Recap and More: 'Canes Blow Past Heels
MIAMI (AP)–Sean Spence and Brandon Harris danced toward the sideline in such exaggerated celebration that they drew penalty. Randy Shannon chest-bumped 310-pound left tackle Orlando Franklin. Allen Bailey shook his fist and screamed at no one in particular.
No, it wasn’t the old days of bad-boy Miami football.
But the Hurricanes showed plenty of fire–and got a win that saved their Atlantic Coast Conference title hopes.
Jacory Harris threw three touchdown passes to move into second place on Miami’s career list, Damien Berry ran for his fourth straight game of 100-plus yards and the 25th-ranked Hurricanes scored the game’s last 30 points to easily beat North Carolina 33-10 on Saturday night.
“They challenged each other to step up and make plays,” said Shannon, the Miami coach who beat North Carolina for the first time in four tries. “I think that’s one thing about this football team–guys are starting to develop a mentality of what we’re trying to get done. The great teams and the great players step up and challenge each player.”
Berry finished with 109 yards and a touchdown for the Hurricanes (5-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). LaRon Byrd, Travis Benjamin and Leonard Hankerson had touchdown catches for Miami and Spence forced a key fumble in the opening quarter to deny North Carolina a touchdown.
Johnny White had a 76-yard touchdown run for North Carolina (4-3, 2-2), the longest carry for the Tar Heels in more than nine years. White’s score gave North Carolina a 10-3 lead in the second quarter, before Miami took over and denied the Tar Heels’ bid for their first five-game winning streak since 2001.
“We never got a good handle on the running game,” North Carolina coach Butch Davis said. “They kept us off-balance with the run and the play-action pass. They played well.”
Jacory Harris completed 21 of 32 passes for 217 yards for Miami. T.J. Yates was 12 of 21 for 140 yards and two interceptions for North Carolina, which got 85 yards from White and 71 more from Shaun Draughn.
Miami sacked Yates five times, a season-worst for North Carolina–with Allen Bailey getting credited for 3 1/2 of them.
“The formula when you play against Miami is you don’t want to play from behind,” Davis said. “They’ve got some great defensive linemen who can put pressure on your quarterback.”
Miami had lost to North Carolina in each of the past three seasons, and picked a good time to finally end that streak. The win moved the Hurricanes into outright possession of second place in the Coastal Division, a game behind Virginia Tech–while everyone else in the division now has at least two conference losses.
“We control our own destiny,” Brandon Harris said. “We know that.”
Jacory Harris increased his career total to 50 TD passes. He came into Saturday tied for fourth on the career list with Gino Torretta, then passed Vinny Testaverde and Steve Walsh (both of whom had 48) when Benjamin made an acrobatic play for a score early in the third quarter. Benjamin leaped for a catch while getting hit, never going to the ground, then spun and ran into the end zone.
From there, the Hurricanes started to roll.
Yates came into the night leading the nation in lowest interception percentage; his streak of 95 straight passes without getting picked off ended when Miami’s Brandon Harris had a takeaway to end the ensuing Tar Heels’ drive.
Yates threw another interception to Ramon Buchanan early in the fourth, and Berry plunged in from 2 yards out seven plays later to wrap things up for Miami.
“Big win,” Spence said. “Very important win.”
North Carolina struck first, settling for a 19-yard field goal from Casey Barth on its opening drive even though Yates had completions of 34 and 26 yards on consecutive plays. And when Jacory Harris was intercepted by Da’Norris Searcy on the first play of Miami’s ensuing drive, the Hurricanes seemed to be reeling.
Davis apparently sensed the same, and a fourth-down sneak by Yates gave North Carolina a first down at the Miami 9. Yates connected on the next play with Anthony Elzy, who appeared to be headed toward a score–until Spence knocked the ball free, Vaughn Telemaque caught the carom in the end zone, and Miami escaped unscathed.
“Definitely changed the momentum,” Shannon said.
White made at least a half-dozen Miami defenders miss while breaking loose on the long touchdown run that was North Carolina’s longest carry since Sept. 1, 2001, a span of 4,054 carries according to STATS LLC.
But Byrd’s 6-yard touchdown catch gave Miami a 13-10 lead at intermission, and the Hurricanes controlled the second half.
“When we forced that fumble in the end zone and covered it, that changed the whole demeanor of the game,” Brandon Harris said. “It stopped the game from turning in the wrong direction for us.”
And probably the season, too.
