It was tricks not treats for the Tar Heels over Halloween weekend.
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The Tar Heel football team heads into a bye week with a bitter taste in the mouth following a 47-20 beating at Miami Saturday. UNC head coach Larry Fedora’s squad was thoroughly dominated in all three phases of the game.
Coach Fedora says UNC, now owning a 4-5 overall record and 2-3 mark in the ACC, didn’t do much right in Sun Life Stadium Saturday.
“They did a great job. They started a lot faster than we did. They pretty much won every phase of the game. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. They ran the ball on us, we couldn’t move the ball on them, and special teams were atrocious,” Coach Fedora says.
The Tar Heel offense had a season-low six yards rushing and quarterback Marquise Williams was continually battered in the backfield.
Falling behind big early, the Tar Heels were forced to abandon their multi-faceted offensive playbook and become one-dimensional – allowing the Hurricanes to concentrate all their efforts on the passing game.
Coach Fedora says it was a recipe for disaster.
“We gave up six sacks. We didn’t run the ball very good at all and got into a position that we were down so far that we had to throw it every down. That’s not what we’re built for,” Coach Fedora says.
The Tar Heel defense earned a dubious distinction in the process. Star Miami running back Duke Johnson’s 90-yard scoring run was the longest rushing play by a UNC opponent in school history.
To add insult to injury, the normally reliable special teams play was nowhere to be found as well. There were two errant snaps on what should have been routine punts.
Coach Fedora says he’ll use the bye week to shore up the cracks in the special teams armor.
“We’ll go back and evaluate what we’re doing with those kids and make sure that we get it corrected. That’s not very characteristic of the way we play on the special teams. I’m not sure what the reason was,” Coach Fedora says.
The Tar Heels have three games remaining on their schedule – Homecoming against Pittsburgh, a Thursday night contest at Coastal-leading Duke and a battle with N.C. State, who got off the ACC schneid last weekend, to wrap up the regular season.
UNC will need to win at least two of them to earn bowl eligibility. Coach Fedora says the team will get healthy in the bye week and then prepare to close the 2014 campaign strong.
“We need all the help and days we can get to get some extra work in. We’ll try to get some guys healthy, get them freshened up and make a run these last three games,” Coach Fedora says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-licking-wounds-heading-bye-week/
With the win, the Hurricanes improved to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in ACC action.
Duke Johnson went over the 3,000-yard mark for his career and scored three times despite getting most of the second half off. Miami freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya threw three touchdown passes to help guide his team by UNC.
Johnson had a 90-yard touchdown run that tied the Miami record for longest rush from scrimmage, and he finished with 177 yards on 19 carries for the Hurricanes. His one-yard scoring run opened the scoring and later, he turned a middle screen into a 37-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Kaaya completed 11 of 17 passes for 189 yards, and now has 20 touchdown passes in his freshman season. Clive Walford had two touchdown grabs, the first Miami tight end to do so since Greg Olsen in 2005.
Quarterback Marquise Williams had a pair of touchdown runs and Cayson Collins returned a fumble 39 yards for a score for UNC, but the Tar Heels struggled mightily to gain any traction against a motivated Hurricane bunch.
With Miami up 30-6 at halftime and leading 322-57 in total yards, it was practically over.
Johnson has had a rushing touchdown in each of his last eight games, the first Miami back to do that since Willis McGahee in 2002. And in his last five games, he’s racked up 843 yards on 97 carries.
It was the second straight week that Miami led by 24 at halftime. The Hurricanes have had that big a lead at intermission only once in their first 83 ACC games, before doing it last week against Virginia Tech and again Saturday. They’re in form.
Next up for the Tar Heels after a bye week comes a home game contest against Pittsburgh Nov. 15.
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Both teams harbor realistic hopes of an ACC Coastal division crown, but neither can afford a loss this weekend.
Miami is playing formidable football these days. Coming off two dominating wins over Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes currently sit as 17-point favorites in the betting lines.
But junior offensive guard Landon Turner says the Tar Heels are ready for the challenge. The Notre Dame game changed the team’s mindset.
