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Miami Hurricanes vs North Carolina Tar Heels: Matchup to Watch

Miami will need to be disciplined and sound on defense to slow down an explosive attack.

NCAA Football: Miami at Duke Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

This is the game.

This is the measuring stick for the rest of the season, and the season in totality. Miami has found a way to overcome COVID-19 issues, a blowout loss to Clemson and the loss of the best player on defense as Gregory Rousseau opted out before the season got underway. The Canes sit at 8-1, ranked 10th in the College Football Playoff rankings, and are 2 wins from playing in a NY6 Bowl for the 1st time since the end of the 2017 season. North Carolina and Georgia Tech stand in the way of a special season by the Canes, but the Tar Heels seem to be a game Miami is taking personal. Miami lost 28-25 a year ago, and everyone remembers the 4th and 17 allowed by Miami’s defense that led to the game winning score.

Series History

North Carolina leads the all-time series 12-11

North Carolina won the last meeting 28-25 but the Canes have won 2 of the last 3 meetings.

Statistical Leaders

UNC

Sam Howell 205-298 3129 26 TDs 6INTs

Michael Carter 132 carries 937 yards 7 TDs

Javonte Williams 134 carries 904 yards 16 TDs

Dyami Brown 51 catches 932 yards 8 TDs

Dazz Newsome 46 catches 601 yards 5 TDs

Miami

D’Eriq King 183-286 2334 20 TDs 4 INTs

Cam’Ron Harris 110 carries 567 Yards 8 TDs

D’Eriq King 111 carries 467 yards 4 TDs

Mike Harley Jr. 43 catches 653 yards 5 TDs

Mark Pope 29 catches 383 yards 2 TDs

Matchup to Watch

Miami enters the contest as a 3-point favorite and the over/under sits at 67.5, which means Vegas expects this game to be a shootout. North Carolina gained 389 yards and scored 28 points in 2019 against Miami. Sam Howell accounted for 274 yards and 2 scores through the air, but the Canes could not get a stop when the game was on the line. This year UNC is a monster offensively and the Canes are just a tick lower on the defensive side of the ball. The Tar Heels are 5th in the country in total offense averaging 534.5 yards per game. What makes them so dangerous is they are equally good on the ground as they are through the air. Miami must find a way to disrupt the rhythm of the RPO offense by winning on early downs and not allowing UNC to have a two way go. Michael Carter and Javonte Williams are absolute studs running the ball so Miami must tackle like they did against Duke where they had their best effort. Also, important will be the play of the LB’s, no matter who is on the field. With the RPO game one false step either direction can result in a big play. Miami must be sound in their keys and make the right reads with fearlessness. Miami has been a much better tackling team over the past few games and will need to rally to the football to slow down a potent attack. Miami must win the matchup of defense vs offense and give their offense a chance to win the game with pace and space.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Miami will score in this game, no doubt, because UNC is not particularly good defensively, but the Canes can ill afford to allow the Tar Heels to gain early confidence like they did a season ago. Look for the Canes to send some early pressure and play like their hair is on fire. Miami wants revenge and judging by some of the videos this week they are focused to get a big win on Saturday.

My Prediction Miami 34-24 over UNC