UNC football entered today’s game with the goal in mind of putting a signature win in their résumé for a New Year’s Six bowl. It’s safe to say they got it and made quite a statement in the process in a blowout win over Miami. The offense was firing on all cylinders on their way to 62 points and 784 yards, the most a Hurricanes defense had ever (yes, ever) surrendered in a game. It had been 16 years since UNC beat a top 10 team, but they did it with an exclamation point today.
The running back duo of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams were the stars of the show, racking up 544 yards and five touchdowns in the game. It was clear early on that the Tar Heels were going to feed their running backs until the defense showed they could stop them and that just never happened. The contrast in ground games between the two teams was stark with UNC racking up 558 of their yards on the ground to Miami’s 75.
Carter eclipsed the 300-yard mark in the fourth quarter. It was the most rushing yards by teammates in FBS history. Carolina averaged more than a first down per rush attempt at 10.1 to drive home just how effective the duo was all game long. With his 22nd rushing touchdown of the year, Williams broke the school record for most rushing touchdowns in history. He broke a record that had stood since 1970 by Hall of Famer Don McCauley.
Sam Howell completed the trifecta of scoring touchdowns via throwing for one, passing for one, and running for one. His touchdown reception came on a surprisingly good throw from Rontavious Groves to kick off the 14-point fourth quarter that put a bow on what had been an offensive onslaught all afternoon.
Miami jumped out to an early lead with a field goal on their opening drive, but it was all Tar Heels the rest of the way. Carolina held them to 10 first half points and no more than one touchdown in any one quarter of the game.
The defense was led, as it often is, by Chazz Surratt with ten tackles. Clyde Pinder and Ja’Qurious Conley were responsible for two of the UNC sacks in the game. Jeremiah Gemmel had another strong performance with eight tackles (2.5 being for a loss) and true freshman Tony Grimes had an impressive interception in which he straight up stole the ball from the wide receiver. Gemmel and Tomon Fox split the third sack of the day.
It was exactly the kind of game you want to see your team have against a quality opponent to close out the regular season. It put the Heels in a very good position to go to a quality bowl like the Orange Bowl in Miami three weeks from now on January 2nd. This team continues to impress in their second season under Mack Brown and the future looks very bright.