In what was definitely their most dominating ACC victory in many years, and maybe ever, your Miami Hurricanes beat the North Carolina Tar Heels in convincing fashion 47-10 at Hard Rock Stadium Thursday night.
Over 60,000 fans packed Hard Rock Stadium to witness No. 16 Miami (4-1, 1-0 ACC) thrash the visiting Tar Heels (1-3, 1-1 ACC) on Thursday night. The Hurricanes racked up 354 yards of total offense while running just 46 plays and the defense tallied 14 tackles for loss, forced a school record-tying six turnovers and scored three times in a commanding win over their division rival.
"Overall, just a great win," Miami head coach Mark Richt said. "1-0 in conference play. That's what we wanted to be. Now we have a little bit of rest, a little more rest than usual for next one against Florida State. We're looking forward to that."
North Carolina was the last team to beat the Hurricanes at home, but the win Thursday night was Miami's 12th straight regular season home win dating back to October 15, 2016 -- the longest such streak for the Canes since winning 26 straight from 1999 through 2003.
"First half, I don't think we could really play a lot better – offense, defense, special teams," Richt said. "I was very encouraged by what happened there."
Miami's defense doubled the Hurricanes' score when Shaquille Quarterman sacked Elliott to force a fumble that was recovered by Jonathan Garvin and returned nine yards for the Canes' first defensive touchdown of the season. It was Miami's first fumble returned for a touchdown since Michael Jackson against Notre Dame in 2016.
"It's special because even in the other games you could see sometimes the ball comes out, it is not actually a turnover," Garvin said. "But then we pick it up, we scoop it and then he had the guys, three men blocking for him. So you could see it come into fruition today. So something that we constantly practice. It just came to light really. "
Miami's defense struck again on UNC's following possession, as Surratt was pressured by Gerald Willis III and the quarterback threw an interception to defensive end Joe Jackson who then took the ball 42 yards to the end zone for the Hurricanes' second defensive score of the night and put the Canes ahead, 24-10.
"Not a lot of times you get to see the defensive ends run," Jackson said. "I feel like I got pretty good speed, so I put a little show on for you tonight."
"Joe Jackson's one was probably my favorite touchdown from the defense tonight because he always said how he could play tight end and how he wants the ball," Perry said. "And he showed his feet tonight. It was very fun watching him."
"It's always fun to score points on defense, for the defense and the offense," Richt said. "Everybody loves it. The fans love it. There was a lot of ESPN highlights right there. Again, I felt first half, the entire team played like we should play. If we can put two halves together like that, offensively, we'll be in good shape. With the lead as it was, probably slowed things a little too much too early, in my play-calling."
The Hurricanes scored on defense for the third time, when Romeo Finley picked off Surratt on the opening play of the fourth quarter and returned the interception 83 yards for a touchdown. The junior wore the Turnover Chain for the first time in his career and scored his first career touchdown to put Miami up, 40-10. The touchdown tied a school record with three defensive touchdowns in a game, as Miami had three defensive scores on Sept. 23, 2000 in a 47-10 victory at West Virginia.
"I don't remember three touchdowns… I mean, I don't remember that even as a fan watching a game and seeing a defense score three touchdowns," defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. "Unless it's a JV game or something. But our guys, the thing I will give them credit for is we pressured the quarterback and we made the play. We didn't almost catch it. We caught the ball, we tucked it in and brought it back for a touchdown."
Redshirt senior Trayone Gray added Miami's final score of the night, a one-yard touchdown with 4:04 remaining in the game, to wrap up an 11-play, 61-yard scoring drive that put Miami ahead, 47-10.
"Second half, with a big lead, offensively [we were] trying to slow the game down a little bit and be a little more conservative," Richt said. "Not very good at that. Anyway, at the very end, we were able to hold the ball about six or seven minutes and give the defense a break. What happens when you score touchdowns on defense is you've got to go back and play defense again. So the time of possession for them was pretty high. We only ran 40-something plays – we had 46 plays. A lot had to do with just the fact that we were scoring on defense and how we were having to go play defense again."