Saturday, December 12, 2020, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET
Tar Heels at Hurricanes Betting Preview: Tar Heels (+3.5), Hurricanes (-3.5)
No. 17 North Carolina will be a much tough test for a Miami defense coming off a shutdownout win over Duke. Quarterback Sam Howell, who beat Miami as a freshman last year, ranks ninth nationally and first in the ACC in passing yards per game (312.9) for the Tar Heels (7-3, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference)..
North Carolina’s offense is second in the ACC in points (41.1), which is in stark contrast to the team Miami just played (Duke, 23.8 points, 13th place in the league).
The Tar Heels have three players who could go over 1,000 yards for the season Saturday: running back Michael Carter (937), wide receiver Dyami Brown (932) and running back Javonte Williams (904).
Williams, a junior who leads the league and is tied for second nationally with 19 touchdowns, could bolt early for the NFL in April.
“We would never tell a junior, ‘We really want you to come back,’ ” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said.”Come on, man. That’s not fair to them.”
Carter ranks fourth in the ACC in rushing yards per game, third in total rushing yards and second in yards per carry (7.1). Williams is fifth, fourth and third in those carries, getting 6.7 yards per carry. Brown is second in reception yards per game.
No. 10 Miami is going for its sixth straight win since losing at Clemson in early October. The Hurricanes (8-1, 7-1 ACC) also try to avenge last year’s 28-25 loss at North Carolina.
Miami is 4-0 at home and beat Duke 48-0 last week despite having 15 players out due to injuries, coronavirus and other issues.
“There were five or six other players that we found out could play just one day before the game,” Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz said. “We’re hoping the list of players out will be much shorter (than 15) this week.”
Despite missing five key defensive players against Duke — including full-time starters in cornerback Al Blades, linebacker Zach McCloud and defensive tackle Jonathan Ford — Miami forced five turnovers and missed just one tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.
Credit goes to numerous players, including Quincy Roche, who was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week after netting three tackles for loss, forcing fumble and making a fumble recovery. Defensive tackle Jordan Miller and linebacker Waynmon Steed made their first career collegiate starts.
For the season, Roche and fellow Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips are tied for third in the league in tackles for loss per game (1.56).
Miami will test a North Carolina defense that has given up 28.6 points a game — seventh in the conference –with quarterback D’Eriq King. King ranks third in the ACC behind only Howell and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence in total offense with 311.2 yards per game. King has passed for 2,334 yards and run for 467, fulfilling his reputation as a dual threat.
Hurricanes receiver Mike Harley is ninth in the league in reception yards per game (72.6).
Miami’s other playmakers include stellar tight ends Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, who have combined to catch 40 passes for 590 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
On the ground, the Hurricanes have three running backs who have combined for 1,031 yards: junior Cam’Ron Harris and freshmen Donald Chaney and Jaylan Knighton. Those three backs have combined to score 14 total touchdowns, including 12 rushing.
Tar Heels at Hurricanes Betting Pick for December 12, 2020
Officially, Miami leads the series 11-10 with the Tar Heels forced to vacate 2008 and 2009 wins because of NCAA penalties, but on the field, the Tar Heels have a 12-11 advantage after their 28-25 victory at Chapel Hill last year. The Hurricanes romped 47-10 in 2018 in their last meeting on their turf.
Tar Heels at Hurricanes Betting Pick:
Hurricanes 45,Tar Heels 38
Tar Heels at Hurricanes Best Bet for December 12, 2020
The two teams are among the highest scoring in the conference with North Carolina averaging 41.1 points a game and Miami 34.9 to rank second and fifth, respectively. But the Hurricanes have held their opponents to 11.0 points a game after last week’s shutout of Duke, and the Heels have given up 28.6 per game despite a 49-9 win over FCS foe Western Caroline to last week.
Tar Heels at Hurricanes Best Bet: OVER 67.5