UNC at Miami, 2:30 PM on ESPNU
The Miami Hurricanes are undefeated in ACC play but have been thrashed in two non-conference games against respectable opponents. The Hurricanes are also the third worst defense in all FBS giving up an average of 510 yards per game. If you were wondering which Miami was worse against, the run or the pass, the answer would be "yes." Miami has given up over 1500 yards on the ground and a little more than that in the air. Larry Fedora has talked about having a balanced offense but in this case Miami has a balanced, albeit awful, defense. What that means for UNC is the possibility the Heels can score at will. Nothing in the stats or what anyone has seen leads to the conclusion Miami will be able to slow the Tar Heels' up-tempo offense.
While UNC is fully expected to score often in this game, it is possible Miami could counter which just as much on terms of offensive output. On paper UNC doesn't look as awful as the numbers indicate for Miami, however the videotape tells a different tale. UNC has been competent in stopping the run, holding teams 86 ypg which is just outside the top ten nationally. Against the pass, things are a bit dicier with UNC surrendering over 1300 yards in six games. When you account for Elon and Idaho being part of that equation that number takes on new life. Against a Virginia Tech offense that has struggled to generate yards and points, the Tar Heels allowed 354 yards passing. Prior to that game, Virginia Tech's season high for passing was 265 yards.
Given Miami's less than stellar performance running the football and UNC's proficiency at stopping that aspect of the offense, it would appear the Hurricanes are one dimensional. Despite this QB Stephen Morris is still a very dangerous player, as NC State discovered all too well. Miami is going to put the ball in the air and the Tar Heels, if recent history is an indication will have trouble slowing the Hurricanes down. Likewise, UNC's balanced offensive attack is going basically do anything it wants. That generally means we are looking at a shootout with turnovers and capitalizing on red zone chances being factors the tip the scales.
In the end, UNC's offense should be able outpace anything the Hurricanes do when they possess the football. If the Heels can hold onto the football, the tempo will ultimately wear Miami down making matters even easier for the offense. UNC's defense, while exhibiting some porous qualities when it comes to the pass, is far and away better than Miami's meaning it will be bad sometimes rather than all the time. In that respect another game like last weekend where UNC lights up the scoreboard but the opposition does as well but to a lesser degree would not be surprising.
UNC 52 Miami 35