How No. 10 Miami beat UNC: 5 key plays

October 17, 2013 

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UNC's Eric Ebron (85) breaks away from Miami's Raphael Kirby (56) and romps 71-yards on a pass reception from quarterback Bryn Renner to score the Tar Heels first touchdown against Miami on Thursday October 10, 2013 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

ROBERT WILLETT — rwillett@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

A closer look at five big plays in No. 10 Miami’s victory over North Carolina.

1. Ebron’s catch, plow and run

•  The score: Miami 3, UNC 0, 5:30 left in first quarter.

•  The situation: UNC ball, 2nd-and-5 at UNC 29.

•  The play: UNC QB Marquise Williams faked a pitch, rolled right and hit tight end Eric Ebron for what appeared to be a short gain. Ebron broke through two tackle attempts, turned toward the sideline and ran untouched the rest of the way for a 71-yard touchdown.

•  Why it mattered: Aside from impressing NFL scouts with his size-speed combo on one play, Ebron also accounted for UNC’s longest play of the season to give the Tar Heels their first lead.

2. Blitz prevents TD

•  The score: UNC 7, Miami 3, late first quarter.

•  The situation: Miami ball, 3rd-and-goal from UNC 3.

•  The play: UNC’s Jeff Schoettmer came on a safety blitz, chased Stephen Morris out of the pocket and forced an incomplete pass.

•  Why it mattered: Two plays after Ebron’s long TD, Morris answered by hitting Phillip Dorsett for a 68-yard pass play, giving the Hurricanes 1st-and-goal at UNC’s 7. UNC forced the Canes to settle for a field goal, maintaining a 7-6 lead.

3. Canes’ block party

•  The score: UNC 7, Miami 6, early second quarter.

•  The situation: UNC lining up for 47-yard field goal.

•  The play: Artie Burns bursts around UNC’s line and blocks Thomas Moore’s kick. The ball landed in Ladarius Gunter’s hands, and he ran 67 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.

•  Why it mattered: It was a 10-point swing. Instead of giving up three, Miami got seven, critical considering UNC’s defense was keeping Morris and Co. in check, intercepting one pass, forcing two three-and-outs. UNC’s first blocked FG since 2005 erased all of that and gave the Canes a 13-7 lead.

4. Heels’ D does it again

•  The score: UNC 20, Miami 13, 3:35 left in third quarter.

•  The situation: Miami ball, 2nd-and-11 at UNC 19.

•  The play: Morris dropped back to set up a screen, but his pass hit a Miami lineman in the helmet. UNC’s Norkeithus Otis dived and made the interception.

•  Why it mattered: UNC, which had kept Miami’s offense out of the end zone, ended another scoring threat by picking off Morris for the third time. The Heels took over at their 20 and drove for a field goal and 23-13 lead. Morris entered the game with just four interceptions.

5. Penalties, penalties

•  The score: UNC 23, Miami 20, about 4:30 left in game.

•  The situation: UNC ball, 3rd-and-1 from UNC 49.

•  The plays: UNC switched QBs from Williams to Renner, and that affected their ability to call the play in time. A delay of game pushed the Heels back, and a false start made it 3rd-and-10.

•  Why it mattered: The clock was creeping toward 4 minutes left. A first down on 3rd-and-1 would have eaten more time. Instead, the two penalties led to a sack and punt. The Hurricanes took over with 4:11 left and drove 90 yards for the winning touchdown with 16 seconds left.

Chris Wright

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