2020 By the Numbers: UNC

2020 By the Numbers: UNC

Stefan Adams
With Miami set to take on #17 UNC tomorrow, CIS took a deep-dive and compared both programs. How do the teams match up in key areas of the game, which players were recruited by the other school, and how does the series history shake out? Let's find out.


Head-to-Head

Miami Rush Offense vs. UNC Rush Defense


Before last week, Miami’s running game had been unable to get going most of the season, but a few big games early in the year leveled out their numbers to 61st nationally of 127 FBS teams with 173.0 rushing ypg. It was a complete reversal in UM’s previous game; led by Cam’Ron Harris (96 rushing yards, 2 TD’s), the Canes exploded for 220 rushing yards vs. Duke, and were more than happy to get back road grader Navaughn Donaldson on the OL, as the offensive guard paved the way up front for a few big runs. QB D’Eriq King continues to churn up grass with his legs (51.9 rushing yards per game), and has progressed from scrambles and designed draws to consistently running more zone reads to add another dimension to the Miami rushing game.

UNC’s run defense is slightly above average at 57th nationally in allowing 155.1 ypg, but sports a true star in Butkus semi-finalist LB Chazz Surratt. Surratt has done it all for this UNC front 7, dominating on an individual level in both shutting down the run (team-leading 81 tackles, 7.5 TFL) and getting after the passer (team-leading 6 sacks). Like with past opponents, UNC’s defensive strategy will likely be to stack the box to try and limit UM’s run game and force King to throw. UM’s running game has been pretty inconsistent overall this season, so it’s hard to know what to expect against a competent run D like the Tar Heels have.

Advantage: Even


UNC Rush Offense vs. Miami Rush Defense

UNC’s running game has been spectacular overall in 2020, as they are 19th in the country averaging 218.6 ypg on the ground. RB’s Michael Carter (9th nationally in rushing) and Javonte Williams (12th nationally in rushing) are easily the best RB tandem in both the ACC and the entire nation, as they have combined for a whopping 1,841 rushing yards and 23 TD’s. Howell (4 rushing TD’s) can also beat you scrambling from the pocket.

The Canes have been much better at defending the run in recent weeks, including holding the nation’s #4 running attack in VT to 130 yards under their season average two games back. So, while the Canes have moved themselves up to 42nd nationally at 139.1 ypg allowed in run defense, the electric abilities of Carter, who acts as the speed threat, and Williams, who is a tough between the tackles runner, are plenty cause for concern. Expect UM’s linebacker play, which has been inconsistent at various times this year and has had their depth affected by COVID issues, to especially be tested this week.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Pass Offense vs. UNC Pass Defense

Despite some lackluster efforts earlier in the year, UM’s pass game has been excellent over their past 4 games, and they have now jettisoned up to 31st nationally with 272.8 ypg. Miami has shown the ability to be both efficient and explosive at times behind the arm of King (63.9% completions, 8.2 ypa, 20-4 TD-INT ratio), and WR Mike Harley is now the 12th leading receiver in the ACC (653 yards) after recording 100+ yard games in three of his past four games. Mackey semi-finalist TE Brevin Jordan (4 catches, 75 yards, TD last week) looks healthy again following a 3-game absence with a shoulder injury.

Miami has been feasting on bad secondaries lately, and the Tar Heels offer similarly little resistance through the air, coming in at 88th nationally in giving up 248.9 ypg. Sophomore safety Don Chapman is the closest thing to a playmaker on the UNC back end, and he has posted 44 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, an INT, 2 FF, and a PBU in 2020. UNC’s pass rush has been strong thus far, though, averaging 3 sacks per game, which is good for #21 in the country, and they are led by senior DE/OLB Tomon Fox (5.5 sacks), who terrorized the Canes in last year’s game with 3 QB takedowns. While the Canes’ OL bounced back last week in only allowing one sack vs. Duke, they are still one of the worst teams in the FBS overall at protecting the passer (#103 with 2.89 sacks allowed per game). If the Canes’ OL gives King even a semblance of a consistent pocket to operate from, he should dice up this weak last line of defense.

Advantage: Miami


UNC Pass Offense vs. Miami Pass Defense

North Carolina boasts one of the best passing offenses in the country, clocking in at 16th nationally with 315.9 ypg. Sophomore QB Sam Howell has developed into one of the ACC’s top passers in 2020, hitting on 68.8% of his passes at 10.1 ypa and a 26-6 TD-INT ratio. With Howell slinging it all over the field, WR Dyami Brown has taken full advantage to become the ACC’s leading receiver (932 yards) and pairs with inside/outside threat Dazz Newsome (601 yards) to form an incredible duo at wideout for the Tar Heels. Both Williams and Carter make impacts in the passing attack as well and have to be accounted for leaking out of the backfield, as the two have combined for 46 receptions and 5 TD’s through the air this year.

