Tuesday, October 9, 2012

UNC opponent: Get to know the Miami Hurricanes

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina travels to South Florida this weekend, where the Tar Heels will meet Miami on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium. UNC hasn’t won at Miami since 2008 and the Heels are 1-3 down there since the Hurricanes joined the ACC in 2004.

Some things to know about the Hurricanes …

Miami: 4-2 (3-0 ACC, 1-0 Coastal Division)

Last time out: lost to Notre Dame 41-3

Trending: Down. The Hurricanes had some momentum going thanks to three consecutive victories, but that all evaporated during a 41-3 loss against Notre Dame on Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The name to know: QB Stephen Morris set an ACC record two weeks ago when he threw for 566 yards during the Hurricanes’ 44-37 victory against N.C. State. Morris became Miami’s starting quarterback during the second half of the 2010 season but played sparingly a season ago.

But now his 1,836 passing yards rank fifth nationally, and his play has been one of the primary reasons why the Hurricanes are off to a somewhat surprising 4-2 start. Morris has attempted at least 35 passes in five of Miami’s six games, and he threw 52 passes – and completed 31 for 436 yards – during the Canes’ 42-36 victory against Georgia Tech.

Other names to know: RB Duke Johnson, a freshman, leads the Hurricanes with 381 rushing yards, and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. WR Phillip Dorsett, a sophomore, averages 78.3 receiving yards per game, and has three receiving touchdowns. Defensively, lineman Shayon Green has been a force up front, and leads the team in tackles with 39.

Things about Miami that are of concern for UNC: North Carolina might not face another team the rest of the season that has the kind of natural talent that Miami does. The Hurricanes, as always, are fast and have plenty of playmakers on offense. Morris and the Canes’ passing offense have proven they can score, which means that UNC will have to continue to do a good job of converting its scoring chances into touchdowns.

Things about Miami that UNC might feel good about: As fast as the Hurricanes, they’ve done a poor job generating defensive pressure and making plays in the offensive backfield. Miami ranks tied for 102nd nationally in sacks, and 105th in tackles for loss. The Canes’ rushing defense has been awful, too – and it was especially on Saturday against Notre Dame, which ran for 376 yards. Miami has allowed an average of 250.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks 116th nationally.

Did you know: That UNC has a winning record against the Hurricanes? The Tar Heels are 8-7 all-time against Miami, but 4-4 against Miami since the Canes began ACC play in 2004.

Bottom line: This Miami team doesn’t much resemble the kind that dominated college football during stretches of the 80s, 90s and 2000s. But the Hurricanes still have a lot of talent, as always, and UNC coach Larry Fedora said Miami is as fast and as talented as any team in the ACC.

Even so, Miami has been reliant on youth, and with youth comes inconsistency. That might help to explain why the Hurricanes looked impressive in shoot-out victories against Georgia Tech and N.C. State, but anything but impressive in lopsided losses against Kansas State and Notre Dame.

During its four victories, Miami has scored at least 38 points. But in its two losses, the Canes have scored just 16 points combined. Which Miami team will show up on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium?

-- Andrew Carter


cost per head said...

oh thanks for that information on the Miami Hurricanes, I myself did not know much about them, but now I do know much more!