Miami football defense improved significantly in second half versus UNC

Oct 8, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team trailed 21-17 at halftime against North Carolina in a 27-24 loss. Miami held North Carolina more than 18 points below its season average. North Carolina had 328 yards in the first half. The Miami defense held North Carolina to 142 yards in the second half. North Carolina averages 501 total yards per game.

The Tar Heels have the eighth-best offense nationally and are also eighth in scoring at 42.3 PPG including the win over Miami. Miami seemed destined for a similar performance in the first half to their shocking 45-31 loss to Middle Tennessee State two weeks ago. Miami allowed five pass plays of 20 or more yards in the first half.

North Carolina took a 7-0 lead 6:05 into the game on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Drake Maye to Josh Downs. it was the fifth pass play of at least 69 yards the Miami football team has allowed in the last two games. Running back Caleb Downs had the only big play for North Carolina in the second half with a 24-yard run.

Maye finished 19-28 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. In the first half, Maye was 13-20 for 253 yards, both TDs and one interception. Maye was 6-8 for 56 yards, with no TDs and one interception in the second half. North Carolina had 27 carries for 86 yards in the second half. Miami held UNC to six second-half points.

North Carolina scored TDs on three of its first four drives with the other one ending on downs. Miami intercepted Maye on the last North Carolina drive of the first half and initial possession of the second half. Miami forced North Carolina to punt on two of its last four drives and settle for field goals on the other two.

The second field goal drive for North Carolina defined the game. North Carolina took over after stopping the Miami football team at the two-yardline on fourth down. The Tar Heels had an 18-play, 81-yard drive that took 8:21 off the clock. Miami got the ball back with 4:03 remaining and trailing 27-17.

The long drive essentially took away a full possession from Miami. The Hurricanes scored a TD on their next possession to cut the deficit to 27-24. Miami needs the defense to not allow a drive to dominate the clock when trailing in the fourth quarter. Miami will face one of the worst offenses in the ACC at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Next. Tyler Van Dyke has career game in loss to North Carolina. dark

Miami miserably failed defensively versus North Carolina in the first half except for the interception of Maye. In the second half, the Miami defense showed its capability of putting the Hurricanes in a position to win. Miami needs more consistency from its defense throughout the remainder of the 2022 season.