Miami football defense needs to make North Carolina offense one dimensional

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 needs its defense to make the North Carolina offense one-dimensional when the teams play on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium. North Carolina gets 63.0 percent of its offense via the pass. The Tar Heels enter the game on Saturday seventh nationally averaging 507.2 total yards per game.

North Carolina is tied for sixth with Michigan averaging 45.2 points per game in 2022. The Tar Heels are balanced averaging 35.8 rushing attempts and 34.2 passes per game. The yards are clearly not balanced. North Carolina is 10th averaging 319.6 passing yards per game. The Tar Heels are 38th averaging 187.6 rushing yards.

Miami has been stout against the run in 2022 but was exposed in the secondary versus Middle Tennessee State. Miami is 33rd allowing 20.5 PPG in 2022. The Hurricanes are 36th allowing 336.0 yards per game. Miami is 10th allowing 85 rushing yards per game. Miami is 95th allowing 251 passing yards per game.

Expect an explosive North Carolina offense to try and exploit the Miami football team deep. Miami was burned for four completions of 69 yards or more in the 45-31 loss to Middle Tennessee State. North Carolina is ninth nationally with nine completions of 20 or more yards. The Tar Heels have a deep receiving corps.

Quarterback Drake Maye is in the top 10 nationally producing explosive completions. None of the North Carolina receivers rank in the top 20 for producing explosive plays. Five North Carolina wide receivers average over 16 yards per reception. That does not include Josh Downs who was first-team preseason All-ACC.

Downs leads North Carolina with 22 receptions and four TD catches. Antoine Green has seven receptions for 209 yards and three TDs. North Carolina is dangerous in the middle of the field. John Copenhaver leads three North Carolina tight ends averaging 23.8 yards per reception with six catches for 143 yards.

Freshman Omarion Hampton has received the majority of the carries for North Carolina. Hampton has 56 carries for 293 yards rushing and five TDs. Maye has added 255 rushing yards and three TDs. Miami has to be able to stop the North Carolina run. If Miami makes UNC one-dimensional, they can focus on rushing the passer.

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Notre Dame made North Carolina one-dimensional in a 45-32 win in Chapel Hill. North Carolina had 28 carries for 66 yards in the loss to Notre Dame. Notre Dame added a fumble recovery, four tackles for loss and one sack. Miami will need to exceed the turnovers and negative plays to beat North Carolina.