UM has been slightly above average at defending the pass, as they are 55th in the country in passing defense and give up 227.1 ypg. Miami’s pass rush seems to have hit its stride recently, recording 9 sacks in their last two games, and they’ll be facing a pretty vulnerable UNC OL that is one of the worst nationally at protecting the QB (#105 at 2.9 sacks per game allowed). Miami’s secondary is coming off arguably their best game of the season last weekend vs. Duke, but squaring off against UNC’s aerial assault is an entirely different animal. With Al Blades out, the Canes are going to need young freshman corners Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson to build off a solid performance last week to help limit the explosive plays.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Special Teams vs. UNC Special Teams

UNC sophomore punter Ben Kiernan has been a solid, league average ACC punter in 2020, sitting at 7th in the ACC with 43.7 ypp this season. UNC has an FCS grad transfer kicker in Grayson Atkins, who has had ups and downs in his first season with the Tar Heels (61.5% on FG’s). On the flip side, Miami has two proven and experienced specialists in junior punter Louis Hedley (2nd in ACC at 47.2 ypp), and senior grad transfer kicker Jose Borregales, who has had an incredible debut at Miami in 2020 (89.5% on FG’s). Despite their success in the kicking game, UM has really struggled to find an impact returner this year, while Newsome is 17th nationally returning punts for UNC at 10.2 ypr.

Advantage: Miami


Roster Notes

UNC players recruited by Miami (12):
DT Xach Gill, OL William Barnes, OL Ed Montilus, LB Chris Collins, QB Sam Howell, LB Eugene Asante, QB Jacolby Criswell, OL Cayden Baker, DT Myles Murphy, DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones, DT Kristian Varner, S Don Chapman

Miami players recruited by UNC (21): LB Zach McCloud, QB Tate Martell, OL Navaughn Donaldson, OL Kai-Leon Herbert, OL Zalon’tae Hillery, DT Jon Ford, LB Bradley Jennings, S Amari Carter, RB Cam’Ron Harris, TE Brevin Jordan, TE Will Mallory, OL John Campbell, OL Cleveland Reed, STRK Gilbert Frierson, S Gurvan Hall, WR Jeremiah Payton, TE Larry Hodges, DL Quentin Williams, DL Elijah Roberts, CB Isaiah Dunson, S Avantae Williams

UNC players from South Florida (1): OL Cayden Baker (Fort Myers)


Series History

**
Miami leads the overall series with UNC, 11-10.

**The Tar Heels won the most recent matchup with the Canes, but the longest-ever winning streak in this series is 3 games, something done by both Miami (1959-1961) and UNC (1946-1957).

**The largest margin of victory in this series is 38 points, something done by North Carolina when they defeated Miami by a score of 59-21 back in 2015 at Chapel Hill.


Last Time They Played

**
North Carolina started the game between the two teams in 2019 on a 17-3 run, but found themselves needing a game-winning drive in the final minutes after the Hurricanes took the lead with just under 5 minutes to play on a Jarren Williams to Will Mallory TD pass. And true freshman QB Sam Howell delivered, converting a 4th and 17 and later finishing the drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Dazz Newsome with just over a minute remaining. UM’s last-ditch effort went unrewarded, as K Bubba Baxa missed a game-tying 49-yard FG in the final seconds to leave the final score at 28-25, Tar Heels.

**Williams went 30-39 (77%) for 309 yards and 2 TD’s passing in one of his best performances at Miami, spreading the ball around evenly to receivers Mike Harley (79 yards receiving), KJ Osborn (76 yards), and Brevin Jordan (73 yards). DeeJay Dallas also went for 107 yards on just 14 carries (7.4 ypc) on the ground.

**On the other side, Howell was both dynamic and efficient for UNC in throwing for 274 yards on 11.4 ypa with a 66.7% completion percentage, adding 2 TD passes which included the game-winner. This was despite facing a strong UM pass rush that recorded 4 sacks and 10 TFL in the game.

**UNC DE/OLB Tomon Fox put together a massive game, getting to Williams 3 times for sacks in the contest.

 

Comments (14)

With Miami set to take on #17 UNC tomorrow, CIS took a deep-dive and compared both programs. How do the teams match up in key areas of the game, which players were recruited by the other school, and how does the series history shake out? Let's find out.


Head-to-Head

Miami Rush Offense vs. UNC Rush Defense


Before last week, Miami’s running game had been unable to get going most of the season, but a few big games early in the year leveled out their numbers to 61st nationally of 127 FBS teams with 173.0 rushing ypg. It was a complete reversal in UM’s previous game; led by Cam’Ron Harris (96 rushing yards, 2 TD’s), the Canes exploded for 220 rushing yards vs. Duke, and were more than happy to get back road grader Navaughn Donaldson on the OL, as the offensive guard paved the way up front for a few big runs. QB D’Eriq King continues to churn up grass with his legs (51.9 rushing yards per game), and has progressed from scrambles and designed draws to consistently running more zone reads to add another dimension to the Miami rushing game.

