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Opponent Preview: Miami

The Heels travel to Miami to play the Hurricanes on 10 days rest.

Michael Shroyer

After their beat-down of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg the Hurricanes try to beat Carolina to secure bowl eligibility. The Hurricanes have not lost a game at home this year, a streak the Heels will try to end. Against the Hokies, Miami was dominant, giving the Hokies the type of home loss they rarely experience.

On offense Miami is an average team on a per game basis but stellar on yards per play. They average 430 yards per game on offense, 53rd in the country but 6.97 yard per play which is 8th . Of those yards, 242.4 are through the air and 187.4 yards per game on the ground. The Hurricanes are led by Freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya, the 23rd best quarterback in the country by passer rating with a rating of 153.0. Kaaya has thrown 17 touchdowns this season compared to only 9 interceptions and completed 61.6 percent of his passes. Kaaya has also only taken only 12 sacks all season. Kaaya is not a threat to run, his longest carry of the season is a one yard touchdown run, which is also his only touchdown run of the season. Kaaya has been especially sharp at home, throwing 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions at home this year. He has averaged 8.8 yards per attempt, the 15th best mark in the country, the Heels need to be careful in this game and try to prevent big plays in the passing game.

Against Virginia Tech the rushing offense of Miami was what stood out the most. Duke Johnson ripped the Hokie defense to pieces for 249 yards on 29 carries for an average of 8.6 yards per carry. Gus Edwards also had a big game in Blacksburg, with 115 yards on 20 carries, good for 5.8 yards per carry. The Hurricanes just lined up and ran the ball down Virginia Tech's throat for most of the game, something they will try to do against the Heels. Unless Carolina improves their run defense this game could be really ugly very quickly.

The Miami defense played by far its best game of the season in a shutdown performance in Blacksburg, holding Virginia Tech to 4.4 yards per play. Miami has the 15th best defense in the country in terms of yards per game, allowing only 319 yards per game. The defense has also forced 17 turnovers this season, 10 fumbles and 7 interceptions. The Miami defense is excellent against the pass, holding opponents to 171.6 yards per game and 5.6 yards per attempt, both are the 10th best marks in the country.

Weekly Assignments:

Keep the rush off Marquise Williams:

Virginia got a ton of pressure on Williams and that noticeably affected his game play throughout the game. Giving him time to throw and protecting him from hits will be important to performing well on offense.

Win the turnover battle:

Miami's offense will not need help from the Heels in moving the ball. The offense should avoid short fields and the defense should continue to be opportunistic.

Special Teams:

The field goal kicking this season has been abysmal but Nick Weiler did show that he can kick on onside kick very well against Virginia. The punting of late has been very good and kickoffs have been well executed. Ryan Switzer still needs to fair catch some more punts. He does need to get more involved in the return game, maybe by fielding kick offs.