Current Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 03:56:16 -0400
MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. – The ram sealed the win for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Gene Robinson, who plays the ram position, popped Miami tight end Clive Walford five yards short of the first down marker on fourth and 16 with less than 30 seconds left in the ball game.
All North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner had to do was take one knee and the Tar Heels (5-2, 2-1) had knocked off the Hurricanes 18-14.
Even though Miami’s back-up quarterback Ryan Williams had moved the Hurricanes nearly 60 yards down the field in the final minutes of the game, Renner, who was watching on the sideline, had faith in his defense.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in them,” Renner said. “They played well the whole game – kept us in it – held them to 14 points. And I thought they had a lot of confidence and I was happy that they came out and did their job.”
Renner finished the game with 214 passing yards on a night when he was 25-for-40. But he didn’t have any touchdowns against Miami (4-3, 3-1).
Running back Giovani Bernard took care of those.
Playing in front of his father and brother, Bernard had another strong performance as he put up 177 yards on 27 carries. It was the ninth 100-yard rushing game of his career. He had two rushing touchdowns, one from ten yards out and the second from 17. He caught four passes for 36 yards and none more important than the shoe string snag he made on fourth and six late in the first half.
He would scamper into the end zone on the next play to break the 7-7 tie.
“It meant the world to me,” Bernard said about playing near his hometown of Davie, Fla. “But first and foremost we had a good day out there. We all played really hard. It wasn’t about where we were playing at. Especially for me, you have to go out there each and every game with an open mind. It doesn’t matter where you’re at.”
While Bernard’s touchdown gave UNC the lead, it was the point after that gave the Tar Heels the momentum.
Place holder and punter Tommy Hibbard was lined up with Barth in the backfield with the rest of the line out wide to the right. But before they made their usual trot back to center, Hibbard called for the snap and slung the ball over to tight end Eric Ebron for a quick two-point conversion.
“Tommy Hibbard made a nice play,” coach Larry Fedora said. “If you think about it that’s the difference. I mean they could have been kicking a field goal other times and they had to score. That’s a huge play for us.”
Tre Boston solidified that momentum with an interception on Miami’s next possession.
Boston had another interception later in the game on a similar deep ball but it was called back for a pass interference call on Robinson. Boston made it clear after the game that the Tar Heels’ defense focus was to not let Miami beat them with the long ball and they certainly delivered on that.
The longest pass play of the game for the Hurricanes was 23 yards and the UNC defense held Miami’s starting quarterback Stephen Morris to just 155 yards before he was sidelined with an injury midway through the fourth quarter.
“Making sure that we stay deeper than the deepest – that was my job this week,” Boston said. “Make sure nobody gets behind me. South Florida boys can run and that’s exactly what I am. I’m just running with the best of them.”