Mitch Trubisky threw two touchdown passes, Malik Carney forced a turnover with 1:31 left to thwart Miami’s last chance at a rally and North Carolina knocked off the 16th-ranked Hurricanes 20-13 on Saturday.
Ryan Switzer and Austin Proehl had scoring catches for the Tar Heels (5-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Bug Howard had 10 catches for 156 yards for North Carolina, which rebounded in a big way from last weekend’s blowout loss against Virginia Tech.
Trubisky completed 33 of 46 passes for 299 yards.
Mark Walton rushed for 82 yards and Joe Yearby ran for 74 more and a touchdown for Miami (4-2, 1-2), which lost its second straight game after last week’s 20-19 loss to Florida State.
Brad Kaaya completed 16 of 31 passes for 224 yards for Miami, but he was hit by a blitzing Carney and lost the ball late in the game to send fans streaming for the exits. North Carolina took over and ran out the clock, sealing the deal when Elijah Hood rumbled 13 yards for a first down with 1:02 left — the 14th conversion in 23 third-down opportunities for the Tar Heels.
Miami’s 2001 team — the last to win a national title for the Hurricanes and arguably one of the best college teams ever assembled — was honored at halftime, with coach Larry Coker running out of the traditional smoke first and followed by players who trotted from one of the end zones.
They got some cheers, though considering they took the field with Miami down 20-3, the reception was muted.
Among the first-half lowlights: Miami’s Malcolm Lewis caught the opening kickoff and immediately went out of bounds at the 3-yard line, and Michael Badgley had a kick blocked for the second straight week — a field goal at the same end that his potentially game-tying extra-point was knocked away by Florida State late in last week’s loss.
It was 10-0 North Carolina after one quarter, and Switzer made it 20-3 when he hauled in a 1-yard pass with 18 seconds left before halftime.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels were flagged for false starts seven times. … Switzer had a very strange stat line: 9 catches, 17 yards. But it was a historic line. The nine catches made him North Carolina’s record-holder for career receptions with 206, passing Quinshad Davis.
Miami: Injuries are now a huge problem for Miami, which wasn’t particularly deep to start the season. Defensive linemen Chad Thomas and Demetrius Jackson were knocked out of the game with injuries, and linebacker Michael Pinckey was shaken up twice — but returned both times. The Hurricanes’ defense was so depleted that some players not even on the two-deep saw action in the second half.
It’s hard to envision Miami remaining in the AP Top 25 after two straight losses, meaning the Hurricanes would go from No. 10 to unranked in two weeks — the first time since 1968 that the program would go from top 10 to out so rapidly. North Carolina is likely to return to the poll for the second time this month and third time this season.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels resume their Coastal stretch, going to Virginia next Saturday.
Miami: The Hurricanes play at Virginia Tech on Thursday night.