UNC’s run defense is slightly above average at 57th nationally in allowing 155.1 ypg, but sports a true star in Butkus semi-finalist LB Chazz Surratt. Surratt has done it all for this UNC front 7, dominating on an individual level in both shutting down the run (team-leading 81 tackles, 7.5 TFL) and getting after the passer (team-leading 6 sacks). Like with past opponents, UNC’s defensive strategy will likely be to stack the box to try and limit UM’s run game and force King to throw. UM’s running game has been pretty inconsistent overall this season, so it’s hard to know what to expect against a competent run D like the Tar Heels have.

Advantage: Even


UNC Rush Offense vs. Miami Rush Defense

UNC’s running game has been spectacular overall in 2020, as they are 19th in the country averaging 218.6 ypg on the ground. RB’s Michael Carter (9th nationally in rushing) and Javonte Williams (12th nationally in rushing) are easily the best RB tandem in both the ACC and the entire nation, as they have combined for a whopping 1,841 rushing yards and 23 TD’s. Howell (4 rushing TD’s) can also beat you scrambling from the pocket.

The Canes have been much better at defending the run in recent weeks, including holding the nation’s #4 running attack in VT to 130 yards under their season average two games back. So, while the Canes have moved themselves up to 42nd nationally at 139.1 ypg allowed in run defense, the electric abilities of Carter, who acts as the speed threat, and Williams, who is a tough between the tackles runner, are plenty cause for concern. Expect UM’s linebacker play, which has been inconsistent at various times this year and has had their depth affected by COVID issues, to especially be tested this week.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Pass Offense vs. UNC Pass Defense

Despite some lackluster efforts earlier in the year, UM’s pass game has been excellent over their past 4 games, and they have now jettisoned up to 31st nationally with 272.8 ypg. Miami has shown the ability to be both efficient and explosive at times behind the arm of King (63.9% completions, 8.2 ypa, 20-4 TD-INT ratio), and WR Mike Harley is now the 12th leading receiver in the ACC (653 yards) after recording 100+ yard games in three of his past four games. Mackey semi-finalist TE Brevin Jordan (4 catches, 75 yards, TD last week) looks healthy again following a 3-game absence with a shoulder injury.

Miami has been feasting on bad secondaries lately, and the Tar Heels offer similarly little resistance through the air, coming in at 88th nationally in giving up 248.9 ypg. Sophomore safety Don Chapman is the closest thing to a playmaker on the UNC back end, and he has posted 44 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, an INT, 2 FF, and a PBU in 2020. UNC’s pass rush has been strong thus far, though, averaging 3 sacks per game, which is good for #21 in the country, and they are led by senior DE/OLB Tomon Fox (5.5 sacks), who terrorized the Canes in last year’s game with 3 QB takedowns. While the Canes’ OL bounced back last week in only allowing one sack vs. Duke, they are still one of the worst teams in the FBS overall at protecting the passer (#103 with 2.89 sacks allowed per game). If the Canes’ OL gives King even a semblance of a consistent pocket to operate from, he should dice up this weak last line of defense.

Advantage: Miami


UNC Pass Offense vs. Miami Pass Defense

North Carolina boasts one of the best passing offenses in the country, clocking in at 16th nationally with 315.9 ypg. Sophomore QB Sam Howell has developed into one of the ACC’s top passers in 2020, hitting on 68.8% of his passes at 10.1 ypa and a 26-6 TD-INT ratio. With Howell slinging it all over the field, WR Dyami Brown has taken full advantage to become the ACC’s leading receiver (932 yards) and pairs with inside/outside threat Dazz Newsome (601 yards) to form an incredible duo at wideout for the Tar Heels. Both Williams and Carter make impacts in the passing attack as well and have to be accounted for leaking out of the backfield, as the two have combined for 46 receptions and 5 TD’s through the air this year.

UM has been slightly above average at defending the pass, as they are 55th in the country in passing defense and give up 227.1 ypg. Miami’s pass rush seems to have hit its stride recently, recording 9 sacks in their last two games, and they’ll be facing a pretty vulnerable UNC OL that is one of the worst nationally at protecting the QB (#105 at 2.9 sacks per game allowed). Miami’s secondary is coming off arguably their best game of the season last weekend vs. Duke, but squaring off against UNC’s aerial assault is an entirely different animal. With Al Blades out, the Canes are going to need young freshman corners Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson to build off a solid performance last week to help limit the explosive plays.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Special Teams vs. UNC Special Teams

UNC sophomore punter Ben Kiernan has been a solid, league average ACC punter in 2020, sitting at 7th in the ACC with 43.7 ypp this season. UNC has an FCS grad transfer kicker in Grayson Atkins, who has had ups and downs in his first season with the Tar Heels (61.5% on FG’s). On the flip side, Miami has two proven and experienced specialists in junior punter Louis Hedley (2nd in ACC at 47.2 ypp), and senior grad transfer kicker Jose Borregales, who has had an incredible debut at Miami in 2020 (89.5% on FG’s). Despite their success in the kicking game, UM has really struggled to find an impact returner this year, while Newsome is 17th nationally returning punts for UNC at 10.2 ypr.

