Newly-minted No. 10 Miami struggled in their first game as a top ten team, surviving on the road in Chapel Hill to eke out a win against a struggling North Carolina team by a final score of 27-23.
The 'Canes took a first quarter lead on Matt Goudis' 22-yard field goal, but North Carolina came back on Marquise Williams' 71-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron. The junior had an historic day for a Tar Heel tight end with eight receptions for a program-record 199 yards.
Miami expanded their lead early in the second quarter on a blocked field goal that Ladarius Gunter returned 67 yards for a touchdown. The Tar Heels took the lead right back on Bryn Renner's 20-yard touchdown strike to Quinshad Davis. Thomas Moore kicked a 25-yard field goal before the half, and North Carolina led 17-13
Two more field goals by Moore gave North Carolina a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter, but Miami struck back immediately with Dallas Crawford's three-yard run. With just under four minutes to play, Stephen Morris led a 13-play, 90-yard drive that ended in Crawford's second three-yard run, giving the Hurricanes the 27-23 victory.
John Pickens of State of the U praised Miami's resilience in coming out of the tough game with a win.
In years past, Miami would've crumbled once adversity began to surround them. In 2013, Miami is confident, mature, and found a way to win. In college football, every week is a challenge and all the wins count the same. This team is 6-0 and that's all that matters. Last night was Miami's best win of the season because it truly shows how far this program has come under the leadership of Al Golden. For the fans that can't enjoy this win and want to make statements about how we can't beat Florida State or Virginia Tech, I can't waste my time listening to that garbage. Miami will improve and has an opportunity to have a special season. All goals for this team are reachable. Winning games when you don't play well is what separates 11-1 or 12-0 teams from teams that finish 9-3. Full Speed Ahead. Bring on Wake Forest.
Brian Barbour of Tar Heel Blog worried about how the Tar Heels will be able to bounce back from yet another tough loss.
It was a game North Carolina should have won and like the other four losses, a bad play here, ill-time penalty there or the inability to get off the field on one drive tipped the scales in the wrong direction. In the end it was a devastating for a team that needed something to go the right way and build off it. While the season needs to play out, this feels like a loss that may prove very difficult to bounce back from.