UNC football vs. Miami Hurricanes: Game preview, info, prediction and more

We take a look at what you need to know for the UNC football program’s matchup against Miami Hurricanes this Saturday.

The 4-1 North Carolina Tar Heels will hit the road to take on the 2-2 Miami Hurricanes in a crucial Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

This Saturday, UNC will be playing on the road for the third time this season, going 2-0 in their first two trips. The first win came in Appalachian State’s hostile environment in a 63-61 finish for the ages, while UNC scored late to beat the Panthers 35-28 in Georgia.

Miami’s season started hot, blowing out their first two opponents by 100 points to 20. Since then, they have cooled off significantly, losing to Texas A&M and paying Middle Tennessee to come into town and upset the Hurricanes 45-17.

North Carolina is coming off their best season game, beating Virginia Tech 41-10. UNC’s defense played their best all season, with sure tackling and perfect-timing blitz calls. Miami’s offense struggles against Middle Tennessee came in the run game, in which the Hurricanes were held to 1.6 yards per carry.

Miami sticking with Tyler Van Dyke for matchup with UNC

Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will get the start against UNC on Saturday despite struggling against Middle Tennessee two weeks ago.

The Miami Hurricanes aren’t ready to make a switch at the quarterback position just yet. Following a disappointing performance two weeks ago in the loss to  Middle Tennessee, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will still be the starter for Week 6 against the Tar Heels.

Head coach Mario Cristobal reaffirmed his belief in the quarterback after benching him in the second half of that loss.

Cristobal met the media earlier this week to discuss the upcoming matchup against UNC and while there may have been the potential to switch to Jake Garcia, the Hurricanes believe that Van Dyke still gives them the best chance to win:

“We are honest about the fact that Tyler has played great football here for a long time and you don’t turn on your quarterback because we had a bad day as a program,” Cristobal said Monday morning on his weekly local radio appearance on WQAM. “You make sure you do things and install things and work on things that the quarterback and supporting cast feels comfortable with and at the same time you recognize and acknowledge Jake (Garcia) did a great job and has a super bright future here at Miami.”

Saturday’s game will be an important one for both teams as UNC is 1-0 in conference play while this is the opener for the Hurricanes. The Coastal Division appears to be wide open, especially with Pittsburgh’s loss to Georgia Techa a week ago.

And the game very well could come down the quarterbacks as Drake Maye and Van Dyke will be in the spotlight.

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USA TODAY Reporter: ‘The ACC race is wide open’

Clemson remains undefeated (5-0_ after a dominant win over No. 10 NC State.

A USA TODAY Sports writer weighed in on the current college football landscape after a Week 5 that was full of prime-time matchups, upsets and close games.

In his 5 overreactions from Week 5, USA TODAY Sports Eddie Timanus gave his two cents on what the rest of the season may look like for the ACC. Timanus mentions that while the Coastal Division is certainly still up in the air, Clemson will likely dominate the ACC as a whole this fall.

“The Coastal Division certainly is, especially in the aftermath of defending league champion Pittsburgh’s disastrous effort against Georgia Tech. Any number of teams could emerge, but none appears to be even a remotely significant favorite.

In reality though, the conference race is likely over. Yes, there are four ACC Atlantic teams currently in the Top 25 and a fifth, Florida State, that could work its way back in. But Clemson already owns wins against two of them, and it seems unlikely the Tigers will lose twice the rest of the way or that Syracuse will somehow upset things. Clemson will then be heavily favored against whoever survives the Coastal – North Carolina? Duke? – in the conference title game.”

The Tigers hit the road for the third time this season this weekend when they travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College for the third ACC matchup in a row. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

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College football in a hurricane: Notre Dame-Clemson from 2015

Did someone say hurricane levels of rain on a Saturday at Clemson?

This week ESPN’s “College Gameday” travels to Clemson, South Carolina for a battle between a couple of unbeaten squads as the host Tigers take on North Carolina State.  Notre Dame is off for their bye this week but with the weather that is expected it’s seemingly fitting from a Fighting Irish fan’s perspective that these two are meeting up.

Hurricane Ian is making landfall on Wednesday on Florida’s gulf coast and with it is bringing an incredible amount of rain and dangerously high winds.  In all seriousness, far beyond the importance of a silly football game this weekend or from years ago now. all the best to those having to evacuate or ride this thing out.

Clemson playing host to North Carolina State on Saturday will be played in what should be a ridiculous amount of rain and probably wind, too.  With it being at Clemson it brings back memories for Notre Dame fans as in 2015, the unbeaten Fighting Irish and Tigers met in Clemson and played a classic while being poured on by the rains from Hurricane Joaquin.  It also brings back memories of one of the ugliest games in Notre Dame football history, the 2016 hurricane game at North Carolina State, something we also took a look back on.