Advantage: Miami


Roster Notes

UNC players recruited by Miami (12):
DT Xach Gill, OL William Barnes, OL Ed Montilus, LB Chris Collins, QB Sam Howell, LB Eugene Asante, QB Jacolby Criswell, OL Cayden Baker, DT Myles Murphy, DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones, DT Kristian Varner, S Don Chapman

Miami players recruited by UNC (21): LB Zach McCloud, QB Tate Martell, OL Navaughn Donaldson, OL Kai-Leon Herbert, OL Zalon’tae Hillery, DT Jon Ford, LB Bradley Jennings, S Amari Carter, RB Cam’Ron Harris, TE Brevin Jordan, TE Will Mallory, OL John Campbell, OL Cleveland Reed, STRK Gilbert Frierson, S Gurvan Hall, WR Jeremiah Payton, TE Larry Hodges, DL Quentin Williams, DL Elijah Roberts, CB Isaiah Dunson, S Avantae Williams

UNC players from South Florida (1): OL Cayden Baker (Fort Myers)


Series History

**
Miami leads the overall series with UNC, 11-10.

**The Tar Heels won the most recent matchup with the Canes, but the longest-ever winning streak in this series is 4 games, something done by both Miami (1959-1961) and UNC (1946-1957).

**The largest margin of victory in this series is 38 points, something done by North Carolina when they defeated Miami by a score of 59-21 back in 2015 at Chapel Hill.


Last Time They Played

**
North Carolina started the game between the two teams in 2019 on a 17-3 run, but found themselves needing a game-winning drive in the final minutes after the Hurricanes took the lead with just under 5 minutes to play on a Jarren Williams to Will Mallory TD pass. And true freshman QB Sam Howell delivered, converting a 4th and 17 and later finishing the drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Dazz Newsome with just over a minute remaining. UM’s last-ditch effort went unrewarded, as K Bubba Baxa missed a game-tying 49-yard FG in the final seconds to leave the final score at 28-25, Tar Heels.

**Williams went 30-39 (77%) for 309 yards and 2 TD’s passing in one of his best performances at Miami, spreading the ball around evenly to receivers Mike Harley (79 yards receiving), KJ Osborn (76 yards), and Brevin Jordan (73 yards). DeeJay Dallas also went for 107 yards on just 14 carries (7.4 ypc) on the ground.

**On the other side, Howell was both dynamic and efficient for UNC in throwing for 274 yards on 11.4 ypa with a 66.7% completion percentage, adding 2 TD passes which included the game-winner. This was despite facing a strong UM pass rush that recorded 4 sacks and 10 TFL in the game.

**UNC DE/OLB Tomon Fox put together a massive game, getting to Williams 3 times for sacks in the contest.

I’m not sure I can agree that UNC rush offense has the advantage over the UM run defense. UNC can really run and they have balance with the pass, unlike VaTech, but I think UM will hold UNC under their average. I just think we will commit to stopping the run
 
I’m not sure I can agree that UNC rush offense has the advantage over the UM run defense. UNC can really run and they have balance with the pass, unlike VaTech, but I think UM will hold UNC under their average. I just think we will commit to stopping the run
I think its just based off stats and they run game being really strong.. We could hold them under they avg and they still get close to 200.. They have the advantage going in, doesnt necessarily mean he thinks we will get tramp
 
Take away Western Carolina, UNC averages 40 ppg.
In 5 of the games, they scored 41 points or more.
In the other 4, they scored 31 points or less.

They've been shut down for long stretches in games.
5 points in the 2nd half vs BC, 7 points in the first half vs FSU, and shut out vs ND in he second half.
If they come out flat for a half against us, we roll.
 
Take away Western Carolina, UNC averages 40 ppg.
In 5 of the games, they scored 41 points or more.
In the other 4, they scored 31 points or less.

They've been shut down for long stretches in games.
5 points in the 2nd half vs BC, 7 points in the first half vs FSU, and shut out vs ND in he second half.
If they come out flat for a half against us, we roll.
Im guessing most of those numbers are on road.. They seem like another team at home compared to on road..
 
