North Carolina's ACC hopes take a hit, as Tar Heels struggle all day and lose to Miami 47-20



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MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — This will not be a tape that North Carolina coach Larry Fedora enjoys viewing.

Two bad snaps on punts, one of those leading to a safety. A missed extra point. A play where Marquise Williams caught a pass thrown by ... Marquise Williams.

And those weren't even the worst plays of the afternoon.

North Carolina's Atlantic Coast Conference hopes took a hit Saturday, after the Tar Heels let Duke Johnson run for 177 yards and score three times as Miami rolled past the Tar Heels 47-20 — a game where the Hurricanes once led by as many as 38.

"They whipped us," Fedora said. "That is all I can say."

Helped largely by the miscues on the punts, Miami (6-3, 3-2) outrushed North Carolina 295-6 — a slightly misleading stat since the Tar Heels (4-5, 2-3) lost 93 yards on sacks and mistakes, but still an indicator of how the day went for Fedora's club. The Hurricanes scored three touchdowns in a 5-minute span late in the first half, turning a three-point game into a laugher.

North Carolina was outgained 494-258, the lowest yardage total for the Tar Heels since Nov. 5, 2011. In their last 36 games, the Heels had averaged 448 yards per outing.

"They did an incredible job. My hat goes off to the Hurricanes," Williams said.

Johnson scored twice on the ground, including a school-record-tying 90-yarder on a play that was eerily similar to one where North Carolina ran him down last season.

"I refused to get run down again by North Carolina," Johnson said.

Last year, on a play where Johnson burst through the right side of the line, got to the sideline and headed for the end zone, the Tar Heels caught Miami's star in his final strides. This year, North Carolina's M.J. Stewart closed the gap and dove for Johnson around the 10-yard line.

Stewart missed. Johnson scored. The rout was on.

"The first guy didn't have a chance," Johnson said. "The second guy was coming at me at an angle. I made sure I got by him."

Brad Kaaya threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns for the Hurricanes. Joe Yearby rushed for 104 yards and Clive Walford had two scoring grabs, becoming the first Miami tight end to do so since Greg Olsen in 2005.

Williams had a pair of touchdown runs and Cayson Collins returned a fumble 39 yards for a score for North Carolina.

"It was very disappointing," Fedora said. "I don't think we played too well up front, or anywhere."

It was over by halftime, with Miami up 30-6 and leading 322-57 in total yards — dominating defensive numbers against a team that had topped the 35-point mark five times in its first eight games this season.

"Obviously, we've settled in," Miami coach Al Golden said. "We've kind of settled in to who we are."

For a moment, this one seemed in a bit of doubt after a bizarre sequence. All within a span of 20 seconds, there was a safety, a free kick, a penalty, a defensive touchdown and a missed extra point to give North Carolina some hope.

The Tar Heels had a punt snap sail out of the end zone for a safety that pushed Miami's lead to 9-0. After a free kick and a delay-of-game penalty that incensed Miami, North Carolina's Mikey Bart got to Kaaya and forced a fumble that Collins scooped up and scored. At that point, North Carolina practically had as many points (six) as it had yards (nine).

Later in the quarter, Williams — who completed 22 of 32 passes for 191 yards — even had a reception to himself, grabbing the carom after Miami's Anthony Chickillo batted back one of his throws.

But before long, Miami put it away.

Walford had a pair of 14-yard scoring catches in a 5-minute span of the second quarter, Johnson got loose for his 90-yard score and the lead was 24 points at the break.

"We didn't respond very well," Fedora said.

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