Ugly doesn't begin to describe it.
Miami's Duke Johnson ran for 177 yards, had 49 yards receiving and scored three touchdowns as the Hurricanes blew a 16-6 game open late in the first half on the way to a 47-20 win over the Tar Heels.
Anyone who has been paying attention recently knew Johnson would be difficult to stop for the Tar Heels. He ran roughshod over Virginia Tech last week for 249 yards and the Hokies, while banged up, could hardly be accused of being anywhere near what UNC's defense has been this season. Johnson versus UNC's defense was expected to be a rough afternoon for the Tar Heels and it played out that way. Johnson ran off big chunks early an often before popping off a 90-yard touchdown run to make it 24-6 late in the second quarter. The only bright spot for the defesne was Cayson Collins scooping up a Brad Kaaya fumble for a 39-yard touchdown return after Mike Bart had knocked the ball free.
As bad as the defense was, it got zero help from the other two phases of the game. Special teams had plenty of troubles with two botched snaps on punts that ultimately led to nine points. The first came with Miami up 7-0 and a clear miscommunication led to the snap sailing over Tommy Hibbard's head and through the end zone for a safety. The second snap snafu came in the second half on 4th and 22 on the Miami 49. The botched snap was recovered by Miami at the UNC 12-yard line giving the Hurricanes an easy scoring opportunity and a 44-6 lead. Even when UNC got on the scoreboard via the Collins fumble return, Nick Weiler missed the PAT.
Meanwhile, the offense had its worst yardage performance of the Larry Fedora era, managing just 259 yards of total offense. A good portion of that yardage came once the game was well in hand as evidenced by the Heels only having 57 yards at halftime. There was very little that went right for the Heels on the offensive side of the ball. Marquise Williams who had essentially been the hinge on which the Tar Heel offense swung was under duress all game long. There was rarely a clean pocket for Williams who also had trouble getting lanes to run and hitting receivers in rhythm. Miami's defense which has the speed and athleticism to match UNC's playmakers did exactly that.
The rushing game was non-existent with T.J. Logan and Romar Morris combining for 43 yards. The real issue was six Miami sacks which put UNC behind schedule on too many drives. The result was facing long yardage on third down and Williams unable to find receivers beyond the marker. On the day the junior quarterback was 22-32 for 191 yards and an interception. While the completion rate was fine, the absence of big yardage kept the offense stagnant.
Against Georgia Tech, UNC managed to overcome a poor defensive performance by going punch for punch with the Yellow Jackets. Last week, with the offense troubled by Virginia's defense, UNC relied on a key turnover, some trickery and a gift penalty from the Cavaliers to pull out a key win. This game was the worst case scenario. It was what happens when the Tar Heel offense is stymied and the defense follows the season long trend. It was ugly in every way and with a bye next Saturday, UNC has two weeks to think about it before welcoming the leading rusher in the ACC to Chapel Hill.