The No. 10 Miami Hurricanes (5-0, 1-0 ACC) will travel to Chapel Hill for a match-up against North Carolina (1-4, 0-2 ACC) on Thursday night, in a game the Tar Heels have dubbed “Zero Dark Thursday.”
According to goheels.com, Carolina will be wearing all black uniforms against the Hurricanes, hence the “Zero Dark Thursday.”
Said Carolina head coach Larry Fedora, “We wanted to design a uniform that connected out team to The Tar Pit, our name for the student section…it made sense to have a black-out game this year after the success of last season’s white out game vs. Virginia Tech (48-34 UNC victory).
The Tar Heels opened the season with a 27-10 loss against South Carolina and their only win of the season came the following weekend, a 40-20 win against Middle Tennessee State. Carolina has gone on to lose the last three consecutive games (Georgia Tech, East Carolina, Virginia Tech).
On defense, Carolina has struggled this year. Giving up an average of 31 points per game, containing the dynamic Duke Johnson, as well as backup Dallas Crawford, could pose quite a challenge to the Tar Heels’ defense.
Johnson has rushed for 572 yards and four touchdowns thus far and is ranked No. 24 in the nation in rushing yards.
Since RB Giovanni Bernard’s departure to the NFL, Carolina ranks No. 114th in rushing yards. The Tar Heels have yet to find Bernard’s successor and their rushing attack will feature a number of backs, including A.J. Blue (187 yards) and Romar Morris (171 yards, 3 touchdowns).
Running the ball effectively against a Hurricanes’ defense that ranks No. 9 in points against will be no easy task for the Tar Heels given that their rushing attack that ranks last in the ACC.
As far as the quarterback position, the Miami defense can expect to see senior Bryn Renner back at the helm. Renner, who suffered a foot injury against ECU, “will definitely start” against the Hurricanes on Thursday. On the season, Renner has thrown for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns.
Finally, locking down junior TE Eric Ebron will be essential for Miami’s defense. Against the Hurricanes last season, Ebron caught 7 passes for 87 yards in Carolina’s 18-14 win over ‘The U”. For the 2013 season, Ebron has tallied 333 yards and two touchdowns on 23 receptions.
The is no question that the atmosphere in Kenan Stadium will be electric, however, Miami possesses too many weapons on offense and is capable of scoring at any time.
Prediction: Miami – 38, Carolina – 20
When: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013
Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Favorite: Miami (-8.5)