UNC lost to two teams we've beaten. I think they're overrated. On offense, I think King, Jordan, and team put up 40+ on these guys. Surratt is an animal, but overall that defense is porous and we win the mismatches. On defense, this is the game Phillps and Roche need to make their NFL $$$. We really need pressure on Howell. And Couch has to play like he's a veteran, since he's going to be challenged bigtime until he can prove he's ready. These aren't the Duke receivers. But I think he steps up.
 
We win if our dline dominates. Our back 7 will have a hard time with their backs and receivers. We win if 2 and 15 take over. They won’t stop our offense
 
We win if our dline dominates. Our back 7 will have a hard time with their backs and receivers. We win if 2 and 15 take over. They won’t stop our offense
Roche should dominate the lt. He's given up 6 sacks and 26 pressures. I'm expecting 1 sack at least and many hits on howell. Phillips will do what he's been doing. It's go time!!!!
 
We're not rolling into Death Valley to play Clemson. This is a UNC team that lost to one mediocre team we beat and one horrendous team we beat senseless. If Miami can't beat them at home, it will be a massive disappointment and I think a coaching failure.

UNC knows Miami is hungry, so I suspect they will throw everything, trick plays and all, to steal early momentum and get a 14 point lead and force Miami to play catch up. If the defense can hold in the first quarter and stop that initial surge, I think we end up winning by at least 10.
 
With Miami set to take on #17 UNC tomorrow, CIS took a deep-dive and compared both programs. How do the teams match up in key areas of the game, which players were recruited by the other school, and how does the series history shake out? Let's find out.


Head-to-Head

Miami Rush Offense vs. UNC Rush Defense


Before last week, Miami’s running game had been unable to get going most of the season, but a few big games early in the year leveled out their numbers to 61st nationally of 127 FBS teams with 173.0 rushing ypg. It was a complete reversal in UM’s previous game; led by Cam’Ron Harris (96 rushing yards, 2 TD’s), the Canes exploded for 220 rushing yards vs. Duke, and were more than happy to get back road grader Navaughn Donaldson on the OL, as the offensive guard paved the way up front for a few big runs. QB D’Eriq King continues to churn up grass with his legs (51.9 rushing yards per game), and has progressed from scrambles and designed draws to consistently running more zone reads to add another dimension to the Miami rushing game.

UNC’s run defense is slightly above average at 57th nationally in allowing 155.1 ypg, but sports a true star in Butkus semi-finalist LB Chazz Surratt. Surratt has done it all for this UNC front 7, dominating on an individual level in both shutting down the run (team-leading 81 tackles, 7.5 TFL) and getting after the passer (team-leading 6 sacks). Like with past opponents, UNC’s defensive strategy will likely be to stack the box to try and limit UM’s run game and force King to throw. UM’s running game has been pretty inconsistent overall this season, so it’s hard to know what to expect against a competent run D like the Tar Heels have.

Advantage: Even


UNC Rush Offense vs. Miami Rush Defense

UNC’s running game has been spectacular overall in 2020, as they are 19th in the country averaging 218.6 ypg on the ground. RB’s Michael Carter (9th nationally in rushing) and Javonte Williams (12th nationally in rushing) are easily the best RB tandem in both the ACC and the entire nation, as they have combined for a whopping 1,841 rushing yards and 23 TD’s. Howell (4 rushing TD’s) can also beat you scrambling from the pocket.

The Canes have been much better at defending the run in recent weeks, including holding the nation’s #4 running attack in VT to 130 yards under their season average two games back. So, while the Canes have moved themselves up to 42nd nationally at 139.1 ypg allowed in run defense, the electric abilities of Carter, who acts as the speed threat, and Williams, who is a tough between the tackles runner, are plenty cause for concern. Expect UM’s linebacker play, which has been inconsistent at various times this year and has had their depth affected by COVID issues, to especially be tested this week.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Pass Offense vs. UNC Pass Defense

Despite some lackluster efforts earlier in the year, UM’s pass game has been excellent over their past 4 games, and they have now jettisoned up to 31st nationally with 272.8 ypg. Miami has shown the ability to be both efficient and explosive at times behind the arm of King (63.9% completions, 8.2 ypa, 20-4 TD-INT ratio), and WR Mike Harley is now the 12th leading receiver in the ACC (653 yards) after recording 100+ yard games in three of his past four games. Mackey semi-finalist TE Brevin Jordan (4 catches, 75 yards, TD last week) looks healthy again following a 3-game absence with a shoulder injury.

Miami has been feasting on bad secondaries lately, and the Tar Heels offer similarly little resistance through the air, coming in at 88th nationally in giving up 248.9 ypg. Sophomore safety Don Chapman is the closest thing to a playmaker on the UNC back end, and he has posted 44 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, an INT, 2 FF, and a PBU in 2020. UNC’s pass rush has been strong thus far, though, averaging 3 sacks per game, which is good for #21 in the country, and they are led by senior DE/OLB Tomon Fox (5.5 sacks), who terrorized the Canes in last year’s game with 3 QB takedowns. While the Canes’ OL bounced back last week in only allowing one sack vs. Duke, they are still one of the worst teams in the FBS overall at protecting the passer (#103 with 2.89 sacks allowed per game). If the Canes’ OL gives King even a semblance of a consistent pocket to operate from, he should dice up this weak last line of defense.

