Canes-Tar Heels Preview

What to watch for when UM hosts North Carolina on Saturday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The Miami Hurricanes look to rebound from last week's blowout loss with a visit from the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday afternoon. Miami can improve to 4-0 in ACC play with a win, while the Tar Heels hope to keep pace with the Canes and Duke in the ACC Coastal division.

    This week UM head coach Al Golden called UNC "the most complete team I've seen on film so far, in all three phases." Like UM, North Carolina is 4-2, but the Tar Heels' losses came by a combined 6 points. Last week the Tar Heels knocked off preseason ACC favorite Virginia Tech 48-34 at home.

    The series between the two schools is tied at 7 wins apiece, with the Canes winning the last two match-ups. "It's going to be a great challenge for us," Golden said.

    When the Canes have the ball: Miami's powerful offense hit a wall against Notre Dame last week, scoring just 3 points on 285 yards of total offense. Dropped passes by the receiving corps and a plethora of penalties were the main culprits, but the offense as a whole seemed out of sync.

    Miami's stout run game was effective against Notre Dame (averaging 4.7 yards a carry), but after Miami fell behind early, the Canes were forced to aim for big plays through the air and gave up on the run.

    That might be the case again, as the Heels have one of the best run defenses in college football. With a unit full of NFL prospects like Kareem Martin, Sylvester Williams, and Kevin Reddick, the Canes will have their work cut out for them.

    When the Heels have the ball: Carolina RB Giovani Bernard keys the Heels' offense. He is averaging over 9 yards a carry, while his backfield teammate AJ Blue is gaining 5.4 yards a carry. UNC has gained 200 yards a game on the ground, making it the best rushing team in the ACC outside of Georgia Tech.

    Carolina's rushing attack makes things easy for QB Bryn Renner, who is completing 63% of his passes with 15 touchdowns against 4 interceptions. 4 different receivers have over 200 yards receiving and multiple touchdowns for the Tar Heels.

    An offense like this will make Canes fans nervous, as UM's defense has struggled even in victories this year. The Canes have been able to force turnovers in most game, but when they cannot (as they didn't against Notre Dame), they have a habit of giving up a lot of points.

    Who has the edge? North Carolina's offense should give the Canes fits. It will be up to the offense to save the day, as stops may be hard to come by.

    The Pick: UNC 38-UM 27

    Kickoff is at 2:30 on ESPNU.