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Strong Second Half Gives No. 6 Miami 34-16 Win Over North Carolina

Strong Second Half Gives No. 6 Miami 34-16 Win Over North Carolina

Oct. 29, 2005

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MIAMI (AP) – Tyrone Moss’ father is an equipment operator for Deerfield Beach, a Broward County city hit hard by Hurricane Wilma.

Ronald Moss couldn’t get Saturday off because of the ongoing recovery effort. He missed quite a show.

His son rushed for career highs of 195 yards and four touchdowns, three scores after halftime as No. 6 Miami pulled away to beat North Carolina 34-16 on Saturday.

“I can’t sit here and take all the credit,” said Moss, who wasn’t used in the final few minutes and became the fifth Miami player to have four touchdowns rushing in a game. “You know, I just went out there and made some good reads. … Maybe one more play, I would have had that 200 yards.”

The Hurricanes trailed 16-7 at intermission, then scored three touchdowns in an eight-minute span of the third quarter to take control, setting up a showdown with unbeaten Virginia Tech next Saturday for control of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division.

“We know what type of players we have and we know what type of potential we have,” Miami quarterback Kyle Wright said. “If we go out and pass the ball successfully and run the ball successfully, I don’t care what they say, they’re not going to beat us.”

Moss scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, then added second-half scoring runs of 1, 4 and 15 yards to ensure Miami (6-1, 3-1) wouldn’t be upset by North Carolina for the second straight year. Quadtrine Hill recovered a punt he blocked in the end zone for the go-ahead score for Miami, which won its sixth straight.

Miami’s defense, which entered ranked No. 1 nationally but yielded 170 first-half yards, kept the Tar Heels to 18 total yards on 30 plays after halftime – 14 of those yards coming in the final minute.

“We played with a lot of emotion, then got kicked in the stomach in the third quarter,” Carolina coach John Bunting said. “It’s a tough one.”

Ronnie McGill rushed for 66 yards – he had 67 at halftime – and both touchdowns for North Carolina (3-4, 2-2). Trimane Goddard had two interceptions for North Carolina, which held Wright to 111 yards on 11-of-16 passing.

“We were focusing on running the ball more in the first half and we stuck with it,” said McGill, who Bunting said battled dehydration throughout the game. “In the second half, they blitzed about every play.”

Carolina missed a great chance to go up 23-7 late in the half, but a certain touchdown pass from Matt Baker skipped off Jarwarski Pollock’s outstretched hands; Pollock was wide-open in the center of the field.

“That could have been a momentum-changing play,” Bunting said. “Those are the things you need to beat a good team like Miami.”

The Hurricanes wore circa-1967, kelly green-and-gold throwback uniforms. In the first half, literally and figuratively, they looked nothing like their usual selves.

“I don’t know when’s the last time Miami had a terrible season and looked terrible on the field,” Miami coach Larry Coker said. “But that first half, that might have been a throwback to that time.”

North Carolina ran for 117 yards by halftime, with McGill opening the scoring on a 1-yard run. Moss’ 1-yard run tied the score at 7, but Carolina reclaimed the lead on a bizarre play.

Facing a third-and-5 from the Miami 35, Hurricanes center Anthony Wollschlager snapped the ball over Wright’s head. It squirmed back inside the 5 and was intentionally kicked out of the end zone by Miami left tackle Eric Winston – potentially saving a touchdown, but giving the Tar Heels a safety and a 9-7 lead.

The Heels eventually got their touchdown anyhow. On the ensuing drive, McGill scored from 7 yards, ending an easy eight-play, 50-yard drive to give his team a 16-7 advantage.

But from there, it was all Miami, which played its first home game since Hurricane Wilma struck, and storm reminders were everywhere at the Orange Bowl.

Miami’s ring of honor, bolted to the steel-faced second deck on the north side, was loosened by wind and removed. Some light towers had bulbs blown away, a few sections were cordoned off because of damage, and the scoreboard screen showing the visitors’ total was gone. Plus, the upper deck was emptied in the second quarter, with a few thousand fans moved to the lower bowl as a precaution because of gusty winds.

“I can’t put too much emphasis on the positive of a football game,” Coker said. “But it is a good diversion.”