MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – North Carolina looks to follow up its biggest offensive show in ACC history with a ninth straight victory when it hosts Miami (Fla.) on Saturday afternoon.
The 17th-ranked Tar Heels put themselves in position to clinch a berth in the conference championship game this weekend with a 66-31 triumph against rival Duke – the most points it has ever scored in a league game.
Senior quarterback Marquise Williams, who threw for a school-record 494 yards last Saturday, told reporters North Carolina is still looked at as “irrelevant” and the Tar Heels like that because it keeps “a chip on our shoulder.” But with a victory over Miami and a Pittsburgh loss to Duke on Saturday, North Carolina will clinch a spot beside Clemson in the ACC title game.
The Hurricanes won’t be an easy out after winning their last two games for interim coach Larry Scott, who replaced fired Al Golden. Brad Kaaya returned after a one-week absence due to a concussion to complete 20-of-26 passes for 286 yards last week in Miami’s 27-21 victory over Virginia.
ABOUT MIAMI (6-3, 3-2 ACC): Leading rusher Joseph Yearby (719 yards) said “it was good to have our leader back” after Kaaya was cleared to play last Friday night and threw for two scores one day later. Stacy Coley has been the go-to receiver since missing most of three games early in the season, totaling 31 receptions for 475 yards over the past five contests. Defensive back Artie Burns (team-high five interceptions) missed last week’s game after the funeral of his mother, but is expected back for Saturday’s contest.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (8-1, 5-0): Coach Larry Fedora called Williams’ performance against Duke “pretty phenomenal” as he set a school record for career touchdowns (83). Williams is third in the ACC in total offense and has completed 66 percent of his passes; four receivers have recorded at least 397 yards through the air, led by Mack Hollins (553). Elijah Hood ran for three scores last week to push his season total to 11 and averages 5.9 yards per carry (813 overall) while Williams has rushed for 558.
- With a victory Saturday, the Tar Heels can become the eighth team to finish undefeated at Kenan Stadium in a single season since it opened in 1927 and the first since 1996.
- Miami freshman TE David Njoku had a career-high 63 yards in the victory over Virginia.
- North Carolina WR Quinshad Davis (2,373) needs 75 yards receiving to move into second on the school’s all-time list behind Hakeem Nicks.
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