Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina features two of ACC’s top wide receivers

Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes game on Saturday will feature two of the top wide receivers in the ACC. Josh Downs of North Carolina leads the ACC in receptions and receiving yards and is second in touchdown receptions. The Miami Hurricanes Charleston Rambo is fifth in the ACC in receptions per game and sixth in yards.

Downs has 49 receptions for 741 yards and seven TDs in six games. Rambo has 31 receptions for 386 yards and two TDs in five games. Downs is having a breakout season after playing behind Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome last season. In 2020, Downs had seven receptions for 113 yards and three TDs.

With Brown opting out of the Orange Bowl against Texas A&M last season, Downs had four receptions for 91 yards and two TDs. Downs is averaging more receptions and yards this season than he put up in the Orange Bowl in 2020. The go-to WR for North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is averaging 8.2 receptions and 123.5 yards.

Downs has had at least eight receptions in every game this season and has added 11 punt returns for 114 yards. Georgia Tech did the best job against Downs this season. The Yellow Jackets held Downs to eight receptions for 53 yards and one TD. Georgia Tech shredded North Carolina in a 45-22 victory.

North Carolina does not have the dynamic rushing offense they did when they ran for 544 yards in a 62-26 victory at Hard Rock Stadium. The Tar Heels offense has been woefully inconsistent this season. North Carolina averages 587 yards in victories in 2021 and 385 in losses. Both the pass and rushing offenses have been inconsistent.

North Carolina runs for 242.33 yards per game in wins, 146 in losses. The Tar Heels are averaging 309.3 passing yards per game in wins and 239 in losses. Downs is averaging 148 receiving yards per game in North Carolina wins and 99 in losses. To paraphrase Dan Patrick, Miami can’t stop Downs they can only hope to contain him.

The Miami Hurricanes are averaging 242.5 passing yards per game against FBS opponents in 2021. Most of the production by Rambo came against Michigan State and Virginia. Rambo combined for 17 receptions for 255 yards against the Cavaliers and Spartans. Rambo scored both of his TDs against Michigan State.

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The production by Downs and Rambo on Saturday could determine the outcome. If either team is able to limit the star WRs it will significantly increase their chances of winning. Rambo will work with Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke who is making his third collegiate start and first ever on the road.