“Zero Dark Thursday,”, the name affectionately given to this game by the North Carolina Tar Heels’ fans, was almost remembered as the night that the Miami Hurricanes squandered their opportunity at an undefeated regular season. However, the ‘Canes were able to hold off North Carolina on Thursday night on the road 27-23, capped off by a late touchdown by second-string running back, Dallas Crawford.
Crawford, who finished the game with 137 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns handled a majority of the offensive load after Miami’s star, Duke Johnson, left the game in the first half after taking a knee to the head while blocking in pass protection. The Hurricanes also lost top WR Philip Dorsett in the first half after he took a shot to the knee, which was followed by a trip to the locker room which did not look promising at all.
Miami had no choice but to rely on the superb outing by Crawford as their star QB, Stephen Morris, played one of the worst games of his career, by far. Morris was 19-of-35 for 322 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions. Although the Hurricanes walked out with a victory, and still unbeaten, Morris’ performance leaves this team with a lot of questions, especially when they match up against better defensive units such as Virginia Tech and Florida State.
North Carolina played admirably throughout as they tried their best to begin to salvage this season. A preseason favorite among many to win the Coastal Division, the Heels dropped to 1-5 after the loss and are winless in three ACC outings on the season now.
QB Bryn Renner, at times, looked like his old self. Renner finished 28-of-36 for 297 yards with a TD and one interception. But that one pick was a crucial one late in the game, that Miami was able to turn into points.
Overall, though, TE Eric Ebron was the star of this game from either side of the ball. On the national stage, Ebron showed everyone why a lot of NFL franchises want to get their hands on him. The junior hauled in eight passes for 199 yards and a score. He was able to bail the North Carolina offense out of some trouble throughout the game, and helped keep them in the hunt to pull off the upset.
In the end, though, the ‘Canes remain undefeated as they get set for a breather next week against Wake Forest.
North Carolina, now just hoping for bowl eligibility, will begin that quest at home against Boston College.