MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The 8th ranked Miami Hurricanes (6-0, 4-0 ACC) will look to stay unbeaten Saturday when they face the struggling North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.
Last week, Miami survived a rally from the Syracuse Orange to win 27-19 at Hard Rock Stadium. Quarterback Malik Rosier continued his impressive season with 344 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Rosier became the first Hurricanes quarterback to begin his career 7-0 as a starter since Brock Berlin did it in 2003.
Miami’s defense intercepted Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey four times, recorded four sacks, and hit him nine other times. Their four interceptions were the most Miami has recorded in a single game since 2013 (vs. Savannah State).
The Hurricanes will look for similar success against a Tar Heels offense that ranks 108th in the country, scoring just 21.6 points per game. Carolina’s quarterbacks have thrown 11 interceptions in eight games.
It’s been a long season for the 1-7 Tar Heels, who have already lost 16 scholarship players to season ending injuries. UNC is 0-5 against ACC competition, losing their conference games by a combined 129 points. Most recently, they fell 59-7 at then 14th ranked Virginia Tech.
Miami has lost two straight to UNC and seeks their first victory at Keenan Stadium since 2013. Despite Carolina’s lack of health and success in 2017, Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt insists that his team is not looking overlooking the competition.
To Richt, his team is not dominant enough to look past anyone.
“If we were rolling everybody, we’re whipping everybody by three touchdowns, no drama, getting your second- and third-stringers in – well we get our second- and third-stringers in anyway – but if we were having that kind of a roll, maybe. We’re just finding ways to win at the end of games.”
Richt added: “We’re not foolish enough to think that we’ve arrived yet. I don’t think they believe that. They know we have to earn it.”
If Miami wants to earn a victory Saturday, ground control would be a good place to start. The Tar Heels rank 113th in rushing defense, giving up a whopping 223.4 yards per game.
Miami running back Travis Homer has scored 6 total touchdowns with 5 rushing and 1 receiving. He’s run for 477 yards at an impressive 7.3 yards per carry.
After a 10 catch performance against Syracuse, Hurricanes tight end Chris Herndon now leads the team with 28 reception on the season. Braxton Berrios leads the Hurricanes in receiving yards with 337 and touchdowns with 5.
The Tar Heels rank 74th in the country in passing yards allowed at 227.8 yards per game.
Miami sits atop the ACC Coastal Division with a 4-0 conference record. UNC dwells in the cellar at 0-5. A victory for Miami would set up a crucial divisional showdown with 2-1 Virginia Tech the following week.
Kickoff for Miami – North Carolina is set for 12-Noon from Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. You can listen to the game on 560 WQAM.