Coming off a much-needed victory last week against Pitt, the UNC football team had a chance Thursday night to measure its progress against the No. 16 Miami Hurricanes on the road under the national television spotlight.
After a strong start, however, turnovers proved costly as the Tar Heels came up on the wrong end of a 47-10 blowout.
After taking a 3-0 lead following a promising opening drive, UNC (1-3, 1-1 ACC) appeared as if it had turned over a new leaf on the offensive side of the ball.
With the exception of a touchdown drive late in the first quarter capped by a beautiful 17-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Chazz Surratt, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Prior to Surratt’s touchdown, Miami (4-1, 1-0 ACC) sacked UNC starting quarterback Nathan Elliott, forced a fumble and returned it all the way for a touchdown to take a 14-3 lead—the first of three defensive scores in the game for the Hurricanes.
The Tar Heels ended up turning the ball over a whopping six times in what quickly went from a competitive affair to a game where one team appeared severely overmatched.
Although Surratt’s return from suspension initially provided a lift in the running game, UNC’s two-quarterback approach was unable to get into a rhythm after the first quarter.
Elliott finished the night 16-for-25 with 104 yards through the air, while Surratt completed only four of his 10 attempts for a measly 10 yards—despite contributing 69 yards on the ground.
For Tar Heel head coach Larry Fedora, it was yet another night to forget as his team struggled mightily under the primetime spotlight.
Looking on the bright side, this was a game not many people truly expected UNC to have a chance at winning. The final score was certainly a bit extreme, but the turnovers played a large role in that.
Defensively, the Tar Heels forced a pair of turnovers right after halftime that gave the offense a chance to mount a comeback.
Of course, that didn’t happen, but UNC can still be pleased with the play of sophomore tailback Michael Carter—who led the team with 75 rushing yards on just seven carries in just his second game back from injury.
Negatives far outweighed the positives, however, which ultimately contributed to the final margin of victory.
With the team’s second bye week in less than a month on the horizon, it will be up to Fedora and the coaching staff to try and correct the mistakes entering the final two-thirds of the season.
The Tar Heels will be off next week, before returning to action on Saturday, Oct. 13 when they host Virginia Tech at Kenan Stadium.
- Miami scored the game’s final 33 points.
- UNC gained 24 first downs on offense, while limiting Miami to just 14.
- The Hurricanes averaged 7.7 yards per play in the game, but ultimately needed only 46 snaps to get the job done.
- Miami also limited UNC star wide receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams to just 33 yards on two catches.
Cover photo via Wilfredo Lee (Associated Press)