MIAMI (AP) — Miami begins defense of its ACC Coastal Division title against the Tar Heels, who are getting as many as seven players back from suspensions for selling team-issued shoes. The Hurricanes are seeking a 12th straight home regular-season victory, and the Tar Heels are looking to reach .500 or better for the first time since being 8-5 at the end of 2016.
North Carolina on third down against Miami’s defense. This is critical to the Tar Heels’ upset chances. Miami leads the nation in third-down defense this season (opponents converting 17.5 percent of the time), after not even being the best Miami in the rankings last season — the Hurricanes were 75th nationally a year ago, behind even Miami of Ohio. The Heels are 109th nationally this season in converting third downs (33.3 percent).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
North Carolina: RB Antonio Williams ran for a career-best 114 yards in last week’s ACC-opening victory over Pitt.
Miami: DB Sheldrick Redwine has recorded an interception in both of the Hurricanes’ home games so far this season.
FACTS & FIGURES
Combined score of the first 21 meetings between the programs: North Carolina 462, Miami 462. … Miami has never led the all-time series between the schools. It’s been tied on three occasions (3-3, 5-5 and 9-9), but the Hurricanes have not had the upper hand. … The last time Miami played as the nation’s No. 16 team was two years ago, at home, against an unranked North Carolina team — and the Tar Heels prevailed. Miami is 11-0 in home regular-season games since. … North Carolina won the time-of-possession battle against Miami last season, and hasn’t in any of its six games that have followed. … Miami enters ranked No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss, No. 2 in total defense, No. 5 in rushing defense and No. 6 in passing yards allowed.
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