Advantage: Miami


UNC Pass Offense vs. Miami Pass Defense

North Carolina boasts one of the best passing offenses in the country, clocking in at 16th nationally with 315.9 ypg. Sophomore QB Sam Howell has developed into one of the ACC’s top passers in 2020, hitting on 68.8% of his passes at 10.1 ypa and a 26-6 TD-INT ratio. With Howell slinging it all over the field, WR Dyami Brown has taken full advantage to become the ACC’s leading receiver (932 yards) and pairs with inside/outside threat Dazz Newsome (601 yards) to form an incredible duo at wideout for the Tar Heels. Both Williams and Carter make impacts in the passing attack as well and have to be accounted for leaking out of the backfield, as the two have combined for 46 receptions and 5 TD’s through the air this year.

UM has been slightly above average at defending the pass, as they are 55th in the country in passing defense and give up 227.1 ypg. Miami’s pass rush seems to have hit its stride recently, recording 9 sacks in their last two games, and they’ll be facing a pretty vulnerable UNC OL that is one of the worst nationally at protecting the QB (#105 at 2.9 sacks per game allowed). Miami’s secondary is coming off arguably their best game of the season last weekend vs. Duke, but squaring off against UNC’s aerial assault is an entirely different animal. With Al Blades out, the Canes are going to need young freshman corners Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson to build off a solid performance last week to help limit the explosive plays.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Special Teams vs. UNC Special Teams

UNC sophomore punter Ben Kiernan has been a solid, league average ACC punter in 2020, sitting at 7th in the ACC with 43.7 ypp this season. UNC has an FCS grad transfer kicker in Grayson Atkins, who has had ups and downs in his first season with the Tar Heels (61.5% on FG’s). On the flip side, Miami has two proven and experienced specialists in junior punter Louis Hedley (2nd in ACC at 47.2 ypp), and senior grad transfer kicker Jose Borregales, who has had an incredible debut at Miami in 2020 (89.5% on FG’s). Despite their success in the kicking game, UM has really struggled to find an impact returner this year, while Newsome is 17th nationally returning punts for UNC at 10.2 ypr.

Advantage: Miami


Roster Notes

UNC players recruited by Miami (12):
DT Xach Gill, OL William Barnes, OL Ed Montilus, LB Chris Collins, QB Sam Howell, LB Eugene Asante, QB Jacolby Criswell, OL Cayden Baker, DT Myles Murphy, DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones, DT Kristian Varner, S Don Chapman

Miami players recruited by UNC (21): LB Zach McCloud, QB Tate Martell, OL Navaughn Donaldson, OL Kai-Leon Herbert, OL Zalon’tae Hillery, DT Jon Ford, LB Bradley Jennings, S Amari Carter, RB Cam’Ron Harris, TE Brevin Jordan, TE Will Mallory, OL John Campbell, OL Cleveland Reed, STRK Gilbert Frierson, S Gurvan Hall, WR Jeremiah Payton, TE Larry Hodges, DL Quentin Williams, DL Elijah Roberts, CB Isaiah Dunson, S Avantae Williams

UNC players from South Florida (1): OL Cayden Baker (Fort Myers)


Series History

**
Miami leads the overall series with UNC, 11-10.

**The Tar Heels won the most recent matchup with the Canes, but the longest-ever winning streak in this series is 4 games, something done by both Miami (1959-1961) and UNC (1946-1957).

**The largest margin of victory in this series is 38 points, something done by North Carolina when they defeated Miami by a score of 59-21 back in 2015 at Chapel Hill.


Last Time They Played

**
North Carolina started the game between the two teams in 2019 on a 17-3 run, but found themselves needing a game-winning drive in the final minutes after the Hurricanes took the lead with just under 5 minutes to play on a Jarren Williams to Will Mallory TD pass. And true freshman QB Sam Howell delivered, converting a 4th and 17 and later finishing the drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Dazz Newsome with just over a minute remaining. UM’s last-ditch effort went unrewarded, as K Bubba Baxa missed a game-tying 49-yard FG in the final seconds to leave the final score at 28-25, Tar Heels.

**Williams went 30-39 (77%) for 309 yards and 2 TD’s passing in one of his best performances at Miami, spreading the ball around evenly to receivers Mike Harley (79 yards receiving), KJ Osborn (76 yards), and Brevin Jordan (73 yards). DeeJay Dallas also went for 107 yards on just 14 carries (7.4 ypc) on the ground.

