It seemed like Miami was finally going to get the upper hand on the North Carolina Tar Heels. After relenquishing a double-digit lead with under 10 minutes remaining, a pass from redshirt freshman Robert Marve seemed right on target for wide receiver Kayne Farquherson.
But close wasn’t enough, as the pass deflected right to safety Trimane Goddard, and Miami lost to North Carolina 28-24 for the second year in a row and the first time at Miami since 1957.
Junior quarterback Cameron Sexton capped a fourth quarter comeback with a 14-yard touchdown strike to Brooks Foster in the corner of the end zone with under a minute remaining, giving them their first lead of the game.
Quarterback Robert Marve gave the Hurricanes hope on their final drive when his 29-yard completion to receiver Kayne Farquharson set up the Hurricanes at the Tar Heels’ 20-yard line.
But on the final play of the game, Marve’s pass went off the hands of Farquharson and was intercepted by safety Trimane Goddard, leading to a Tar Hell on-the-field celebration for the Canes ACC opener.
The Hurricanes appeared to be in great position at the start of the fourth quarter when Marve connected with Aldarius Johnson to give the Canes a 24-14 lead.
Miami’s defense faltered when it mattered, allowing the Tar Heels to come back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit.
Sexton sparked the rally by answering the touchdown, finding Hakeem Nicks over the middle of the field for a 74-yard touchdown, which cut the lead to three.
The Tar Heels were in shape to tie or take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but freshman cornerback Brandon Harris stepped up with a critical sack on third down to stall the drive. Although kicker Jay Wooten missed from 53-yards on the ensuing play, the Tar Heels shut down the Hurricanes on the following series to get the football back.
The result: Sexton hooking up with Foster, giving the Tar Heels the 28-24 lead and victory.
The Hurricanes, looking to avenge a 33-27 loss last season at the hands of the Tar Heels, got off to a fast start and led 14-0 in the second quarter.
Running back Graig Cooper had a strong performance, rushing for 110 yards on the ground, and he also hauled in an 11-yard touchdown catch.
Cooper tore off a 31-yard run which keyed an eight play, 89-yard drive on the opening drive of the game, which resulted in a Farquharson 9-yard catch for the score.
Marve finished the game 18-for-27 with three touchdown passes and two interceptions.