trajan Bandy’s blown coverage. On UNC’s first TD, Bandy bit hard on a stutter-and-go double move and was burned badly for a 62 yard score. That was UNC using his aggressive style of play against him. Bandy is still damn good, but that play? It was ugly.
  • Blocked extra point. After working to tie the game, Miami’s line sprung a leak and let UNC block the XP that would have tied the game at 20. Disgusting.
  • Giving up a blown coverage on 4th and 17 with the game on the line to let UNC keep their drive alive and score the eventual game-winning TD. I mean.......................really? That’s horrible.
  • Bubba Baxa. 2 missed FGs and a blocked XP (that one was on the OL, not Baxa, but still....). In a game where Miami lost by 3, that’s 7 points left on the field, INCLUDING another missed chip shot. IDC that he hit from 50. He can’t keep missing the gimmes.
  • Another week with a long Cam’ron Harris run negated by holding penalty. In 2 weeks, Harris has had 106 yards of runs — a 52 yarder vs UF and a 54 yarder tonight — taken away because of holding. Can’t have that.
  • 3/11 on 3rd down. Not good enough.
  • Some predictable play calling. There were times this offense felt positively Richt-ian.
  • Losing to North Carolina. Seriously. The more I think about it, the worse this loss looks, smells, and feels.

Team Grades

Offense: C

Jarren Williams was in the zone tonight and did very well. Yes, he held the ball a couple of times, but with the effort to keep more guys in to help with pass protection, sometimes the 2 or 3 receivers on a given play were covered. Run game was good but not used as consistently as I would have liked. OL was up and down. And the drops on the last couple drives were really bad, too. And Miami didn’t finish drives well AT ALL. Should have scored 30+ tonight. Ugh.

Defense: D

Can’t have veterans like Trajan Bandy fall for the okey doke of a double move early in the game. Can’t keep missing tackles. Can’t keep waiting to step up and make a play. And this team absolutely NEEDS turnovers, and we didn’t force any tonight.

Special Teams: D

Honestly, this comes down to Baxa and the lines’ struggles. 1 FG was “tipped” (or so the broadcast said but I didn’t see that); an XP was blocked; and a potential game-tying FG was missed wide left. All of that negates the good work of the returners (secured possession, no fumbles), and punter (seriously, I’ll take 45ypp every day of the week). Between the line and kicker and holder — who some said may have affected one of the misses — MUCH improvement is needed.

Coaching: D-

Why is Miami never prepared to start games? Why are the Canes seemingly ALWAYS needing to regroup after the opponent has early success why we struggle to find our footing? Why are the playcalls on offense overly conservative and on defense overly aggressive? Why does Miami continue to play down below the level of their talent and let inferior teams get signature wins against us?

For all the preaching of “The New Miami”, this looked remarkably similar to all the other bad versions of Miami that we’ve seen over the last 15 years.

Good on the coaches and players for rallying back to make this a game, even take the lead in the 4th quarter, but nah, this ain’t it, fam.


That’s what I have to say about it.

I’m disgusted.

Am I being too harsh? Is there a silver lining I’m missing? Hop in the comments and let me know. Seriously. Please.

Go Canes