CFB Football Previews – Miami Hurricanes vs North Carolina Tar Heels
Miami almost pulled off a major statement win at Virginia Tech last week but fell just short, losing a 38-35 heartbreaker. Next up, the ’Canes face another difficult test on the road against a 5-1 North Carolina team. Was last week as close as it gets for Miami or was it a preview of a triumph to come this week?
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NCAAF Week 7: Miami vs North Carolina
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011
Venue: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels Betting Lines from BetUS.com
Money Line: OFF
Spread: North Carolina -3
Miami Hurricanes (2-3)
Is Miami the best 2-3 team in the country? It’s a fair argument. The Hurricanes led Virginia Tech on the road before a Logan Thomas touchdown run in the final minute gave the Hokies a narrow win.
Miami made a pretty big statement against a good defense, totalling 519 yards of offense, including 236 rushing yards. I’ve never been the hugest Jacory Harris fan but he proved last week that he truly is better than backup Stephen Morris, going 13 of 21 for 267 yards and three scores. Tailback Lamar Miller ripped off 166 rushing yards and continues to impress.
It was a bit surprising to see Miami’s athletic defense struggle to contain the green Thomas, the totalled five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) in a breakout game. I would’ve expected Miami’s offense to sink them in that game – not its “D.”
North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1)
At 5-1, UNC is probably one win away from vaulting into the national top 25. It hasn’t been flashy but the Tar Heels have relied on a solid, bend-but-don’t-break defense that ranks 19th in the country with just 18.5 yards allowed per game.
Quarterback Bryn Renner appears ahead of schedule as T.J. Yates’ successor, having completed 74.4 per cent of his passes for 1,305 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions so far this season.
UNC’s only loss this season came against unbeaten Georgia Tech, which did its usual thing and beat the Tar Heels with 312 yards of rushing.
Though the Hurricanes didn’t get the win last week, they delivered if you picked them against the spread. While the Miami’s defense didn’t deliver last week, I’d argue that UNC’s offense is less dangerous than Virginia Tech’s. I’d also argue that Miami’s defense is better than anything North Carolina has faced so far this year.
The loss to Georgia Tech showed that UNC can be run on. I expect Miami to take that principle to heart, lean heavily on Miller, and win on the road this week with the ground game and a better defensive effort.
Miami vs North Carolina prediction: Miami 30, North Carolina 27
Money Line: OFF
Spread: Miami +3
Over/Under: OVER 50.5
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