“I think it [ND game] helped a lot. You play a high-caliber team like that and play very well. I think that spoke volumes and boosted our confidence up for the weeks to come. It was tough to lose. The loss hurt, but it was still healthy for us. We still came out of that game winning,” Turner says.
Miami’s star running back Duke Johnson has tallied a touchdown in seven straight games and has amassed 35 first downs in the past five outings. He’ll be a handful for the Tar Heel defense.
UNC head coach Larry Fedora says Johnson’s legs take pressure off the rest of the Hurricane offense.
“They’re getting better in the offensive line. They’ve got Duke Johnson and have the big kid behind him that comes in and does a great job. They’ve always had the guys that can fly on the outside. I think they’ve done a good job with the quarterback and bringing him along. It helps when you have an offensive line and Duke Johnson that can run the football like that to take some of the pressure off him so he doesn’t have to throw it all the time,” Coach Fedora says.
Miami’s freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya has matured greatly in the past few games, playing with a newfound sense of comfort and confidence. Earlier in the year, the young signal caller was prone to coughing up the football, but he’s cleaned up his act.
“You watch his film as he goes, and he’s more poised every week. I watched the TV copy of the Virginia Tech game. He handled every aspect of it just like a junior or senior. He wasn’t rattled by the noise or hype. He did a nice job of managing the team,” Coach Fedora says.
The Hurricane defense has been up and down in 2014, but Coach Fedora says their experience has allowed them to be a much more worrisome unit than in years past.
“Defensively, a lot of these guys were playing three years ago. I think they have six or seven seniors starting on the defense. I think out of the eleven guys, there’s one sophomore on the defense. You have some age and experience. They’ve been through the battles together. They’re playing well on defense,” Coach Fedora says.
As for the Tar Heels, UNC junior quarterback Marquise Williams says the offense must get off to a faster start this weekend.
“As an offense, we’ve got to start out much faster. This past Saturday, we started off too slow. We’re just going to keep playing our style of football – smart, fast and physical,” Williams says.
Coach Fedora says the keys to UNC’s success on Saturday will rest in special teams play and stopping the run.
“On special teams, we’re going to have to create another game-changing play. That’s going to have to happen. On defense, we’ve got to play with a lot of energy from the very beginning. We’ve got to stop the run. We’ve got to put the game on the freshman quarterback’s back,” Coach Fedora says.
Carolina leads the all-time series with Miami 9-8, but fell to the Hurricanes by a 27-23 margin in dramatic fashion a season ago. The two schools have battled to a 5-5 draw in their 10 games as ACC members since 2004.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/underdog-tar-heels-strive-survive-hurricanes/
No. 4 Miami got six scoreless innings from starter Bryan Radziewski and clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title with a 2-0 win over North Carolina Saturday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park. Zac Gallen was Radziewski’s equal for much of the day, allowing just two runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings and striking out six in a losing effort. Michael Russell had two hits for the Tar Heels, who finished the regular season 32-23 and 15-15 in the ACC.
Miami (40-15, 24-6 ACC) scored once in the first and once in the fourth against Gallen and the Tar Heels. Tyler Palmer reached on a one-out triple when his bloop to right got past a diving Tyler Ramirez, and David Thompson plated Palmer with a single up the middle.
Skye Bolt almost erased the second run of the day when his strike from center after a one-out fly ball beat Thompson to the plate. But Thompson’s clean, hard slide knocked the ball away from Korey Dunbar and the Canes had a 2-0 lead.
Carolina’s best chance came in the fifth, when Ramirez and Adrian Chacon reached on consecutive singles to open the frame against Radziewski. After a failed sacrifice attempt for the first out, Russell blooped a ball in front of Palmer in left to load the bases. But Miami’s redshirt junior lefty struck out Parks Jordan and Landon Lassiter swinging to end the threat and strand three.
Bolt led off the sixth with a double to left, but he was erased on a double play when Willie Abreu’s throw from left beat him to the bag at third.
Lassiter walked with two gone in the eighth to bring on Bryan Garcia, and the Miami closer got the final four outs of the game to end it and give the Canes the ACC regular season title.
Zach Rice entered the game for Carolina in the seventh and retired all five batters he faced to keep the game close.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/miami-claims-series-finale-tar-heels/
The North Carolina baseball team split a doubleheader with the No. 4 Miami Hurricanes Friday night after a dominating 11-2 win in game two of the series at Alex Rodriguez Park to improve to 32-22 overall and 15-14 in ACC action.
