Extra Motivation

It is usually difficult to win back-to-back road games. However, the Hurricanes have extra incentive to play well this week against the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Tar Heels strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh gave the ‘Canes that incentive when he ripped the Miami offense earlier this week. The East Tennessee State transfer called the Hurricanes offense the most simple he has seen and said Miami basically runs the same five or six plays over and over. Sensabaugh also said that Miami quarterback Brock Berlin was “all right” but he made mostly simple throws.

Sensabaugh’s comments were passed out to every Miami player after practice Tuesday in case the Hurricanes needed another reason to beat up UNC this weekend.

The Hurricanes should easily handle the Tar Heels, who are not exactly an ACC powerhouse. The ‘Canes play their second straight game in North Carolina and haven’t had any trouble on the road thus far.

Berlin is playing the best football of his career this season. In his last two road games, he threw eight touchdown passes.

“The last three games Brock has played really well and he has done a great job of running our football team and being a leader,” Head Coach Larry Coker said.

The Tar Heels are 3-4 on the season and 2-2 in the ACC. They got beat in Utah last week by 30 points and have struggled defensively. However, the Tar Heels are 3-1 at home this season, with their only loss against Louisville. They defeated NC State, Georgia Tech and William and Mary this season.

Offensively, the Tar Heels have shown that they can run the football. Jacque Lewis is averaging 7.1 yards a carry and has over 500 yards rushing thus far. He is complimented by Ronnie McGill, who averages 5.3 yards a carry. Overall, the two have combined for 739 yards and seven touchdowns.

The receiving burden falls squarely on the shoulders of Adarius Bowman, who leads the teams in receptions (18), yards (329), and touchdowns (three). If the Hurricanes are going to be successful, they have to contain the Tar Heels’ offense.

“They are strong on offense and we have to game plan to neutralize their strengths and exploit their weaknesses,” Coker said.

The Tar Heels defense should not be bragging about Miami’s simple offense when they are on pace to break the school record for yards allowed. They are next to last in the country in total defense, giving up an average of 504 yards a game.

The Hurricanes’ two-touchdown victory at NC State actually dropped them to No. 3 in the BCS standings. However, they believe that if they run the table, they will be playing in the Orange Bowl for the national title.

“I don’t know why we moved up to No. 2 and I don’t know why we dropped to No. 3,” Coker said. “All we can do is take care of our games and if we go undefeated, I feel strongly that we will be in the national title game.”

Darren Grossman can be contacted at d.grossman@umiami.edu.