**On the other side, Howell was both dynamic and efficient for UNC in throwing for 274 yards on 11.4 ypa with a 66.7% completion percentage, adding 2 TD passes which included the game-winner. This was despite facing a strong UM pass rush that recorded 4 sacks and 10 TFL in the game.

**UNC DE/OLB Tomon Fox put together a massive game, getting to Williams 3 times for sacks in the contest.

Ty for all you do
 
With Miami set to take on #17 UNC tomorrow, CIS took a deep-dive and compared both programs. How do the teams match up in key areas of the game, which players were recruited by the other school, and how does the series history shake out? Let's find out.


Head-to-Head

Miami Rush Offense vs. UNC Rush Defense


Before last week, Miami’s running game had been unable to get going most of the season, but a few big games early in the year leveled out their numbers to 61st nationally of 127 FBS teams with 173.0 rushing ypg. It was a complete reversal in UM’s previous game; led by Cam’Ron Harris (96 rushing yards, 2 TD’s), the Canes exploded for 220 rushing yards vs. Duke, and were more than happy to get back road grader Navaughn Donaldson on the OL, as the offensive guard paved the way up front for a few big runs. QB D’Eriq King continues to churn up grass with his legs (51.9 rushing yards per game), and has progressed from scrambles and designed draws to consistently running more zone reads to add another dimension to the Miami rushing game.

UNC’s run defense is slightly above average at 57th nationally in allowing 155.1 ypg, but sports a true star in Butkus semi-finalist LB Chazz Surratt. Surratt has done it all for this UNC front 7, dominating on an individual level in both shutting down the run (team-leading 81 tackles, 7.5 TFL) and getting after the passer (team-leading 6 sacks). Like with past opponents, UNC’s defensive strategy will likely be to stack the box to try and limit UM’s run game and force King to throw. UM’s running game has been pretty inconsistent overall this season, so it’s hard to know what to expect against a competent run D like the Tar Heels have.

Advantage: Even


UNC Rush Offense vs. Miami Rush Defense

UNC’s running game has been spectacular overall in 2020, as they are 19th in the country averaging 218.6 ypg on the ground. RB’s Michael Carter (9th nationally in rushing) and Javonte Williams (12th nationally in rushing) are easily the best RB tandem in both the ACC and the entire nation, as they have combined for a whopping 1,841 rushing yards and 23 TD’s. Howell (4 rushing TD’s) can also beat you scrambling from the pocket.

The Canes have been much better at defending the run in recent weeks, including holding the nation’s #4 running attack in VT to 130 yards under their season average two games back. So, while the Canes have moved themselves up to 42nd nationally at 139.1 ypg allowed in run defense, the electric abilities of Carter, who acts as the speed threat, and Williams, who is a tough between the tackles runner, are plenty cause for concern. Expect UM’s linebacker play, which has been inconsistent at various times this year and has had their depth affected by COVID issues, to especially be tested this week.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Pass Offense vs. UNC Pass Defense

Despite some lackluster efforts earlier in the year, UM’s pass game has been excellent over their past 4 games, and they have now jettisoned up to 31st nationally with 272.8 ypg. Miami has shown the ability to be both efficient and explosive at times behind the arm of King (63.9% completions, 8.2 ypa, 20-4 TD-INT ratio), and WR Mike Harley is now the 12th leading receiver in the ACC (653 yards) after recording 100+ yard games in three of his past four games. Mackey semi-finalist TE Brevin Jordan (4 catches, 75 yards, TD last week) looks healthy again following a 3-game absence with a shoulder injury.

Miami has been feasting on bad secondaries lately, and the Tar Heels offer similarly little resistance through the air, coming in at 88th nationally in giving up 248.9 ypg. Sophomore safety Don Chapman is the closest thing to a playmaker on the UNC back end, and he has posted 44 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks, an INT, 2 FF, and a PBU in 2020. UNC’s pass rush has been strong thus far, though, averaging 3 sacks per game, which is good for #21 in the country, and they are led by senior DE/OLB Tomon Fox (5.5 sacks), who terrorized the Canes in last year’s game with 3 QB takedowns. While the Canes’ OL bounced back last week in only allowing one sack vs. Duke, they are still one of the worst teams in the FBS overall at protecting the passer (#103 with 2.89 sacks allowed per game). If the Canes’ OL gives King even a semblance of a consistent pocket to operate from, he should dice up this weak last line of defense.

Advantage: Miami


UNC Pass Offense vs. Miami Pass Defense

North Carolina boasts one of the best passing offenses in the country, clocking in at 16th nationally with 315.9 ypg. Sophomore QB Sam Howell has developed into one of the ACC’s top passers in 2020, hitting on 68.8% of his passes at 10.1 ypa and a 26-6 TD-INT ratio. With Howell slinging it all over the field, WR Dyami Brown has taken full advantage to become the ACC’s leading receiver (932 yards) and pairs with inside/outside threat Dazz Newsome (601 yards) to form an incredible duo at wideout for the Tar Heels. Both Williams and Carter make impacts in the passing attack as well and have to be accounted for leaking out of the backfield, as the two have combined for 46 receptions and 5 TD’s through the air this year.