The Tar Heels rebounded impressively from a tough marathon 16-inning loss in 16 innings. Carolina scored in the top of the 16th on a Parks Jordan RBI single only to watch the Hurricanes rally for a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to snag the series opener. The game marked the longest contest for either team in 2014.
There was far less drama in the nightcap. The Tar Heels jumped all over the Hurricanes from the outset, scoring four runs in the first inning and eventually led 11-1 through four to give starting pitcher Benton Moss all the run support he could need.
Moss delivered a memorable performance by striking out nine batters and allowing just four hits en route to his fourth victory of the season.
Friday night’s win was Carolina’s third over a top-5 opponent this season. Next up for the Tar Heels comes the series decider at 12 p.m. Saturday. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-split-pair-friday-night-games-hurricanes/
The North Carolina baseball team, 31-21 overall and 14-13 in the ACC, is staring at its final series of the season when taking on the ACC-leading Miami Hurricanes, 38-14 on the season and 22-5 in conference, down in Coral Gables for a three-game set starting Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
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“When you’re 22-5 in this league, you’re really good. They are going to throw three left-handers at us who are really good. We’ve got our hands full. We’re certainly very capable of going down there and beating them. We’re going to have to play at a high level,” Coach Fox says.
The Hurricanes, ranked seventh nationally by Baseball America, are the hottest ballclub in the NCAA at the moment, winning 25 of their last 27 games.
The home field advantage will only make things more difficult for the Tar Heels. AlexRodriguezPark, with a seating capacity at 4,999, will surely be rocking this weekend as Miami attempts to clinch the ACC regular season title.
Despite most observers’ attentions being drawn to the struggling Carolina offense, Coach Fox insists it’s the defense and pitching staff that will ultimately decide UNC’s fate on the diamond.
“It’s still really the key for us. Everybody looks at our offense, but we didn’t pitch great against FloridaState. Still, on that defense, we’ll have some lapses at times,” Coach Fox says.
Senior Parks Jordan, who will graduate over the summer, has been an offensive bright spot for the Tar Heels in 2014, especially in recent times. Jordan was named ACC Player of the Week Monday.
“Parks has been really steady for us. Every single day he comes down to the ballpark with a really professional approach. He’s helped us win a lot of games,” Coach Fox says.
The Hurricanes hold a 30-24-1 all-time series advantage over the Tar Heels, including a head-to-head series lead of 19-9 in Coral Gables.
And just in case Carolina needed any extra incentive to win the Miami series this weekend, Coach Fox says he’d rather avoid the dreaded No.7/8 seeding next week in Greensboro that would force the Tar Heels into a playoff scenario.
A top six seeding would ensure an escape from the playoff. If the season ended now, Carolina would land in the No. 5 seeding slot, safe from the one-game elimination contest.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit unfair to our seventh seed and potentially, our eighth. Historically, those are teams that get into the NCAA Tournament. Now, you’re making them play one game on Tuesday, one-and-done. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out this year,” Coach Fox says.
Stakes are raised this time of the year. An ACC title, ACC Tournament seeding, NCAA Tournament placement and pride will all be on the line for the Hurricanes and Heels in scorching Miami beginning Thursday night.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/high-stakes-baseball-coral-gables-tar-heels-hurricanes-season-finale/
CHAPEL HILL – The No. 6 UNC women’s basketball team couldn’t bounce back from its loss to Syracuse, dropping its third ACC meeting, 83-80 to Miami Sunday afternoon.
In the early minutes, the recent loss looked to have carried over into Sunday’s matchup. The Hurricanes led by 19 with 6:22 to play in the first half. However, the Tar Heels went on a 10-0 run in the final 4:01 of the first to bring the game back to single digits.
Miami took the 42-36 lead into the locker room.
Carolina continued that run into the second half. The Heels went on a 9-2 run out of the break until the Canes halted the streak tying the game at 45 with a free throw.
