Here are 10 things to know about UNC’s opponent, the Miami Hurricanes

View The Original Article Here

North Carolina plays at No. 16 Miami on Thursday night with a chance to win its second consecutive game. The game will be televised at 8 p..m. on ESPN.

UNC (1-2) beat Pittsburgh at home 38-35 last week and are tied at No. 1 in the ACC Coastal Division. Miami (3-1) beat FIU 31-17 at home last week.

Here are 10 things to know about Miami:

1. 2018 recap

The Hurricanes lost their first game to LSU 33-17. The Tigers dominated them from the start. Quarterback Malik Rosier just couldn’t get anything going. He finished the game 15-35 for 259, 1 TD and 2 INTs.

The Hurricanes have since bounced back with wins over Savannah State 77-0, Toeldo 49-24 and the win over FIU. The competition was not great, but a win is a win. The Hurricanes average 43.5 points per game, and give up 18.5 points per game. They also excel in running the football, averaging 209.5 rushing yards per game.

2. 2018 leaders

Passing: QB Malik Rosier: 38-73, 611 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 5 rushing TDs/QB N’Kosi Perry: 26-39, 317 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs

Rushing: RB Travis Homer: 49 carries, 276 yards, 1 TD

Receiving: WR Jeff Thomas: 12 receptions, 315 yards, 2 TDs

Tackling: DL Jonathan Garvin: 23 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks.

3. Returning all-conference players

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

RB Travis Homer, second-team

DB Jaquan Johnson, second-team

DB Michael Jackson, second-team

4. Key losses

WR Braxton Berrios, 55 rec, 679 yards, 9 TDs

DE Chad Thomas, 12.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

DT RJ McIntosh, 12.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 7 pass deflections

DT Kendrick Norton, had 6.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.

RB Mark Walton, rushed for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016. Played in five games in 2017 before a season-ending knee injury.

5. Breakout candidates

Wide receiver Jeff Thomas. The 5-10, 175-pound sophomore has 12 catches for 315 receiving yards and 2 TDs. He is averaging 26.3 yards per catch, which is ranked No. 1 in the country through four games. He’s also one of the top returners in the country. Don’t let him get behind a defense.

6. Plus

The Hurricanes are ranked No. 2 in total defense. Opponents average just 223.8 yards per game against the Hurricanes. They are ranked No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss and average 11.5 tackles for loss per game. Even in their lone loss, LSU had trouble passing and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had only 140 passing yards for the game

7. Minus

If there is one weakness for Miami, it is their punting. Sophomore punt Zach Feagles is averaging only 37.8 yards per punt, which doesn’t help in trying to win the battle of field position. Of the 90 punters that qualify, he is ranked 76th in yards per punt.

8. UNC vs. Miami

Miami leads the series over UNC 10-9. Miami beat UNC in 2017, 24-19.

The Tar Heels last beat the Hurricanes at Miami in 2016, 20-13.

9. Random stat

The Hurricanes are ranked No. 1 in the country in third-down defensive conversion percentage, allowing only 10 conversions in 57 attempts for an 85.5-percent success rate, according to the Miami Herald.

On offense, UNC ranks 110th out of 130 teams in third-down conversions at 33 percent.

10. Schedule

Sept. 2 LSU* (L 33-17)

Sept. 8 Savannah State (W 77-0)

Sept. 15 at Toledo (W 49-24)

Sept. 22 Florida International (W 31-17)

Sept. 27 North Carolina

Oct. 6 Florida State

Oct. 13 at Virginia

Oct. 26 at Boston College

Nov. 3 Duke

Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech

Nov. 17 at Virginia Tech

Nov. 24 Pittsburgh

*Neutral site

Miami Herald staff writer Susan Miller Degnan contributed to this report