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UNC football: Players to watch vs. Miami

These Tar Heels must shine for a chance at the upset.

Virginia v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In his weekly press conference, Coach Larry Fedora spoke about the conversations he had with seniors this week about the legacy they want to leave since postseason hopes are long gone. The North Carolina Tar Heels still have important games on the schedule, and with the last conference home game this Saturday, it is the hope of those seniors that UNC will continue to fight and compete.

Individual efforts were a focus of Fedora’s in evaluating the performance of the Tar Heels last week. For an upset of No. 8 Miami, some individuals in blue and white will need spectacular efforts in a noon kickoff at Kenan.

Offense - Michael Carter and Jordon Brown

Virginia v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Once again this week, Tar Heel Blog is looking to the running backs to carry the offense. With inconsistent quarterback play and a depleted receiving corps, what other choice do we have?

Miami has a pretty good defense, ranking 49th in the nation at 369 yards allowed per game. Their pass defense puts them in the top 30 in passing yards allowed and and passing yards per completion.

In comparison, their rushing defense is ranked 85th in the country, allowing 4.19 yards per carry. However, the Hurricanes have only allowed three rushing touchdowns.

These stats, however, are not the primary reasons for looking to running backs Michael Carter and Jordon Brown.

Miami is ranked fifth in the nation in turnover margin at +8. The Hurricanes have recovered four fumbles and picked off the opposition eight times.

On the season, the Tar Heels have three more interceptions thrown than touchdown passes. With the recent impotence in the passing game, the running game should be the primary mode of attack for the UNC offense.

Carter’s efforts against Virginia gave the Tar Heels another second half lead this season. Carter and Brown were no match for the Virginia Tech defense, as they were held to 15 and 44 yards, respectfully.

For Carolina to have a chance against Miami, one of these guys must step up.

Defense - M.J. Stewart

NCAA Football: Virginia at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In the game against Virginia, M.J. Stewart was just inches away from making a potentially game-winning fumble recovery and touchdown. That play did not go Stewart’s way and the Tar Heels left Kenan Stadium with a six point loss.

Against Virginia Tech, Stewart was a busy man, recording seven tackles against an offense that threw for 202 yards and four touchdowns.

Stewart, a leader on the team, is one of those seniors that hope to continue to make a difference down the stretch.

This week, Stewart and the secondary will face a tough test against Miami quarterback Malik Rosier. He has passed for 1,715 yards on the season, averaging 285.8 per game and 8.01 per attempt. Rosier has completed 59.3 percent of his passes, thrown 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

Miami has been down to the wire in two of their last three games and held just a one point lead over Syracuse late in the fourth quarter last week. Turnovers are the key ingredient in an upset, and if the Tar Heels can get a takeaway or two from Miami’s most dangerous offensive weapon, something special might happen in Chapel Hill.