It remained close until the final minutes. Miami pulled away again with :28 to play, 80-73. Scrappy defense kept Carolina in it in the final half minute with the Heels fighting for loose balls and winning the rebounding battle. The Hurricanes hit their free throws down the stretch, though, and took the 83-80 win.
Miami shot 20 points better than Carolina at 57 percent from the field; it also hit 82 percent of it foul shots compared to 52 percent from the stripe by UNC.
With the loss, North Carolina fell to 17-6, 5-3 in the ACC; Miami improved to 13-10, 5-5.
The Tar Heel women hit the road this week to face Georgia Tech on Thursday with the Duke road game just around the corner on Monday.
CHAPEL HILL– The No. 6 Tar Heel women’s basketball team, 17-4 on the season and 5-2 in the ACC, will be looking to rebound from the frustrating loss to Syracuse Thursday when they take on Miami Sunday at 2 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.
The Hurricanes, 11-10 overall and 3-5 in conference, are coming off a narrow one-point defeat the hands of No. 3 Duke. Carolina should expect another stern test.
“We’re not going to continue to dwell off the negatives. I’m going to get them in better spots on the floor. We play Miami on Sunday, I can’t look past Miami. Miami is very good, so we’ll be ready for Miami on Sunday,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
ACC Rookie of the Week Diamond DeShields will need to continue her fine play of late if the Tar Heels want to get back in the win column on a day that the 1994 National Championship team will be recognized on the 20th anniversary of the program’s first national title.
A majority of the players including Charlotte Smith and Stephanie Lawrence Yelton are expected to be in attendance.
The Tar Heels-Hurricanes contest will be broadcast on 97.9 FM, WCHL at 2 p.m.
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The Tar Heel offense was anemic for most of the night, but the aggressive 2-3 zone by the athletic Miami squad definitely contributed to the woes. In total, Carolina shot 31 percent from the floor.
The Hurricanes, improving to 9-6 overall and 1-2 in conference, slowed down the tempo, and executed a surgical offense for much of the contest while UNC continued its turnover struggles with some erratic play.
Rion Brown led the way for Miami with 15 points. Marcus Paige was a dreadful 2-15 from the floor for the Tar Heels and Joel James was ejected from the game in the first half with a flagrant foul.
James wasted no time making an impact in his return. He got to the free throw line and knocked down both attempts. And then he ignited the crowd with an up and under move to put the Tar Heels up 6-0 with 17:51 left on the first half clock.
Miami’s Donnavan Kirk responded soon after with an outside three-point jumper.
The energy and intensity was up from the outset on this night. At the under-16 timeout, Carolina held an 8-6 advantage over the Hurricanes.
Desmond Hubert fought his way to the foul line after the stop in play. He converted on one of two.
The Hurricanes battled out to a slim 10-9 lead, but Carolina’s Paige found nothing but net on a smooth three-point jumper. And Kennedy Meeks entered the scoring fray with a made slider inside to stake UNC ahead 14-13 with 11:20 to go in the half.
The pace of scoring slowed to a screeching halt for Carolina, and Miami was taking full advantage, garnering a 15-14 edge with 9:08 on the clock.
Tonye Jekiri picked up his second foul at the 8 minute mark. He was forced to take a spot on the Hurricane bench.
Nate Britt got his first points of the game with a deep two-point field goal to grab the lead back for the Tar Heels. But a freebie layup off a steal gave the lead back to Miami.
With 5:25 left in the first half, Miami held a 17-16 edge in a sloppy, back-and-forth affair in the Smith Center that had Coach Williams barking out orders courtside.
Isaiah Hicks hit a free throw and Paige hustled to get the rebound off the miss in the back court. Miami’s Rion Brown scored on the other end and continued his team-leading night in scoring early on.
Paige missed a three-point attempt from way out and the Tar Heels had only made three out of their last 18 shots to fall behind 21-17 with 3:24 remaining in the first half.
Meeks used his body well to earn a basket that closed Carolina within two. But Erik Swoope got one to go for the Hurricanes to extend back out the lead to four.
And a dagger three-pointer from Brown pushed Miami out in front even more. At the close of the half, the score stood at 29-23 in favor of the Hurricanes following a McDonald three.
Miami’s Rion Brown was leading all scorers with 11 points while Kennedy Meeks led the way for Carolina with 5 points.
