It didn’t start the way Miami wanted in their ACC opener against North Carolina. Miami fell behind early 10-0, and 17-3 and seemed completely out of the game on both offense and defense. Miami would fight back and take a 25-20 lead late in the 4th quarter, but a 4th and 17 allowed on defense gave North Carolina a 28-25 lead with about 1 minute to play. Jarren Williams would drive the Canes down the field to set up a potential game tying field goal, but Bubba Baxa would miss his second field goal of the game. Miami’s loss gives them an 0-2 start for the 1st time since 1978.
There were some positives in the game, although I’m not a big fan of the moral victory narrative. The Canes have had chances to win their first 2 games, but just can’t figure out how to get over the hump.
Here are the 3 Stars of the Game
Jarren Williams: If there is one positive that can be taken out of the first 2 losses, it’s the play of Jarren WIlliams. Down 17-3, Jarren never flinched going 30-39 309 yards and 2 TDs, and made throws to give Miami opportunities to win the game. His pocket presence was much better in week 2 as he found players and made decisive throws. His first TD was an absolute dart to KJ Osborn, and he made a great touch throw to WIll Mallory to give Miami the lead. If Mallory had come up with the 2 point conversion throw, we might still be playing. Jarren looks like the right guy to lead Miami going forward.
DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris: It’s a little bit of a cop out to give stars to both of these guys, but both DeeJay and Cam had fantastic games. The two combined for 24 carries 167 yards and a touchdown, and that yardage total would’ve been bigger if Harris’ long run wasn’t wiped out by a holding penalty. There were also some fantastic blocks thrown by both which gave Jarren Williams more time to throw the ball. That’s an old school Miami running back trait, which is to step in and pick up free rushers. These two definitely helped make the offensive lines job easier tonight. I’d like to see more touches for both of them moving forward.
K.J. Osborn: Not a gamebreaker by any stretch, but he has quickly developed as Jarren Williams’ security blanket KJ seemed to come up with tough catch after tough catch, and his touchdown grab gave Miami life in the first half. Once the Canes find a way to hit a few big throws Osborn should have a lot more room to operate in the middle of the field.
Miami made enough plays for the second game in a row, but unfortunately they also made enough blunders to sit at 0-2. The biggest disappointment was the play of the “vaunted” defense which didn’t garner a turnover, and gave up a lot of big plays in the passing game to True Freshman Sam Howell. Miami must fix a lot of problems, but the play of tonight’s stars gives the Canes a few building blocks to work with.