With their defeat of the #25 Miami Hurricanes 41-31 on Saturday evening, the #12 North Carolina Tar Heels are 6-0 for the first time since 1997, back when Mack Brown was the head coach before he joined the Texas Longhorns in 1998.
The Tar Heels saw the full impact of their newly eligible transfer wide receiver Devontez Walker against the Canes. Continuing to redeem his Heisman campaign, QB Drake Maye threw 4 touchdown passes–3 of which were to Tez. Walker caught fire, going for 6 receptions for 132 yards and 3 TDs. It is safe to say that the presence of Walker is palpable in this offense, and that he was well worth the wait through the eligibility controversy.
In the first half, though, the Heels’ offense seemed to stall, not able to make much progress down the field against a formidable Miami defensive front. While the offense struggled, the defense held down the fort, led by their linebacker trio: Cedric Gray, Power Echols, and Kaimon Rucker. These three posted combined stats of 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU, and 5 hits on QB Tyler Van Dyke (per Isaac Shade on X).
After being down 17-14 at the half, UNC’s offense made necessary adjustments against the Canes’ defense and came roaring back. Maye launched a 56-yard dime to Devontez Walker within the first two minutes of the third quarter, and the offense never looked back from there.
UNC RB Omarion Hampton continued to build his case as a top running back in all of college football, posting 24 carries for 197 yards and a TD, as well as 2 receptions for 20 yards and a TD, while making the Miami defense look silly. Up until giving up 235 rushing yards to the Heels yesterday, Miami was ranked as the top rushing defense.
Not only that, but the Heels’ defense continued to thrive, holding Miami to zero points in the third quarter. Even after giving up two passing TDs in the fourth quarter, the game was sealed in the last seconds with an interception by Gio Biggers, the third game-winning interception that Tyler Van Dyke has thrown to a Tar Heel in the past three years of the matchup.
The Heels now look to maintain their undefeated record against Virginia next week in Chapel Hill. Their fourth ACC matchup of the season will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on October 21st on the CW Network.