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An Embarrassment for the Ages

A ‘fireable’ game.

Miami v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Coming off their 48-0 victory against the Duke Blue Devils, Miami played their worst game of 2020 in the regular-season finale.

Revenge was on Miami’s mind heading into the contest, still bitter from their 28-25 loss to the Tar Heels a season ago. However, instead of a determined and focused group, we saw a flat ‘Canes team more focused on chirping and laying big hits rather than wrapping up and focusing on fundamentals.

Not only did they fail at wrapping up, but the Tar Heels were also prepared for everything they threw at them. UNC consistently countered Miami’s blitzes and schemes, with the ‘Canes overpursuing on almost every down.

The defense receives most of the blame here, understandably, but what may have surprised ‘Canes fans more was the lack of offense. While North Carolina had 41 points midway through the 3rd quarter, Miami only had 10 until a long connection from quarterback D’Eriq King to tight end Brevin Jordan cut their lead to 23.

Still, Miami was defeated long before the start of the 4th quarter.

Hurricanes fans haven’t seen a team this flat since 2019, a season that included demoralizing losses to the likes of FIU and Louisiana Tech. Additionally, Miami’s game against North Carolina has sparked an outcry for the firing of Blake Baker, Louisiana Tech’s former defensive coordinator.

Much of the frustration lies with the potential and result. Miami has the talent, but cannot match it with execution. Baker’s group bent throughout the season, sacrificing points, but holding when needed. Against the Tar Heels, it finally broke as the ‘Canes were gashed for 778 yards, the most a Miami team has ever surrendered.

In the end, it’s everything the new Miami isn’t supposed to be: undisciplined, unmotivated, and unprepared. The 2020 season has thrown curveballs at everyone in the college football world, but there’s no excuse for a team that gave up in the first half.

Furthermore, it proves why Miami wasn’t moved up in the College Football Playoff rankings. Despite the fast-paced offense and havoc wrecked by Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche, the team couldn’t step up in big games, proving that once again, the hype was smoke and mirrors. They were flat-out exposed by Mack Brown’s group, and they deserve all the credit for being the only team that showed up on Saturday.

In conclusion, the answer to Manny Navarro’s question is: yes. Absolutely yes. How is it that a team that dropped 52 points on rival Florida State and touted a 5-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s game lose by 36 points? The players and coaches only know the answer to that question, and it may require some changes in staff to solve the problem.