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UNC Football: Carolina improves to 5-1 after late-game interception seals win over Miami

U? Down.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Miami Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Not all games are going to be easy going, and today’s UNC game against Miami was certainly not that. The final result seemed very much in doubt right until a timely interception by DeAndre Boykins gave the Tar Heels a 27-24 win.

Drake Maye looked a little more mortal against the Hurricanes, especially when he was sacked five times and threw two picks. He did throw for 309 yards in the winning effort, but it certainly wasn’t his most polished performance. Maye did find Josh Downs for an absolutely incredible touchdown while falling backwards. Downs put a couple nifty moves on the defenders to get in for the score.

Carolina did an excellent job milking the clock late in the fourth quarter with an 81-yard drive that ate up over eight minutes of clock before UNC elected to kick a field goal to make it a 10-point game. Mack Brown has been rather adventurous with his play calling, going for it in all kinds of fourth down situations, but he chose to take the nearly guaranteed points of the chip shot over trying to put another touchdown on the board.

The defense struggled to contain the Hurricanes as they marched down the field to bring the game to within three with just over two minutes remaining in the game, Miami went for an onside kick that was initially — somehow — ruled as a recovery by the Hurricanes. It was clear to pretty much everyone except the referees on the field that the Miami player stepped out of bounds before tipping the ball back into the field of play, but it took a few heart-pounding seconds before the review was initiated.

With pressure on Maye and the Carolina offense to try and put things away, there was nothing doing. It gave the ball back to Miami with just over one minute remaining down three points. Van Dyke went into rush mode with just about 20 seconds on the clock when the receiver failed to get out of bounds. Rushing rarely leads to good decisions, and it certainly didn’t this time around. Boykins found himself in the right place at the right time for an interception to seal the deal for Carolina.

Although Carolina was able to nearly completely shut down the Miami ground game in all four quarters, Tyler Van Dyke was able to get pretty much anything he wanted through the air. The Hurricanes racked up 289 yards through the air in just the first half and 496 overall. Altogether, they amassed just 41 yards on the ground. No matter, though, because it just happened to be enough for the victory.

The win moves UNC to 5-1 atop the Coastal Division after Duke’s loss to Georgia Tech. Carolina will make the short trip to Durham next weekend for a primetime game against the Blue Devils.