The Miami Hurricanes opened up ACC play Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium against the North Carolina Tarheels. A packed house was ready for primetime as all eyes of the college football world were on The U.
Quarterback mystery revealed
The Hurricanes ran through the Malone in their “Miami Nights” uniforms in front of a fired up home crowd. Thursday night games are always a little special at least in college football. Head Coach Mark Richt was keeping the starting quarterback decision close to the vest this week, mixing in both Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry at the starting spot in practice.
— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) September 28, 2018
To the surprise of few, redshirt freshman quarterback N’KOSI Perry got the starting nod. He started quickly with a strike on play action to open the game. These quick throws into tight space trouble Malik Rosier, Perry so far has shown much better intermediate accuracy.
The running game has struggled lately and Mark Richt wanted to get Travis Homer going early. Miami made it to midfield before having to punt. Zach Feagles has struggled this year and Jack Spicer got a look at punter to open the game. He pinned UNC back inside the 20 which was a positive.
Miami’s defense was a little soft early. The Tarheels were able to move the ball with quick passes and tempo. Nathan Elliott who has struggled this year was able to move the offense. UNC tailback Michael Carter gashed Miami on a nice run up the middle, followed by another scamper around the right edge. North Carolina moved easily into Hurricanes’ territory with first and goal. Miami tightened up and forced a field goal halfway through the first quarter.
When Perry and the offense returned to the field they continued to try and establish Homer. This allowed Perry to hit on play action, his accuracy and arm talent
Persistence paid off in the run game as Travis Homer broke a beautifully designed cutback run to almost house it. DeeJay Dallas would cash it in quickly from short distance to put the Hurricanes up 7-3 with remaining.
On the next UNC possession the crowd was bringing the noise, and the defense responded in glorious fashion.
— Turnover Chain (@TurnoverChain) September 28, 2018
North Carolina Head Coach Larry Fedora felt the need to make a quarterback change after this scoop and score to go down by 11 points. This led to the benching of Elliott The change sparked the Carolina offense, new quarterback Chazz Surratt moves the ball with his feet and arm. Miami was having an issue with different looks and UNC continued to pound the ball. Surratt found the end zone with a nice option run to make it 14-10 late in the first quarter.
UNC finished the first quarter with 89 rushing yards on 11 carries. Miami had 73 yards rushing of their own, and Perry was sharp going 5 of 6 to open the game. The offense looks much crisper with Perry at the helm.
Dallas was in the backfield to open the second quarter. Miami moved into the red zone but met some resistance. They would miss on a third and long and settle for a 35-yard field goal by Bubba Baxa to make it 17-10 with 12:17 left in the second.
When Miami has been elite the last two years, it’s when The Turnover Chain makes multiple appearances. If those turnovers lead directly to points, it makes the Hurricanes almost unstoppable.
— Turnover Chain (@TurnoverChain) September 28, 2018
Now up 24-10 the Hurricanes began to take control of the game. North Carolina was able to move the ball but Miami did not allow a score, and once again Perry showed tremendous poise and accuracy. Mike Harley is becoming his favorite target, and the energy with the offense just feels different with Rosier wearing a headset. The two connected on a beautiful 42-yard pass on the drive. The Hurricanes can be scary if both sides of the ball are clicking at the same time. Perry would hit Darrell Langham (all that guy does is make plays) in tight coverage for another touchdown with 2:31 left in the first half to put Miami up 30-10, the extra point was blocked.
At this juncture in the game, the Hurricanes’ offense was a model of balance and consistency. Miami had 121 yards rushing and 128 passing in the first half. Perry was 7 for 10, Homer and Dallas were effective on the ground, and the Canes were rolling. The Hurricanes would add a late field goal to go into the locker room up 33-10.
Sloppy second half
The good feelings in the first half were somewhat absent to begin the third quarter. Perry got careless and committed back to back turnovers to keep UNC in the game. Miami fans did not need to worry much due to an overwhelming defensive attack that did not relent for the entire game. Manny Diaz is going to need an security detail for the Turnover Chain, it gets more airtime than a certain politician. This defense could be even better than last year’s unit that took the nation by storm. The Hurricanes would don six Turnover Chains before this one was over.
It was an incredible performance by the defense against an overmatched North Carolina team. Three turnovers were returned for touchdowns, the Miami defense outscored their opponent themselves 21-10. If Perry would have been sharper in the second half, this one could have been even uglier. Credit the Hurricanes defense for maintaining their intensity for 60 minutes. UNC has given Miami problems over the recent years, to put up a decisive conference win here makes a statement. The Hurricanes would run things out, adding some late cushion and sealing the rout 47-10.
N’ Kosi Perry – 8/12, 125 yards, TD, INT
DeeJay Dallas – 11 carries, 114 yards, TD
Travis Homer – 14 carries, 88 yards
Perry – 6 carries, 26 yards
Mike Harley – 2 receptions, 70 yards
Darrell Langham – 3 receptions, 33 yards, TD
Six damn chains.