Miami Hurricanes drop heartbreaker at Chapel Hill

Miami Hurricanes Chapel Hill

Miami, Florida – It was a tough loss for the Miami Hurricanes visiting Chapel Hill, falling 45-42 to the North Carolina Tar Heels as the rally came up short. In the waning seconds, Tyler Van Dyke’s pass was batted by UNC linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, resulting in a game-ending interception. The Canes were already well within field goal range as they tried to get as close as possible (if not outright score) in order to send this contest to overtime. Unfortunately for the Canes, the ball ended up in the trenches and into the hands of opposing defender Cedric Gray.

The comeback just wasn’t meant to be.

UM was down 31-17 at the half giving all the hallmarks that the Tar Heels were going to run away with it. Miami only generated 80 total yards. Van Dyke had an ugly first half completing five of 15 passes with two interceptions. I really didn’t think the Hurricanes had much of a chance but they clawed their way back. Late in the third quarter, the QB dumped it off in a short pass to a wide-open Jaylan Knighton, shaking off two incoming defenders, and then some, for the 60-yard touchdown. Knighton struck again late-game with a four-yard rushing score. He finished the day with 17 carries for 92 yards including two TDs.

Van Dyke quickly slung it to Charleston Rambo for the successful two-point conversion. Just earlier in the drive, Rambo couldn’t make the catch in the endzone with 3:23 remaining on third down. Miami went for it with a 21-yard reception to Key’shawn Smith leading into Knighton scoring. Some redemption for the junior wideout.

The defense forced North Carolina into punting it away giving the offense one more chance but it didn’t pan out.

Moving Forward

This was rough. Sure Miami ended up surpassing their opponents in total yards (421-382), passing yards (264-154), and first downs (30-23) but the three turnovers cost them dearly. The team also committed nine penalties. Defensively it was a mess. Surrendering 45 points and allowing the Tar Heels to thoroughly control time of possession with four sacks and one turnover. They only punted once in the first half. Seeing Jahfari Harvey get the 33-yard pick-six in the early going was great but that was the best it got. UNC led the way in pass breakups and QB hurries.

By the end of the afternoon, Van Dyke completed 20 of 45 passes, a 44% completion rate accumulating 264 yards. With D’Eriq King out for the season, this is the Van Dyke show now. He certainly improved after halftime but all in all, this was the offense almost pulling through in the second half to make up for the defense struggling all game. It should have never got to that point. The Hurricanes were not prepared. People will certainly question why coach Manny Diaz didn’t go for the field goal sooner but I honestly liked that they were being aggressive. Heck, I wanted them to go for the touchdown to end it in regulation. Alas, the pass got blocked.

Miami is now 2-4 (0-2 in ACC play) with a home game versus NC State next. They have yet to lead through two conference games.

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