‘Canes lose despite comeback

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The Miami Hurricanes mounted an improbable rally Saturday but could not overcome the Tar Heels, falling 33-27.

The loss was their first against former University of Miami head coach and current University of North Carolina head coach, Butch Davis.

With the loss, Miami falls to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 in ACC action. More notably their road record is 0-2.

The ‘Canes gained zero yards on their first offensive possession, setting the tone for the remainder of the first quarter. After the punt, the Tar Heels drove down the field for a touchdown on five plays, capped by a 39-yard run by running back Anthony Elzy for the score. Davis’ team would add two field goals before the end of the quarter.

The Hurricanes could not stop the bleeding in the second quarter as the Tar Heels blocked a Matt Bosher punt deep in Miami territory, which led to a touchdown. UNC finished their flawless half with a 54-yard touchdown run on a reverse to wideout Brandon Tate.

Miami went into the half shut out by UNC 27-0.

The third quarter looked like a completely different game, as a revived Miami offense opened the half with an impressive drive for a touchdown. The Miami defense looked possessed, allowing only 17 yards in the quarter and forcing a fumble that led to a fourth down touchdown reception by wide receiver Sam Shields.

On Miami’s next possession, quarterback Kyle Wright connected with Darnell Jenkins in stride for a 97-yard touchdown reception. In fewer than eight minutes of playing time, the ‘Canes had cut the Tar Heels’ lead to seven and seemed to be right back in the thick of it.

At the start of the fourth quarter, UNC kicked a field goal to extend the lead to 10. Miami got the ball back, but Wright threw an interception that led to another field goal. The Hurricanes put together one final drive, but Wright threw a fourth interception into a crowd of three Tar Heels defenders.

Despite Miami’s 411 offensive yards, the ‘Canes were unable to convert and made fatal mistakes. Each of Wright’s four interceptions came on first downs, stifling the offense’s chances of scoring. Francesco Zampogna went wide right on a field goal attempt in the first quarter and missed an extra point in the third.

Miami returns to the Orange Bowl on Saturday to face Georgia Tech in a must-win ACC matchup.

The Tar Heels had little to say about Miami’s efforts, but Davis made a point of commenting on Shannon’s work as head coach after the game.

“Randy and I have a lot of history together. Randy’s doing a really, really good job for [the Hurricanes] and he’s a good person.”

Zack Loss may be contacted at z.loss@umiami.edu.