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24 September 2008

Canes look to get even with Davis’ Tar Heels

Sophomore running back Graig Cooper carries the ball for a touchdown against Charleston Southern University last month. File Photo by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff.

The goal for the Miami Hurricanes was to come away with at least two wins in their first three games.

Mission accomplished.

Now it’s the time for the Hurricanes to turn their full attention to ACC play, as they will host North Carolina on Saturday. After turning to the road for two of their first three, the Canes will play four of their next five games at home.

Both teams enter the contest at 2-1, and both are looking to kick off their ACC schedule with a win.

Dating back to 1946, the Tar Heels hold a slim 6-5 series lead over the Canes, but the Canes look to tie up the series and get back to winning ways against the Heels.

Last year North Carolina defeated the Canes 33-27, crumbling the chances for the Canes to enter the top 25. The Tar Heels scored 27 straight points in the first half and fought off a comeback by the Hurricanes in the second half.

This year Miami is once again on the cusp of entering the top 25 and know that they have a tough test ahead of them.

“We have a big challenge ahead of us,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge as a team. It’s our first conference game playing against a guy I really respect as a head coach and as a person, Coach Butch Davis.”

This will be Coach Davis’ first trip back to South Florida to coach a collegiate game. Davis has plenty of respect for the team he once coached and compiled a 52-20 record with.

“They are so explosive,” said Davis, who coached the Canes from 1995 to 2000. “They destroyed Texas A&M. It’s an ACC game against one of the best football teams I’ve seen this year.”

The Hurricanes are coming off a victory where they pummeled Texas A&M, 41-23, at Kyle Field. The Hurricane offense accumulated 398 yards against the Aggies.

Miami proved that it can be very explosive, as it had offensive touchdown drives that lasted only 35 seconds, 27 seconds and 8 seconds last week.

The Tar Heels are coming into the game having dropped their first game of the season against Virginia Tech, 20-17, last week. North Carolina suffered a key loss with quarterback T.J. Yates suffering a small fracture in his left foot. The Tar Heels will now turn to redshirt freshman Mike Paulus or Cameron Sexton.

The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have finally found a productive quarterback in Robert Marve. Marve received his first win last week, after completing 16 for 22 for 212 and two touchdowns.

Marve is excited to participate in his first ACC game against North Carolina.

“Everyone keeps talking about ACC, well the ACC is here now,” Marve said. “It’s going to be a great game. We’re going to have to be ready to play. It’s a big deal.”

The huge task for the Hurricanes is to contain North Carolina’s wide receiver Brandon Tate. Tate leads the nation with 265 all-purpose yards per game and is second with 28 yards per punt return. Special teams and the defensive backs will have to limit Tate from doing damage any significant damage.

The Hurricanes feel eager to return home and play a tough ACC foe, and they seem to be geared up for the challenge.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us,” freshman wide receiver Aldarius Johnson said.  “They’re good. We’re going to try to get this win. It’s good to be back at home and have the fans behind us.”