True first-year quarterback Sam Howell converted a fourth and 17 and, four plays later, hit Dazz Newsome for a touchdown in the back right corner of the end zone to lead North Carolina over Miami, 28-25, Saturday night at Kenan Stadium.
With the win in their home opener and head coach Mack Brown’s official return to Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels are 2-0 for the first time since 2014. The Hurricanes fell to 0-2.
UNC couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Howell connected with Antoine Green for 39 yards, which led to an opening-drive field goal. Then, after the defense forced a three-and-out, he hit Dyami Brown streaking down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown — on the first snap of North Carolina’s second drive at that.
Less than four minutes into the first quarter, the Tar Heels were up 10-0.
The Hurricanes came back with a solid drive of their own, which ended in a 50-yard field goal. North Carolina followed up with a 75-yard drive for another touchdown — this one from running back Javonte Williams, who burst out of a mass of bodies for a two-yard score
UNC held that 17-3 lead through the first quarter. The Hurricanes threatened on their next drive — kicker Bubba Baxa, however, missed a 24-yard field goal, and Miami came away empty-handed.
Hurricanes quarterback Jarren Williams continued to settle in as UNC’s offense grew lethargic. In the second quarter, North Carolina had five total yards. Williams threw a short slant-pass touchdown to cut the Tar Heels’ lead to 17-13 at half.