A porous first half defense, late-game injury to quarterback Stephen Morris and missed opportunities doomed the Miami Hurricanes to an 18-14 loss Saturday to a similarly mistake-prone North Carolina Tar Heels squad, writes Jerry Steinberg over at the newly-renamed State of the U blog.
The Tar Heels committed 15 penalties totaling 140 yards, but the Canes were unable to capitalize thanks largely to a defense which allowed 486 total yards, more than 300 in the first half alone. Sophomore running back Giovani Bernard racked up 177 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, helping North Carolina finish with 272 rushing yards on the day.
Miami's defense stiffened up in the second half and put its offense in position to win the game. Morris then injured his ankle midway through the 4th quarter, and backup quarterback Ryan Williams failed to direct a scoring drive in the game's waning minutes, capping off a frustrating contest for the Canes. Steinberg notes:
Ryan Williams gave it his best, but no doubt Miami fans would love to have seen what Morris might have done with the game on the line.