Commentary, Football, Sports

Miami Hurricane’s loss to North Carolina Tar Heels lends 3 lessons

Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya (15) lines up behind sophomore center Nick Linder (68) during the first half of the game against Clemson on Oct. 24. The offensive line continued to struggle in protecting Kaaya during Saturday's 59-21 loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Joshua Gruber // Contributing Photographer

Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya (15) lines up behind sophomore center Nick Linder (68) during the first half of the game against Clemson on Oct. 24. The offensive line continued to struggle in protecting Kaaya during Saturday’s 59-21 loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Joshua Gruber // Contributing Photographer

The Hurricanes’ embarrassing 59-21 loss to No. 23 University of North Carolina (UNC) was a brutal learning experience. The blowout put Miami’s dreams of an ACC Coastal title to rest and handed the team its first defeat under Interim Head Coach Larry Scott. Much like the game against Clemson three weeks ago, the Tar Heels got off to a fast start while the Hurricanes came out completely flat. To put it bluntly, Miami (6-4, 3-3) was outplayed in every aspect of the game.

Here are a few things we learned on Saturday.

Miami can be its own worst enemy

The Tar Heels certainly deserved to win the game on Saturday, but if anything, the Hurricanes’ wounds were self-inflicted. Miami had three costly turnovers in the first half: the first was a fumble recovery from a bad snap that flew over sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya’s head, the second was an interception that was returned for 60 yards deep into Miami territory and the third was a Kaaya fumble deep in UNC territory. The Tar Heels capitalized on those opportunities, scoring two touchdowns off the takeaways.

Turnovers weren’t the only problem that plagued the Hurricanes on Saturday. As a team, they were flagged 12 times for 103 yards. The negative yardage cost them field position and ruined drives. Although turnovers were not an issue earlier in the year for Miami, penalties have been a nagging problem for the Hurricanes all season, as the team leads the nation averaging 84.9 penalty yards a game.

The offensive line is a major weakness

The Hurricanes knew the young offensive line was going to struggle this season with four new starters. Junior guard Danny Isidora is the only starter to return from last year’s team and the group as a whole entered the first game with 22 combined starts. The line has consistently failed to protect Kaaya or to create holes for running backs Joe Yearby and Mark Walton.

Clemson only rushed two defenders on the Shaq Lawson sack that gave Kaaya a concussion three weeks ago, which resulted in redshirt freshman Malik Rosier starting against Duke. Rosier got injured in his first series against the Blue Devils and was evaluated in a Durham-area hospital after the game. Then on Saturday, Kaaya was sacked twice – one leading to a fumble – and received a high snap from sophomore center Nick Linder that North Carolina recovered. Kaaya and Yearby have still had solid seasons, but the offensive line needs to improve for the offense to fire on all cylinders.

North Carolina is for real

Much like the Clemson game showed the nation that the Tigers – now the consensus No. 1 ranked team – were playoff contenders, North Carolina’s drubbing of Miami proved that the Tar Heels are an elite team. North Carolina (9-1, 6-0) can even be a dark-horse candidate for a playoff spot if the team takes down Clemson in the ACC Championship. They have a complete roster full of talent and experience. Offensively, senior quarterback Marquise Williams can make plays and has a stable of skilled players to distribute the ball to.

On defense, the Tar Heels excel at stopping the pass. North Carolina only allows an average of 176.1 passing yards per game, 11th best in the country out of 128 teams. If the Tar Heels win one of their final two games to clinch the Coastal, they will pose a serious threat to Clemson in the ACC Championshi

 

November 15, 2015

Reporters

David Cline


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami football great Cortez Kennedy, a Pro Football Hall of Famer remembered for his w ...

The Hurricanes are still alive in their quest to make it to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. ...

When Edgar Michelangeli stepped up to bat on Saturday, there was pressure. So much pressure. There w ...

On a day when the newest University of Miami football players – including heralded prep quarterback ...

How much does 44 years of history weigh? That is what these Miami Hurricanes baseball players carry ...

Victor Oquendo, BSC ’09, is following in his parents’ footsteps. ...

The Rosenstiel School’s final lecture of the 2017 Sea Secrets series focused on using science diplom ...

Researchers believe they have found a new way to monitor the intensity and location of hurricanes fr ...

The University of Miami welcomed nearly 3,800 new graduates into the UM alumni family during six cer ...

Speakers urge UM’s graduating students to use their skills and talents to make a difference. ...

Joe Gomez drove in the winning run after Andrew Cabezas pitched 6.1 no-hit innings of relief. ...

University of Miami women's golf sophomore Dewi Weber was selected as a Second Team All-America ...

Miami's Estela Perez-Somarriba will take on No. 64 Ana Oparenovic Wednesday at 8 a.m., while Si ...

Dee Delaney is eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer from The Citadel, where he was na ...

Joe Gomez played the role of Hurricane hero Tuesday , lifting sixth-seeded Miami to a 6-5 win over 1 ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.