Thanks to costly Notre Dame turnovers it looked like most of the night that Clemson was going to run the Irish out of the building.  Stretching their lead to 21-3 just after halftime, the rout was seemingly on.

However, Notre Dame mounted a comeback by dominating the fourth quarter and a touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Torii Hunter, Jr. with just seven seconds left brought the Irish within two.  Brian Kelly called a Kizer designed run to the outside for the two-point conversion try that was stopped and with that, Clemson escaped with the 24-22 victory.

Take a look back at that memorable but heartbreaking night in Clemson below:

ACC Football: Will Georgia Tech pursue Deion Sanders?

According to multiple reports, Deion Sanders could be the lead candidate for Georgia Tech as head coach.

The latest coaching job to open is in the Atlantic Coast Conference as Georgia Tech parted ways with head coach Geoff Collins and athletic director Todd Stansbury.

The Yellow Jackets job is now near the top of, if not at the top of the list of openings right now. With Arizona State and Nebraska also needing head coaches, the Yellow Jackets are expected to move fast and there’s one name reportedly at the top of the list: Deion Sanders.

The former Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons star is the top choice for the Yellow Jackets per a report from Carl Reed of 247Sports:

With Georgia Tech firing Geoff Collins on Sunday (a move that will become official Monday), it’s my understanding that the program has tabbed Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders as its top target.

It makes a lot of sense. Is there anyone more popular in the city of Atlanta than the former Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons star? It is a natural recruiting fit in a city where Sanders is revered and in one of the most fertile grounds of top tier football talent in the country. This move would bring excitement to a fan base that is starving for Georgia Tech to become a player in the major college football scene.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports echoed those thoughts as well, meaning there is legitimacy to these rumors.

The current Jackson State head coach could make a move up to the ACC and take over a team in Atlanta where he can recruit some of the top talent in the country. Landing Sanders would be huge for Georgia Tech and potentially help the program reclaim some of that success that is lost.

Follow us @TarHeelsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of North Carolina Tar Heels news, notes and opinions.

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UNC continues to monitor Hurricane Ian ahead of Saturday’s game

The UNC football program is keeping an eye on Hurricane Ian for Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech.

The UNC football program is scheduled to return to the football field on Saturday afternoon as they open up Atlantic Coast Conference play against Virginia Tech. But as we continue to count down the days until kickoff, the weather in Chapel Hill has a lot of rain in the forecast.

With Hurricane Ian set to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday, Chapel Hill will feel the impact with heavy rains during the weekend. And that could impact Saturday’s showdown with the Hokies.

On Tuesday, a UNC spokesperson told Tar Heel Illustrated that the game is still on for Saturday, releasing this statement:

“Saturday’s football game between North Carolina and Virginia Tech at Kenan Stadium is still scheduled to be played, as planned. Carolina Athletics is working with University, local and state officials to closely monitor Hurricane Ian and its potential impact on Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas.”

The two teams are not strangers to playing in Hurricane rain as they played through a monsoon in 2016 with the Hokies coming away victorious. The Tar Heels obviously don’t want a repeat of that game, especially with how good UNC’s passing offense really is.

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McFadden, Uiagalelei earn ACC Weekly Honors

Congrats to these two Tigers on earning ACC honors following their thrilling win over Wake Forest.

Via Clemson Athletic Communications:

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that offensive tackle Jordan McFadden (Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week) and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (Quarterback of the Week) have earned ACC Player of the Week honors for their performances in Clemson’s thrilling 51-45 double-overtime win against No. 21/16 Wake Forest on Saturday.

The selections are Clemson’s third and fourth of the season. With the addition of the duo’s honors this week, Clemson has now garnered a total of 557 ACC weekly honors since 1968.

McFadden collected his third career ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week award after grading out at 91 percent with three knockdowns, according to Clemson’s coaching staff, while playing every offensive snap. He served as a key pass protector whose performance helped Clemson convert 16-of-23 third downs, a school single-game record that surpassed the Tigers’ 15 third-down conversions against Western Carolina in 1983.

Uiagalelei’s selection represents the third ACC weekly honor of his career, joining two ACC Rookie of the Week nods as a true freshman in 2020. Last week, Uiagalelei completed 26-of-41 passes for a season-high 371 passing yards with a career-high five passing touchdowns and also added 52 rushing yards on 14 carries. He became the first Clemson quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a game since Trevor Lawrence at Georgia Tech in 2020, and he produced the first game by a Clemson player with at least 370 passing yards, at least five touchdowns and no interceptions since Deshaun Watson at NC State in 2015.

