Miami football needs strong start versus North Carolina

Oct 16, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team ranks 113th nationally versus FBS opponents averaging 7.7 points per game in the first half. North Carolina is 10th nationally averaging 21.8 PPG in the first half. Miami has to get off to a strong start versus North Carolina which has one of the best offenses in the country.

Miami averaged 15.7 PPG in the first half in 2021. The Hurricanes led 42-10 at halftime of its season opening 70-13 win over Bethune-Cookman. Miami is 38th overall averaging 35 PPG in 2022. Miami has scored 140 points in four games. Versus FBS opponents Miami is 90th averaging 23.3 points per game.

Miami has been particularly bad in the first half versus their three FBS opponents. The Miami football team needed a one-yard run by Henry Parrish with 20 seconds remaining in the first half versus Southern Mississippi to take a 7-3 half time lead. Miami trailed 10-3 at halftime at Texas A&M in a 17-9 loss.

The Miami football team did not get into the end zone until a six yard TD pass from Tyler Van Dyke to Parrish with 1:20 remaining in the first half cut the deficit to 24-10 versus Middle Tennessee State. Miami is 1:40 away from not having a first half TD versus an FBS opponent during the 2022 season.

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North Carolina has been practically unstoppable offensively in 2022. The Tar Heels began the season with a 56-24 win over Florida A&M. North Carolina led the Rattlers 28-14 at halftime. North Carolina put up 28 in the first half a week later leading 28-21 at halftime in a 63-61 win over Appalachian State.

After only seven points in the first quarter versus Georgia State, North Carolina added 14 in the second to lead 21-10 at halftime of its 35-28 win over the Panthers. After North Carolina led 7-0 after the first quarter, Notre Dame outscored the Tar Heels 24-7 in the second quarter to lead 24-14 at halftime in a 45-32 win.

North Carolina exploded in the second and third quarters against Virginia Tech with 17 points in each 15 minute stanza to lead 24-10 at the half and 41-10 after three. The Hokies and Tar Heels were scoreless in the fourth quarter. North Carolina has gotten off to fast starts in wins over Miami in each of the last three seasons.

North Carolina led 17-3 at the end of the first quarter and through the first 12 minutes in the second before Miami closed the lead to 17-13 at halftime in 2019. Miami rallied for a 25-20 lead with 4:38 remaiining in the fourth quarter before North Carolina drove for the game winning touchdown with 1:01 left in a 28-25 win.

The 2020 Miami loss to North Carolina is one of the most imfamous in Hurricanes’ history. North Carolina led 21-3 after the first quarter, 34-10 at halftime en enroute to a 62-26 victory. The Tar Heels finished with 778 total yards and 554 rushing. Those were both all-time records against Miami.

North Carolina bolted to a 28-10 lead in the second quarter in 2021 before Miami scored an offensive TD. Miami rallied before North Carolina led 31-17 at halftime. Miami was in position to win or at least tie the game but Van Dyke was intercepted on third down and North Carolina escaped with a 45-42 win.

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Miami will not be able to rely on putting itself in position for a late comeback this season versus North Carolina with the prolific Tar Heels offense and inconsistency Miami has shown. Getting off to a good start against North Carolina and getting their home crowd behind them is critial for Miami on Saturday.