UM has been slightly above average at defending the pass, as they are 55th in the country in passing defense and give up 227.1 ypg. Miami’s pass rush seems to have hit its stride recently, recording 9 sacks in their last two games, and they’ll be facing a pretty vulnerable UNC OL that is one of the worst nationally at protecting the QB (#105 at 2.9 sacks per game allowed). Miami’s secondary is coming off arguably their best game of the season last weekend vs. Duke, but squaring off against UNC’s aerial assault is an entirely different animal. With Al Blades out, the Canes are going to need young freshman corners Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson to build off a solid performance last week to help limit the explosive plays.

Advantage: UNC


Miami Special Teams vs. UNC Special Teams

UNC sophomore punter Ben Kiernan has been a solid, league average ACC punter in 2020, sitting at 7th in the ACC with 43.7 ypp this season. UNC has an FCS grad transfer kicker in Grayson Atkins, who has had ups and downs in his first season with the Tar Heels (61.5% on FG’s). On the flip side, Miami has two proven and experienced specialists in junior punter Louis Hedley (2nd in ACC at 47.2 ypp), and senior grad transfer kicker Jose Borregales, who has had an incredible debut at Miami in 2020 (89.5% on FG’s). Despite their success in the kicking game, UM has really struggled to find an impact returner this year, while Newsome is 17th nationally returning punts for UNC at 10.2 ypr.

Advantage: Miami


Roster Notes

UNC players recruited by Miami (12):
DT Xach Gill, OL William Barnes, OL Ed Montilus, LB Chris Collins, QB Sam Howell, LB Eugene Asante, QB Jacolby Criswell, OL Cayden Baker, DT Myles Murphy, DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones, DT Kristian Varner, S Don Chapman

Miami players recruited by UNC (21): LB Zach McCloud, QB Tate Martell, OL Navaughn Donaldson, OL Kai-Leon Herbert, OL Zalon’tae Hillery, DT Jon Ford, LB Bradley Jennings, S Amari Carter, RB Cam’Ron Harris, TE Brevin Jordan, TE Will Mallory, OL John Campbell, OL Cleveland Reed, STRK Gilbert Frierson, S Gurvan Hall, WR Jeremiah Payton, TE Larry Hodges, DL Quentin Williams, DL Elijah Roberts, CB Isaiah Dunson, S Avantae Williams

UNC players from South Florida (1): OL Cayden Baker (Fort Myers)


Series History

**
Miami leads the overall series with UNC, 11-10.

**The Tar Heels won the most recent matchup with the Canes, but the longest-ever winning streak in this series is 4 games, something done by both Miami (1959-1961) and UNC (1946-1957).

**The largest margin of victory in this series is 38 points, something done by North Carolina when they defeated Miami by a score of 59-21 back in 2015 at Chapel Hill.


Last Time They Played

**
North Carolina started the game between the two teams in 2019 on a 17-3 run, but found themselves needing a game-winning drive in the final minutes after the Hurricanes took the lead with just under 5 minutes to play on a Jarren Williams to Will Mallory TD pass. And true freshman QB Sam Howell delivered, converting a 4th and 17 and later finishing the drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Dazz Newsome with just over a minute remaining. UM’s last-ditch effort went unrewarded, as K Bubba Baxa missed a game-tying 49-yard FG in the final seconds to leave the final score at 28-25, Tar Heels.

**Williams went 30-39 (77%) for 309 yards and 2 TD’s passing in one of his best performances at Miami, spreading the ball around evenly to receivers Mike Harley (79 yards receiving), KJ Osborn (76 yards), and Brevin Jordan (73 yards). DeeJay Dallas also went for 107 yards on just 14 carries (7.4 ypc) on the ground.

**On the other side, Howell was both dynamic and efficient for UNC in throwing for 274 yards on 11.4 ypa with a 66.7% completion percentage, adding 2 TD passes which included the game-winner. This was despite facing a strong UM pass rush that recorded 4 sacks and 10 TFL in the game.

**UNC DE/OLB Tomon Fox put together a massive game, getting to Williams 3 times for sacks in the contest.


Biggest game of Diaz's coaching career so far? Opportunity to remove year 1 stink and get Miami to a NY6 game and prove Miami is ascendant. Huge stakes IMO.
 
We obviously failed that test vs UNC running game. Question would be is it on Baker and the LB crew? I think failing to adjust to the counter is the question looming and needs to be answered...I doubt Diaz fires Baker before the bowl game but I do think it's coming
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
265
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
WR
5'9"
190
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

Latest Predictions

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