In 2007 North Carolina was coming off a close-fought 17-10 loss to Virginia Tech.
Up next on the slate was Miami.
While the quirk of scheduling does not imply that another result like last year's 33-27 victory is imminent for UNC it is worth noting that the Tar Heels have had their fair share of success against the Hurricanes.
Of the three expansion teams the ACC added in 2004 and 2005 North Carolina has a winning record against only Miami.
The Tar Heels are 6-5 all-time against the Hurricanes including two wins in the past four years.
Wins against Boston College and Virginia Tech have proven harder to come by — UNC is 2-2 all-time with BC and 9-15-6 against Va. Tech — but the Tar Heels seem to have Miami's number more so than most.
For example in program history North Carolina has only once beaten a team ranked in the AP top five. That game was UNC's 31-28 victory against Miami in 2004.
Throw into the mix the fact that Miami coach Randy Shannon both played for and then coached under Butch Davis when Davis was at Miami and things really start to get interesting.
Davis is quick to discount the idea that playing Miami especially in Dolphin Stadium" is anything special.
""Miami's the opponent" he said. We played them last year and we're just going back down there and playing them again. I've only been there two times in my life as a coach" and it's just another road game.""
But it was apparent in 2007 that Davis understood the schemes of his former understudy Shannon" as UNC's running game exploded for 183 yards — the season-high for 2007.
That game came just as UNC's rush looked to be foundering" but Davis used misdirection and cut-back running to get the aggressive Miami defenders out of position.
UNC will have to do more of the same after suffering an injury to starting quarterback T.J. Yates.
""This is a time to prove something" halfback Greg Little said Wednesday.
This is a time that we've hit some adversity" and you know T.J. has stepped down.
""It's time to show that we can bounce back from a loss and from an injury to a key position.""
Davis already has hinted that UNC will be looking for those misdirection plays that wreaked havoc with the Miami defense in 2007" especially given the success UNC wideouts have had running reverses in 2008.
Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster have rushed 10 times for 186 yards an average of 18.6 yards per carry.
That's in stark contrast to Tar Heel running backs" who are averaging a pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry.
""You could be really foolish and say ‘We're going to hand the ball off 27 times" and at the end of the game we've got 53 yards""" Davis said.
""Or you could say … ‘We're going to fake to that tailback back inside there and we're going to give it to Brooks and he's going to run for 57 on the outside.'
""What's the difference? Running yards are running yards.""
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