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After a 2-0 start, does UNC deserve to be in the top 25? Its players think so.

Mack Brown following the win over Miami: ‘We kept our composure’

North Carolina coach Mack Brown breaks down the Tar Heels' victory over Miami
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North Carolina coach Mack Brown breaks down the Tar Heels' victory over Miami

After two consecutive wins over FBS opponents to open the season, North Carolina’s players want AP Poll voters to put some respect on their name.

UNC beat Miami late Saturday night, 28-25, at Kenan Memorial Stadium a week after defeating South Carolina, 24-20. In his postgame press conference Saturday, UNC coach Mack Brown said there was talk among the players that the Tar Heels should be ranked in the top 25 for Week 3. Last week, the Tar Heels received one vote.

On Sunday, the Tar Heels received 48 votes, but did not crack the top 25.

“I think we should be top 10,” UNC sophomore running back Javonte Williams said with a smile. “Florida, they barely beat Miami. We barely beat Miami. If (Florida) is ranked No. 11, I think we should at least be No. 12.”

Both UNC wins came via a fourth-quarter comeback. On Saturday, the Tar Heels trailed 25-20 with 4:38 remaining, before UNC freshman quarterback Sam Howell helped engineer a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.

The game-winning touchdown was a 10-yard pass to junior wide receiver Dazz Newsome in the corner of the end zone.

The Tar Heels so far this season have exceeded expectations. In 2018, they finished 2-9. They’ve already matched their win total, and will enter Friday’s non-conference game 2-0 against Wake Forest (2-0).

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Earlier last week, Brown said the game against Miami (0-2) would be a test of whether UNC was for real or a work in progress. When asked how he felt late Saturday night, Brown said, “I think we’re kind of a ‘for real work in progress.’”

“We’re not there yet by any means,” Brown added.

The last time UNC was ranked in the top 25 was Week 11 of the 2016 season. A win over Wake Forest on Friday will certainly help its chances.

“I feel like we’re a Top 25 team without a doubt,” UNC sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel told the media Saturday. “And especially when we’re playing at our best. I feel like these past two games we didn’t even play at our best and we still found a way to pull out a win.”

AP Top 25 for Week 3

1 Clemson (2-0)

2 Alabama (1-0)

3 Georgia (2-0)

4 LSU (2-0)

5 Oklahoma (2-0)

6 Ohio State (2-0)

7 Notre Dame (1-0)

8 Auburn (2-0)

9 Florida (2-0)

10 Michigan (2-0)

11 Utah (2-0)

12 Texas (1-1)

13 Penn State (2-0)

14 Wisconsin (2-0)

15 Oregon (1-1)

16 Texas A&M (1-1)

17 UCF (2-0)

18 Michigan State (2-0)

19 Iowa (2-0)

20 Washington State (2-0)

21 Maryland (2-0)

22 Boise State (2-0)

23 Washington (1-1)

24 USC (2-0)

25 Virginia (2-0)

Others receiving votes:

Iowa State 96, California 95, Mississippi State 73, TCU 66, North Carolina 48, Army 42, Colorado 21, Oklahoma State 20, Memphis 12, Arizona State 4, Boston College 2, Kentucky 2, Appalachian State 2, Syracuse 2, Minnesota 1

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Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.
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