Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
When: Saturday, October 23rd, 7:30 PM
Records: UNC 4-2, 2-1 ACC; Miami 4-2, 2-1 ACC
For both teams, any designs on winning the Coastal Division rest with this game. For UNC it is an even bigger imperative since the Heels already have one loss in the division. This would be a second and put them behind the eight ball where two divisional rivals are concerned. So to say this is a must win, well, in college football they are all pretty much must win games. Not to mention getting a win on the road is like taking money from...um...er....never mind.
The most prominent question coming into this game is how UNC adapts on offense to losing TE Zach Pianalto and facing the fourth ranked passing defense in the country. Pianalto was the team's leading receiver and a bit of a safety valve for T.J. Yates. In the passing attack he also was a player to be accounted for. Missing him means one less weapon the field for UNC facing a very good secondary. That likely means UNC will lean more on Johnny White and the running attack given Miami is not as strong in that aspect of their defense.
On the other side of the ball you have a UNC secondary which has played surprisingly well given it is missing two starting cornerbacks. The big disappointment is not having Kendric Burney for this game. Last season in Chapel Hill Burney wreaked havoc on Miami QB Jacory Harris snagging three INTs. It is what it is and the Tar Heel pass defense has still been very good. They kept ECU's pass happy offense in check and that was before Deunta Williams returned. One concern in the secondary is CB LeCount Fantroy's status which is doubtful for this game leaving the Heels a little shorthanded in the secondary.
LB Quan Sturdivant is still listed as questionable for this game and has been since he was injured. It would be nice to have Sturdivant but Kevin Reddick has done an outstanding job taking up the slack it nearly eliminates the concern. I said nearly. Getting Sturdivant on the field with both Reddick and Bruce Carter gives the Heels a lot of punch on defense. They are going to need it since I imagine this game could hinge on whether UNC can force turnovers and take advantage. Both teams are ranked top 20 in turnover margin. UNC has only had 9 turnovers in six games and most of those seem like they came in the first two games which no one could figure out how to snap the football.
If UNC wins, Butch Davis will be 4-0 versus his former team.
UNC 24 Miami 20