CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Getting ready to drive a few miles to the Hurricanes at UNC game at Kenan Stadium.
Temperature before noon is 55 degrees and will be in the low to mid 40s at the end of the game. Sounds like great football weather.
The other interesting number before we head into kickoff: 13 -- give or take a half-point. That's about how much North Carolina is favored by today.
I completely understand that point spread. UNC has won eight consecutive games after losing its opener to South Carolina, and it has a very talented quarterback in senior Marquise Williams. He threw for 494 yards and accounted for five touchdowns last week against Duke. He can obviously throw well, but he also is very dangerous with his legs.
Williams is just the fifth quarterback in ACC history with at least 2,000 career rushing yards and also has the UNC record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with 28.
UM (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won the past four of five games in this series, but this one will be really challenging against a fast-moving, big-play-making Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0) team. UM's defensive line has to put some pressure on Williams, and then if (and probably when) he scrambles loose and starts running, he must be stopped. The Canes would help out their cause considerably by forcing some turnovers.
UM's runners somehow must find a way to prevail to take pressure off Brad Kaaya, as UNC has the No. 3 pass defense in the nation.
Last time I said the words "upset alert" before a game was Clemson at Sun Life Stadium. OUCH! 58-0.
I'm not feeling those words today, which probably is good for Hurricanes fans.
Can the Canes pull off another big one in North Carolina? If Miami is to achieve its goal of winning the Coastal Division, it has to.
I'll get this in my notebook for tomorrrow:
Miami sophomore slot receiver Braxton Berrios, a four-star recruit and Under Armour All-American when he graduated early his senior year from Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, is the only Hurricane who grew up near University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Earlier in the week, Berrios seemed thrilled to be making his second homecoming in three weeks to North Carolina. Two weeks ago he was there for the Duke game in Durham.
“It’s a blast,’’ Berrios said, “especially because this one is not on Halloween. I should have more friends and family there. It’s weird at first, because where we stay in the hotel is right across the street from my mall, and where we went to the movies is the movies I went to growing up – a mile from my house and a mile from my high school.’’
Though Berrios had 21 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns last season as a freshman, an early-season injury plus increased production by other pass-catchers have resulted in a more meager season for him in 2015. He now has nine catches for 70 yards.
His attitude, however, remains positive.
“You’ve got to stay in the moment,’’ Berrios said. “The fact is there’s one ball and we have a lot of good receivers, we have good running backs, we have good tight ends and we have a pretty good quarterback, too. You’ve got to take it in stride. Each week is a new week and that’s how we take it.
“Everybody goes through it. Everybody in high school was that guy.’’
Berrios is that guy in the classroom. Majoring in entrepreneurship, he has a 3.98 grade point average.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN