Miami hoped to bounce back from two straight losses as they began conference play at home against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday.
Yet, the Hurricanes lost another frustrating game, as the University of North Carolina (UNC) took them down at Hard Rock Stadium, 27-24.
UM now sits at 2-3, a disappointing start for a team that was ranked at the start of the season. Here are four takeaways from its loss against the Tar Heels.
The Offense Needs to Step Up
The box score would suggest that Miami’s offense had a respectable performance, scoring 24 points. However, the 538 yards that the ‘Canes produced suggest they should have scored more.
North Carolina entered the contest with statistically one of the worst defenses in the nation and Miami’s offense continually came up short on big opportunities.
The running game, which has been solid for most of the season, was ineffective on Saturday as it only averaged 1.8 yards per carry.
If Miami hopes to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference down the stretch, the offense will have to play much better.
The Defense Bounced Back
After an underwhelming performance against Middle Tennessee State and a shaky first half against the Tar Heels, Miami’s defense showed little signs of turning around.
In the second half, however, the defense held quarterback Drake Maye and the high-scoring North Carolina offense to only six points. It even gave the offense a chance to tie the game as it forced a punt late in the game with the ‘Canes down three.
The Hurricanes Continue to Shoot Themselves in the Foot
Miami turned the ball over twice on Saturday, which does not seem disastrous, but those two turnovers were as costly as could be. A fumble from running back Jaylan Knighton in the red zone ended a crucial drive for UM in the fourth quarter and a late interception by Van Dyke sealed the loss for the Hurricanes.
Even with the defense putting up a good fight in the second half, a 74-yard touchdown and many key missed tackles led to North Carolina jumping out to an early lead from which Miami would never return.
Self-inflicted errors have been a major problem for the Hurricanes this season and they will need to clean that up as their schedule gets more difficult as the season progresses.
This Team Needs More Time to Develop
Miami entered the season ranked 15th in the nation and it has become obvious that they are not yet ready to compete with some of the top teams in the country.
While the roster is talented, a new system under a new head coach will be an adjustment for any team. There have been flashes of what the Hurricanes could become.
Miami has had trouble putting together complete performances this season as it often finds itself down early and has to come back from a deficit.
Its next game will come against Virginia Tech on the road at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 15.