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UNC vs #14 Miami

Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Saturday, November 14th, 3:30 PM
Records: UNC 6-3, 2-3 ACC; Miami 7-2, 4-2 ACC

Focus people! There is still football to be played!

UNC hosts Miami and with it we get gratuitous helpings off Butch Davis vs his old team, blah, blah, blah. Davis is 2-0 versus Miami, winning last season when Trimane Goddard stole the ball from a Miami WR in the end zone to conclude the game. UNC needs but one win to reach bowl eligibility for the 2nd straight season. Miami is hoping to stay alive in the Coastal(something that will be decided during the noon Georgia Tech-Duke game) and keep a remote shot at a BCS Bowl game as the ACC's 2nd representative.

UNC comes into this came riding a hot defense. The word in the preseason is the defense would be good and that has been true for most of the first half of the season save the 2nd half of the FSU game. Against Virginia Tech and Duke, that defense stepped it up to another. UNC held the Hokies to just 95 yards rushing and Duke to 113 yards passing. Miami has the 46th ranked offense in the country which means there is an opportunity to really shutdown the Hurricanes in this game, especially their running game which is only ranked 75th. Miami QB Jacory Harris is talented throwing 18 TDs so far this season but also mistake prone as indicated by his 12 INTs. Given UNC's offensive woes and the fact the running game took a major hit when Shaun Draughn went out, holding Miami to as few points as possible is paramount. While that is generally sound advice in football, it is even more so for an offense that cannot be relied upon to score enough points.

Speaking of the offense. Ryan Houston will be the primary running back, we know this much. Anthony Elzy has been tabbed to picked up the rest of the carries in relief of Houston. What will that look like? I have no idea but Elzy is one player who has the talent to do more than he has shown so far this season. Perhaps this will be his chance to shine. Recently, UNC has relied on various gadget looks, misdirection plays and handoffs to WRs for runs around the ends. Duke did a decent job of snuffing some of those out leading John Shoop to just run Houston up the middle smashmouth style. Miami has plenty of speed on defense so it will be interesting to see what UNC can reasonably get by with running the football. Miami has a fairly average pass defense with only six INTs on the year. If T.J. Yates can muster some accuracy, the Heels might find some yards passing the football but I am not holding my breath on that one.

This is not necessarily a must win for UNC. There are still two winnable games left. However, given all the crap this team has been through, getting to eight or possibly nine wins, would be nothing short of a miracle. Roy Williams set the tone for the weekend and it would be nice to see Butch Davis continue it by extending his win streak of Miami.

UNC 21 Miami 20