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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Miami

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The numbers for UNC-Miami

When UNC has the ball

UNC(Offense) Miami(Defense)
Points per game 40.1 26.9
Yards per game 495.9 410.0
Yards per play 7.64 5.76
Passing yards 290.6 217.9
Passing YPA 10.1 6.5
Rushing Yards 205.33 192.1
Rushing YPA 5.7 5.1
Turnovers 9 18
3rd Down Conv. 47.52% 35.7%
4th Down Conv. 55.56% 45.5%
Red Zone Conv. 88.10% 87.9%

When UNC is on defense

UNC(Defense) Miami(Offense)
Points per game 18.6 28.8
Yards per game 377.4 403.2
Yards per play 5.12 6.0
Passing yards 159.4 277.3
Passing YPA 5.5 8.0
Rushing Yards 218.0 125.9
Rushing YPA 4.86 3.9
Turnovers 17 8
3rd Down Conv. 41.91% 36.9%
4th Down Conv. 57.14% 60.0%
Red Zone Conv. 78.57% 83.7%

UNC's 66 point performance versus Duke was enough to push the Heels back over 40 ppg. UNC is also second nationally in yards per play and are five yards short averaging 500 yards per game. That offense will try to keep it rolling against a Miami defense ranked 84th in yards per play allowed. On the season Miami has allowed less than 400 yards just twice vs Florida Atlantic and Virginia Tech. In road games, the Miami defense has been markedly worse surrendering 6.17 yards per play versus 5.41 at home. However if there is a place where the Miami defense gives you pause it's the turnover forced. The Hurricanes have 18 takeaways on the season, 12 via interception. That is just one better than UNC's 17.

On the defensive side for UNC, the Tar Heels are coming off the worst performance of the season with Duke going over 500 yards of total offense. UNC had not allowed a team to go over six yards per play all season until Saturday and the two 50+ yard runs by Duke was almost as many(2) as UNC had allowed all season to that point(3). The issue for UNC is despite some paltry rushing numbers the Hurricanes have running backs that can do damage. Miami also has a passing game led by Brad Kaaya who will be the best quarterback UNC has faced all season. While UNC is one of the best passing defenses in the country, the pass rush leaves a lot to be desired. Giving Kaaya too much time would allow him to carve up the UNC secondary regardless of how well the Tar Heel defensive backs have played this season.

For the most part Miami does a great job protecting Kaaya who isn't highly mobile but has only been sacked 13 times this season. UNC will need to generate some pass rush in order to keep Kaaya from giving Miami a 15-501 sweep in two visits to North Carolina.