Uiagalelei was also named Monday as one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. Placekicker B.T. Potter also earned a Lou Groza Award Star of the Week selection for his 13-point performance that included a 4-for-4 effort on PATs and a 3-for-3 mark on field goals, including a game-tying 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that tied his career long.

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Texts between Cunningham and Guskiewicz show ACC talks about expanding to Big 10 or Pac 12

New texts retrieved by The Charlotte Observer show discussions about UNC and the future of ACC as a conference.

When the college sports world was rocked in late June with UCLA and USC bolting the Pac-12 and heading to the Big 10, it signaled a seismic shift in athletics. Eventually, conferences are going to look different and if you’re not on board now, you’re going to get left behind.

We saw rumors regarding UNC and what they would do. Would they leave the ACC? Would the conference try to form a super conference somewhere else?

Now, a few months later some texts released by UNC to The Charlotte Observer’s Andrew Carter show discussions between UNC AD Bubba Cunningham and university chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and what the ACC talked about in a meeting the next day. Among the biggest things in those texts was this:

In his text message conversation with Guskiewicz on June 30, Cunningham went over how Phillips was likely to address the ACC’s presidents and chancellors during their conference call the next morning. One of the talking points, as Cunningham described it:

“Should we explore a partnership with the Big 12 or Pac 12(?)”

Guskiewicz was intrigued: “We could have a super conference both athletically and academically,” he responded. “Probably would need to be called the Atlantic-Pacific Athletic Conference (APAC). Maybe that’s crazy, but if it would get us a better TV deal, it may be worth considering.”

“We need to think about what outcomes we want?” Cunningham wrote back. “What are our priorities? Do we want to maintain all teams in the ACC? Is this a new league? Do we want to have the same number of teams at each school?

“Should we play a national schedule or regional schedule?”

Interesting.

There’s a lot more info in Carter’s piece, which I highly recommend you read at some point. For now, talks appear to be mum but they should start to heat up as more expansion is likely coming across the country.

Follow us @TarHeelsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of North Carolina Tar Heels news, notes and opinions.

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Notre Dame-North Carolina: Leading receiver expected back for Tar Heels

Scale of 1-10 how do you feel about Notre Dame winning Saturday?

It appears that North Carolina will be getting some help as wide receiver Josh Downs is said to be “on track” to returning for Saturday’s game.  Tar Heels Wire went a little deeper into the likely addition for the game as Downs missed North Carolina’s last two games with a leg injury.

Downs led North Carolina last season with 101 receptions for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns.  He’s the exact kind of playmaking receiver that Notre Dame so desperately lacks to date this season.

Related Links:

Notre Dame updates depth chart ahead of UNC game
Notre Dame’s historical dominance of UNC in football
ESPN’s FPI projects remainder of Notre Dame schedule

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We encourage you to give @TarHeelsWire a follow as this game nears and for all things Tar Heels going forward.  Also check them out at Tar Heels Wire on the USA TODAY Sports wire network.

Contact/Follow us @IrishWireND on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Notre Dame news, notes, and opinions.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @NickShepkowski

Putnam, Shipley collect ACC Weekly Honors

Putnam and Shipley picked up ACC Weekly Honors after Clemson’s 48-20 win over Louisiana Tech.

Via Clemson Athletic Communications:

CLEMSON, S.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that center Will Putnam (Offensive Lineman of the Week) and running back Will Shipley (Running Back of the Week) have earned ACC Player of the Week honors for their performances in Clemson’s 48-20 win against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

The selections are Clemson’s first and second of the season. With the addition of the duo’s honors this week, Clemson has now garnered a total of 555 ACC weekly honors since 1968.

Putnam’s selection is the first of his career. Shipley’s selection is the fourth ACC weekly honor of his career, including three ACC Rookie of the Week selections as a true freshman in 2021. He becomes the 27th Clemson player since 1968 to earn at least four career ACC weekly awards.

Putnam graded at 92 percent with two knockdowns against Louisiana Tech, according to Clemson’s coaching staff. He centered an offensive line that helped power Clemson to 280 rushing yards and 241 passing yards, moving Clemson to 57-0 when both passing and rushing for 200-plus yards under Dabo Swinney. Clemson’s 280 rushing yards were a season high, its highest single-game rushing total since a 332-yard rushing effort against Wake Forest last season.

Shipley rushed 12 times for a career-high 139 yards with two touchdowns on Saturday. In the process, he became the first Clemson player in records back to 1950 to open a season with multiple rushing touchdowns in each of the first three games of a season. He now stands as only the fifth ACC player (and third ACC running back) since 2000 to rush for multiple touchdowns in each of the first three games of a season.

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