The Hurricanes are now 37-19-1 all-time versus teams from the state of North Carolina, including a 13-5 mark since joining the ACC in 2004. Miami snaps a three-game skid to North Carolina, although the Tar Heels still lead the series, 8-6.
BERRY JOINS ELITE COMPANY
Berry added his team-high fourth rushing touchdown of the season to put Miami up 32-10 in the fourth quarter. He has scored a TD in three straight and in four of the last five games.
MOVING ON UP
In addition, Harris has moved him into third place all-time in Miami’s career passing yardage list with 6,108 yards.
I’LL TAKE THAT
Ramon Buchanan joined in on the action in the fourth quarter – picking off Yates for his first career INT. Miami is the first team to record multiple interceptions of Yates since Nov. 20, 2009, when he threw three interceptions at Boston College.
The Hurricanes now have 14 interceptions in seven games this season – surpassing their nine in 13 games in 2009.
Sophomore safety Vaughn Telemaque recorded his fifth turnover and his second fumble recovery of the season, taking possession in the Carolina endzone in the first quarter. He has tallied a turnover in four-straight games.
The Hurricanes entered this evening’s game leading the nation in tackles for loss per game (9.5) and ranking fourth in the nation in sacks (3.33).
Colin McCarthy led Miami’s defense with seven tackles, while Bailey added six.
Miami limited North Carolina to just 289 yards of total offense – keeping the Tar Heels to their second-lowest production of the season.
Tonight also marks the third time this season Jacory Harris has thrown three-or-more touchdown passes.
HANKERSON EXTENDS STREAK
THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS
Freshman Eduardo Clements returned the ball a career-long 29 yards in the second quarter. It was his third 20-plus yard return of the season.
Starting for Miami on defense was: Olivier Vernon (DE), Micanor Regis (LT), Marcus Forston (RT), Allen Bailey (DE), Colin McCarthy (LB), Sean Spence (LB), Brandon Harris (CB), Vaughn Telemaque (FS), JoJo Nicolas (SS), Ryan Hill (CB), Ramon Buchanan (LB).
Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon
“Real big win for us tonight; it was huge. We’re taking the next step in the Atlantic Coast Conference, playing North Carolina really was a big victory for myself and this whole University. Being 0-3, playing against North Carolina, and having an opportunity to come back on national TV and respond in the way we did tonight was unbelievable. A lot of credit goes to these football players who are responding to this coaching staff, doing a phenomenal job of really getting this team ready to play. You watch the game defensively, they came out of the gate and we gave up a big, long run, which is inexcusable, but the guys responded back. They didn’t go in the tank, and I think that’s part of playing football. You get a negative play – how quick you’re going to respond until you have as good a defense that you can have. And with the turnovers and the sacks by Allen Bailey tonight was unbelievable.
Offensively, running the football was key. We pounded the football and that opened up our passing game. You see some guys, besides [Leonard] Hankerson, you see some other guys step up and make some plays, and I think that’s part of what this team is about. I thought the biggest play of the game was Tyrone Cornelius’ hit on the kickoff… It was a good game, it was an exciting game, it was fun to be around with those guys and see how they would be challenged.”
On the verbal exchanged between players earlier in the game…
About where this team was against Florida State…
On whether the fumble in the first quarter changed the momentum…
On what the win means personally…
WR LaRon Byrd
On the win…
On having fun…
Tight end Asante Cleveland
RB Damien Berry
On beating UNC…
On 100-yard game…
On halftime adjustments…
North Carolina Head Coach Butch Davis
“I thing we lost to a pretty good football team tonight – one that’s got a lot of talent and played well. I thought that one of the most significant factors in the ballgame was we never ever really got a real good handle on the running game. They were able to really kind of keep us off balance with the run and the play action pass. They played well and I thought our kids got off to a good start. We had a chance to play a little bit better early in the game to put some points on the board when Anthony Elzy, unfortunately, fumbled in the end zone. It could have been a huge big play. Obviously, one of the formulas for playing against Miami is to try to take the run away by keeping the score to such that it makes them have to play a little bit more pass oriented and a little bit less run oriented. They’re a good football team. I was proud of the way our kids competed, the way that they played and we will learn something from tonight’s game and we will play better next week.”
On if Miami’s running game helped protect Jacory Harris…
On injuries taking a toll on the team…
Quarterback T.J. Yates
On the game…
On continual poor field position…
Linebacker Bruce Carter
On not defending like they have been…
Running back Johnny White
On struggling to move the ball…
On not scoring touchdowns on the first two drives…
Safety Deunta Williams
On missing starters this game…