North Carolina holds on at the end, tops reeling Miami 27-24
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tyler Van Dyke more than got back on track. It still wasn’t enough for Miami to knock off Drake Maye and North Carolina.
Maye passed for 309 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a 74-yarder to J.J. Jones, as North Carolina overcame a huge effort by Van Dyke to beat Miami 27-24 on Saturday and move atop the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division.
Josh Downs had a receiving touchdown and Omarion Hampton ran for another score for North Carolina (5-1, 2-0 ACC).
“It’s amazing how hard young people fight to win a football game,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. “I’ve often said, whoever makes scoreboards is just not fair. Miami didn’t lose the game. They just ran out of time.”
Van Dyke completed 42 of 57 passes for 496 yards — the second-most in Miami history, behind Stephen Morris’ 566 in 2012 — and three touchdowns for Miami (2-3, 0-1).
Key’Shawn Smith, Henry Parrish and Colbie Young had the touchdown receptions for the Hurricanes, who scored 10 points in the final 28 seconds of the first half to get within 21-17. Will Mallory had eight catches for 115 yards for Miami.
“We’re all about the work and the lumps that come with it and it stinks and it’s painful to deal with,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said. “But you know what? That’s what we’re here for, and gladly ready for whatever comes with it to make sure we get it back to a certain level. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
It ended up as Miami’s third straight loss, and the first time since 2007 that the Hurricanes have gone three consecutive games without ever holding a lead.
It didn’t lack for late-game drama.
Down 27-24, Miami initially appeared to recover an onside kick with about 2 minutes left; Al Blades Jr. dove along the sideline to knock the ball inbounds and the Hurricanes seemed poised to take over. The play was overturned by replay, which saw that Blades had stepped out of bounds and therefore couldn’t touch the ball.
North Carolina punted the ball back to Miami with 1:14 left, but Van Dyke was picked off with 8 seconds remaining.
“How about that defense? They made some big plays,” Maye said.
Caleb Hood rushed for 74 yards on 13 carries for the Tar Heels, who have won four straight over Miami for the first time. Jones’ way-too-easy score capped a game-opening 95-yard drive, and Hampton’s score finished off a 99-yard drive that was bolstered by a 52-yard pass from Maye to Antoine Green.
Miami struggled to run the ball — 41 yards on 23 carries — but not converting on three key chances was even worse.
The Hurricanes had first-and-goal from the North Carolina 2 in the second quarter, got one yard on three carries and then saw Van Dyke’s fourth-down heave fall incomplete. In the third quarter, after intercepting Maye for the second time the Hurricanes’ drive stalled near midfield after going for it on fourth down. And in the fourth quarter, Jaylan Knighton got enough yards to convert on fourth-and-1 at the North Carolina 26 — but fumbled the ball away.
“Critical errors typically tell the tale of a game like this,” Cristobal said.
The Heels went 81 yards in 17 plays, and Noah Burnette’s chip-shot field goal put North Carolina up 27-17 with 4:10 remaining. Van Dyke found Young from 16 yards out to get Miami a field goal with 2:20 left, but the Hurricanes got no closer.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Van Dyke said. “I believe that. I really do.”
North Carolina: It was the first time that North Carolina had two touchdown drives of at least 95 yards in the same game since Aug. 31, 2019. That day, the Tar Heels had them — a 95- and 98-yarder, to be specific — in a 6:01 span of the fourth quarter on the way to rallying past South Carolina 24-20.
Miami: The Hurricanes are 2-3 for the second consecutive year; the last time that happened in back-to-back years was 1978 and 1979.
At 2-0 in the ACC and 5-1 overall, North Carolina will likely get on the radar of more AP Top 25 voters. But getting into the poll on Sunday might be tough; the Tar Heels had just the 37th-most poll points this week, and appeared on only two ballots.
North Carolina: Visit Duke on Oct. 15.
Miami: Visit Virginia Tech on Oct. 15.
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