UM News & Notes: 10/25

One key play in Miami's 33-10 victory over North Carolina came early, when the Tar Heels were threatening to establish a 10-0 lead on just their first series but came away empty when they lost a fumble nearing the goal line.

"When we forced a fumble and recovered it in the end zone, I think that changed the whole demeanor of the game," junior cornerback Brandon Harris said. "That was a very huge play by Sean Spence and Vaughn Telemaque.

"That play really turned things around and kept the game from going in the wrong direction for us."

Spence forced the fumble when he tackled North Carolina fullback Anthony Elzy about a yard short of the end zone, and Telemaque recovered the loose ball for a touchback.

But coach Randy Shannon saw another big turnaround after watch game tape the next day.

"I thought the biggest play of the game, my honest opinion, was Tyrone Cornelius and Ray Armstrong when they hit No. 1 on the kickoff," Shannon said, referring to the play in the second quarter that knocked North Carolina starting safety Da'Norris out of the game.

"That was a starting safety. That was another body out. You can't lose a big-time safety or somebody in that capacity because he was also on the score team, he was on kickoff, he was also special teams. When you take a guy like that out, it makes a difference.

"I think that was probably one of the biggest plays of the game for us."

Carolina, already depleted by suspensions and injuries, was stretched even with Searcy but was no match for Miami after that. The Hurricanes, who trailed 10-3 early, ran off 30 consecutive points, 20 of them in the second half.

Thus the Hurricanes kept alive their hopes of reaching the ACC championship game for the first time. With a 5-2 overall record, they are 3-1 in the Coastal Division.

They trail Virginia Tech, which is 4-0 in the division, but by winning out the Hurricanes would assure themselves of no worse than a tie at season's end, and they would own the tiebreaker.

Next up for the Hurricanes is a trip to Virginia, followed by a home game against Maryland. The Hurricanes also have a road game at Georgia Tech and a home game against Virginia Tech left on their conference schedule.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Senior RB Damien Berry finds himself in some elite company in Miami history after rushing for 109 yards against North Carolina, his fourth consecutive game with triple-digits rushing totals. Only three other Hurricane backs have managed that -- Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Edgerrin James. Berry rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, his third consecutive game with a score.
--QB Jacory Harris' 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter moved him past Vinny Testaverde and Steve Walsh for the No. 2 spot in school history for touchdown passes with 49. He later added another to raise his total to 50. The all-time leader is 86 by Ken Dorsey.
--Miami twice picked off North Carolina QB T.J. Yates, who came into the game with only one interception this season, one each by CB Brandon Harris and LB Ramon Buchanan. The Hurricanes now have 14 interceptions, one more than they had all of 2009. They had only four interceptions in 2008.

GAME BALL GOES TO: DE/DT Allen Bailey -- Bailey, who plays both outside and inside up front on defense, had a monster game with 3.5 sacks among his six tackles. They accounted for 13 yards in losses. Bailey now has 5.5 sacks and three other tackles for loss among his 27 tackles for the season.

KEEP AN EYE ON: TE Asante Cleveland -- Cleveland has given Miami's passing game what it lacked the first five games. He caught two passes, including one for a 25-yard gain on fourth-and-2 at North Carolina's 36-yard line to keep alive Miami's first touchdown drive.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everybody knows that this football game was a hurdle for our team. This was a team we hadn't beaten for so long. To come together as a team and play before our home crowd and convincingly beat them, that was very special." -- CB Brandon Harris, after Miami snapped a three-game losing streak in the series against North Carolina with its 33-10 triumph.

LOOKING GOOD: The Hurricanes crushed the Tar Heels with a running game that produced a net of 225 yards. TB Damien Berry ran for 109 yards on 19 carries, and freshman Lamar Miller, back from injury, slashed his way for 67 yards on 11 runs. WRs Travis Benjamin, Leonard Hankerson and LaRon Byrd all had touchdown receptions. In addition to Allen Bailey's 3.5 sacks, DT Micanor had one and DT Marcus Forston was credited with an assist on one of Bailey's sacks. CB Brandon Harris and LB Ramon Buchanan had interceptions, and LB Sean Spence forced a fumble that likely prevented an early North Carolina touchdown.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Penalties still plague the Hurricanes. They had three holding calls that cost them big plays. PK Matt Bosher missed his second extra point of the season. He was a perfect 90-of-90 in 2008-09. QB Jacory Harris threw his 10th interception and badly underthrew a long pass against the wind that was almost picked off. Miami was 5 of 5 in red zone scoring but only three of the scores were touchdowns.

ROSTER REPORT:

--LB Colin McCarthy was back in his customary starting role after missing the Duke game because of illness.
--OT Jermaine Johnson also was back after missing the previous game with an illness.
--OT/G Joel Figueroa missed his third consecutive game with a "lower extremity" injury.
--OG Brandon Linder, a true freshman, was the first reserve off the bench up front.
--TB Graig Cooper returned two kickoffs for 38 yards but had no opportunities on offense because Miami didn't run his "offensive package," coach Randy Shannon said.


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