Jacory Harris rebounded nicely throwing three touchdown passes after an early interception the second series of the game. Harris was much more efficient than in previous games. He was 21-for-32 with three touchdown passes and one interception. Harris was extremely comfortable in the second half. He fed off the run game’s success. He still didn’t have that pinpoint touch Hurricanes fans are used to seeing. He under threw Travis Benjamin on numerous routes and Benjamin was able to bail J12 out by making an adjustment on some poor throws. Put it this way though, it was a complete 180 degree turnaround from Harris’s performance last year against the Tar Heels when he threw four interceptions.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A-
Only blemish was a dropped ball from Laron Byrd on a pretty pass from J12 in the second half. Leonard Hankerson, Byrd, and Benjamin all had beautiful touchdowns. The effort was tremendous. Benjamin showed he could make adjustments and Aldarius Johnson almost made a top 10 grab. Tight end Asante Cleveland executed on a big fourth down conversion and has capitalized on all of his opportunities.
Running Backs: A
Excellent job all the way around. Damien Berry and Lamar Miller complemented each other nicely. Berry notched his fourth consecutive 100 yard rushing game. He is a bruiser and wears down defensive lines. Miller was dynamic on stretch plays to the outside and gave the powder blue and different look. Kudos to fullback Patrick Hill for picking up some key blocks to open up holes.
Offensive Line: B+
There were still penalties but this unit did a good job as a cohesive unit. Berry gave all the credit to Tyler Horn and the rest of the “big uglies” in the post game press conference. Harris was only sacked once and had plenty of time in the pocket when he did not choose to roll out.
Defensive Line: A
This was the Allen Bailey every fan expected to see on a consistent basis. The physical specimen played like an All-American has he tallied 3.5 sacks, more than doubling his total the first six games. Number 57 was ubiquitous on the grid iron which was a pleasure to see. Micanor Regis continues to open eyes with his strong play. The defensive line had five sacks total.
Secondary/Linebackers: A –
Brandon Harris and Ramon Buchanan each recorded their first interceptions this year. The play of the game was early in the first quarter with UNC leading 3-0 and threatening for more in the red zone. Sean Spence forced a fumble at the one yard line and Vaughn Telemaque scooped the pigskin up in the end zone and the momentum shifted from there. TJ Yates was just 12-for-21 with 140 yards passing. The only blemish was the 76 yard touchdown run by Johnny White. That was pitiful. But overall a solid job.
Special Teams: C
Another missed extra point was inexcusable by Matt Bosher. Bosher also had poor punts has he averaged only a shade over 35 yards per punt. On Miami’s opening drive Bosher should have pinned the ball inside the 20 instead of settle for the touchback. Benjamin and Cooper were not special on returns. Joe Pannuzio still has work to do.
Professor Antweil has been hard on Randy Shannon in the past. But he must give credit where credit is due. Still too many penalties and special teams woes but this team came out fighting. It was fitting coach Shannon got the game ball. It was his first win in his tenure against Butch Davis. You could tell this was an extra special victory for coach Shannon as the team had an extra pep in its step. There was energy and enthusiasm on the sideline and the team did not play down to its competition. North Carolina was depleted but Miami still beat them convincingly.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.