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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sun Life Stadium (76,500) -- Miami, Florida. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: UNC 4-0, Miami 2-0. Away Record: UNC 0-2, Miami 2-1. Neutral Record: UNC 0-0, Miami 0-1. Conference Record: UNC 1-1, Miami 3-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 7-7.
GAME NOTES: A pair of 4-2 squads set out to prove that they belong in the ACC's upper tier, as the Miami-Florida Hurricanes entertain the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday afternoon.
With last week's impressive 48-34 triumph over Virginia Tech, North Carolina won its third straight game for the first time since September of 2011. The Tar Heels are off to a fast start, but they have not found success outside of Chapel Hill, losing their only two games on the road to Wake Forest (28-27) and Louisville (39-34).
Miami is also off to a solid start as it sits tied atop the ACC standings with a perfect 3-0 record. Things have been shaky for the Hurricanes however against tougher competition. They were blown out by Kansas State on Sept. 8, 52-13, and their latest outing resulted in a 41-3 loss to Notre Dame in Chicago. They will have an opportunity to help themselves in October as this matchup marks the first of three straight home games.
After 14 all-time meetings, the series between these two teams is tied at 7-7. The Hurricanes have had the advantage in Miami however, winning six of nine matchups.
UNC's offense has not only been explosive (44 ppg, 486.7 ypg), but it has also been consistent, scoring 27 points or more in every game.
Bryn Renner has been fantastic under center, completing more than 62 percent of his passes (121-of-193) for 1,616 yards with 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He has only been sacked four times after going down 26 times in 2011.
The running game has been unstoppable for the Tar Heels as they average 5.2 yards per carry. Giovani Bernard is coming off a career-best 262 yards against Virginia Tech. He now leads the team with 475 yards and he scored five times. A.J. Blue (314 yards, six TDs) and Romar Morris (235 yards, TD) round out a lethal combination of rushers.
Four different pass catchers have at least 270 yards receiving, led by Eric Ebron with 312 yards and three TDs on 19 receptions. Renner does a great job spreading the ball out, as six different players have at least two touchdown catches.
Even though the defense is coming off a game in which is allowed 394 yards, on the season the unit has been a good compliment to the high-powered offense, surrendering less than 18 ppg.
UNC has a number of high-impact defensive players, including Kareem Martin (eight TFL, two sacks), Sylvester Williams (eight TFL, five sacks), Kevin Reddick (37 tackles, eight TFL), Jabari Price (40 tackles, sack, INT) and Tim Scott (three INTs).
Miami's offense has been largely productive, putting up 30.2 ppg and more than 440 ypg, but it is coming off a dour performance against Notre Dame where it scored a paltry three points, tallied 285 yards, and made just 13 first downs.
Stephen Morris has averaged 306 yards passing per game in his first season as the full-time starter, which is tops in the ACC. He has thrown nine touchdown and four interceptions, but he would like to get his completion percentage up (.587).
Phillip Dorsett (29 receptions, 470 yards, three TDs) and Rashawn Scott (21 reception, 359 yards, two TDs) are both in the top-11 in the conference in receiving yards.
Duke Johnson (381 yards) and Mike James (306 yards) have split duties as the teams featured back, and they have combined for eight rushing touchdowns. Both have great hands as well, with 30 catches between them. Johnson's role as the primary kick returner helps him lead all freshmen with 168.3 all-purpose yards per game.
Unlike the Tar Heels, the Hurricanes have not held up their end of the bargain on defense, the unit ranking last in the ACC in both scoring defense (34.7 ppg) and total defense (510 ypg).
With an interception and a fumble recovery, Brandon McGee is responsible for two of the team's 12 takeaways. Shayon Green leads the squad with 39 tackles and Eddie Johnson has 35 tackles, a sack, and three forced fumbles.
These two teams have a similar makeup and this game should be an exciting back-and-forth matchup with plenty of fireworks. Miami's defense has been suspect to say the least, and UNC will definitely take advantage, but the Tar Heels have been a different team away from home, and the Hurricanes should be able to capitalize on the crucial 12th-man advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Florida 35, North Carolina 34
10/10 10:34:37 ET
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