UNC was shooting a woeful 29.6 percent from the floor in the first half. Miami was shooting at 37.9 clip.
To start the half, Paige knocked down a pair of foul shots to close the Tar Heels within four briefly before Kirk put the Hurricanes back up by six with 18:31 to go in the game.
James was thrown out of the game on a flagrant foul. The fans inside the Dean Dome were not too happy with ejection when it appeared James had no malicious intent.
Brice Johnson got his first points of the night with a turnaround jumper that placed the score at 34-27 with 17:05 left in the contest.
Carolina continued to be out of sync on offense, trailing 35-27 with 15:59 to go. Surprisingly, Miami had not managed to build a wider margin.
A beautiful slam by J.P. Tokoto woke up the snoozing crowd and encouraged a timeout by Miami Coach Larranaga with score standing at 35-31 in favor of Miami.
It marked the first time Carolina scored back-to-back field goals since it was up 8-0 in the first half.
Miami seized momentum back with a couple quick buckets to extend the lead out to 41-33 with under 12 minutes left in the game. Swoope was providing some nice energy inside for the Hurricanes.
McDonald banged in a long three to keep Carolina in the hunt, but Miami’s surgical offensive execution kept them in front 46-36 with 9:09 remaining.
McAdoo knocked a jumper in, and then followed that up with a trip to the foul line. He made one to get UNC within seven.
McDonald chipped in another score to get the Tar Heels within five, and Tokoto provided some more lift. UNC had closed the gap to 47-43 with 5:08 to play.
Jekiri converted on a slam on the other end to get the Miami offense going again. Kirk fouled out for the Hurricanes to send Johnson to the line. He flicked them both through the nets.
But McAdoo returned the favor to send Swoope to the line on a three-point play. Turnovers were doing the Tar Heels in towards the end of the game.
With 3:32 to play, timeout was called. Miami led UNC 52-45. The Tar Heels continued to battle on in the waning minutes, but it was a case of too little too late as Miami walked out of the Dean Dome with a victory for the second straight time.
You can view the final game box score here.
CHAPEL HILL– The 10-4 North Carolina men’s basketball team will be hoping to defend its home court Wednesday night against the 8-6 Miami Hurricanes.
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The Tar Heels dropped their ACC opener 73-67 at Wake Forest Sunday night while the Hurricanes lost to league favorite Syracuse in a tight contest, 49-44.
Head Coach Roy Williams says one of the most disappointing aspects of the Wake defeat was the free throw disparity.
“You know it’s a frustrating game. They shot 33 free throws. We shot 11. We get eight million offensive rebounds, but we can finish the play around the basket. It was just a frustrating game in so many different ways. But the bottom line is WakeForest played better than North Carolina,” Coach Williams says.
As a result, Coach Williams says Monday’s practice was the most physical the team has had all year.
“It was the most physical practice we’ve had for an hour all year long. They were beating each other up, and it didn’t bother me in the least bit. We’ve got be more forceful around the basket and finish plays,” Coach Williams says.
The Tar Heels committed 17 turnovers against the Demon Deacons. And Coach Williams says most of those were “silly turnovers.”
“We had four turnovers passing the ball from A to B where the defense was not involved. We had three turnovers just dribbling the basketball. […] So those were silly turnovers,” Coach Williams says.
It’s been nearly impossible to know which Carolina team will hit the floor on any given night this season. Coach Williams says he shouldn’t have to coach intensity and effort, but that’s exactly what it has come to for this group of Tar Heels.
“Some way, somehow, Roy Williams has got to do a better job of getting the kids more fired up and more enthused. I’ve always said I shouldn’t have to coach effort. I shouldn’t have to coach interest. I shouldn’t have to coach desire. […] But I’ve done a poor job of getting these kids fired up to play, and it better change,” Coach Williams says.
A tough road trip up to the Carrier Dome on Saturday to face the No. 2 team in the nation, the Syracuse Orange, looms for the Tar Heels.
But the Miami game comes first. UNC leads the all-time series with Miami 18-5, including a 9-2 mark in Chapel Hill. Tipoff is slated for just after 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Dean Smith Center.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-return-home-acc-opening-loss-face-canes-wednesday-night/