Top Performers vs North Carolina

A look at the top five performers on both sides of the ball in the 34-16 victory over North Carolina.

The 'Canes finally got to get back on that field after going through the ordeal of Hurricane Wilma with the rest of the South Florida area.

And with the combination of those awful throwback uniforms and the way Miami played, the 'Canes looked like they might as well have stayed home after a horrific first half that saw them make some blundering mistakes while wearing green and gold.

Green and gold? Yes, it was green and gold. Bring out the matches because those uniforms need to be burned.

But thankfully enough, a man named Tyrone Moss stepped to the forefront along with the nation's number one defense to lead the ‘Canes to a crucial come from behind 34-16 win over North Carolina at the Orange Bowl Saturday afternoon.

With that said, the 'Canes head to Blacksburg next Saturday night with the season on the line. A win would put the 'Canes in the driver's seat of the Coastal Division in the ACC and likely pit them in a rematch with Florida State in the ACC Championship come December.

Winning out could see Miami in the National Championship game if Texas or USC loses down the stretch, something quite possible.

Here are our top five performers on both sides of the ball today.

Offense

1. RB Tyrone Moss - I don't think there is any doubt about this one. Honestly, Moss is the only skills position player worth of being on this list today. He dominated the game gashing the Tar Heels defense for chunks of yards throughout the game. His 195 rushing yards and four touchdowns are both career highs as he racked up a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry average. He only carried the ball twice in the fourth quarter, one being a 15-yard touchdown on his final carry of the game. Had he gotten the ball maybe once more, he could have had his first 200-yard game. But honestly, Moss should have gotten the ball a lot more than he did as he dominated from start to finish.

2. FB Quadtrine Hill - Beyond the fact that Hill's blocking paved the way for Moss's brilliant game, it could be argued that Hill's play changed the game and truly put the 'Canes in control. In one fell swoop, Hill broke through the line and blocked David Woolridge's punt and pounced on it in the end zone for a touchdown and a 20-16 lead in the third quarter. The 'Canes cruised from there.

3. Offensive Line (Anthony Wollschlager, Eric Winston, Tyler McMeans, Tony Tella, Rashad Butler, Reggie Youngblood) - We'll stop at three because there was really no other sparkling performance by anyone else, but the line was dominating smashing the North Carolina front seven off the ball leading to Moss's career game. They allowed one sack that only cost Kyle Wright one yard, and committed two penalties, both by McMeans on consecutive plays in the second quarter. Otherwise, the group was flawless and was a major reason the 'Canes dominated the game in the second half.

Defense

1. DE Javon Nanton - Welcome back Javon Nanton. We caught glimpses today of the Nanton that was a monster a couple of seasons ago. He was relentless around the end especially in the second half where he recorded three sacks, forced a fumble and had four tackles, three for loss. Nanton was a key player in the 'Canes domination of the second half. If the 'Canes can get this type of play from him next week in Blacksburg, it could make for a great chance to win that game.

2. DE Thomas Carroll - Carroll spent his day in the North Carolina backfield, particularly in the second half. Carroll was second on the team in tackles with six and two of them were for losses.

3. CB Kelly Jennings - Jennings had a quiet, but extremely effective day. Hs recorded three tackles, one for loss and had a sack that forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. Jennings also had two pass break ups while leading the secondary to allowing only 86 passing yards.

4. S Brandon Meriweather - After having quiet games the last few weeks, Meriweather came back to the party recording six tackles, one for loss and recorded a pass break up. His presence next weekend will be huge.

5. DT Kareem Brown - Brown's emotion is becoming contagious as he recorded four tackles, and one and a half for loss. Brown clogged the inside rushing attack of the Tar Heels as he helped lead the defense to a dominating second half performance. Sometimes his dances look a little silly, but he really can get the crowd going as well as his teammates and that's something the ' Canes desperately needed against UNC.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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