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Gameday blog: Canes at North Carolina

The Miami Hurricanes (2-3) will look for their first-ever win in Chapel Hill Saturday when they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1). UM won last year's meeting at Sun Life Stadium 33-10, but against a North Carolina team depleted by injuries.

Gio Bernard> ABOUT CAROLINA: Interim coach Everett Withers suffered his only loss 35-28 at undefeated Georgia Tech back on Sept. 24. The Tar Heels rank 52nd in total defense (363.67 yards), 39th versus the run (119.17) and 87th versus the pass (244.50) and are led on defense by senior linebacker Zach Brown, who leads the team with 42 tackles, five for loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. Offensively, UNC has the fourth most efficient passer in the country in sophomore Bryn Renner (99-136, 1,305 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs), a star freshman tailback in Giovani Bernard (657 yards, 103 att., 8 TDs) from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and senior receiver Dwight Jones, who is second in the nation with seven TD receptions (37 catches, 605 yards). Carolina has scored on 16 of 19 opportunities in the red zone -- all 16 are touchdowns. In 21 trips inside the red zone, Tar Heels opponents have scored just eight touchdowns. UNC ranks eighth in the nation in red zone defense.

> WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN IT COMES TO THE CANES: UM's porous run defense figures to get abused again this week by Bernard and the Tar Heels. The usually slow starting Canes need to be wary of not falling behind by too much. Carolina hasn't allowed a first quarter touchdown this season and has outscored opponents 42-3 in the opening quarter and 94-42 in the first half. UM quarterback Jacory Harris has thrown for 837 yards, nine touchdowns and just three INTs -- and sparkled over the last 10 quarters. But his last trip to Chapel Hill wasn't a good one. He threw a career-high four INTs as UM lost. Redshirt sophomore running back Lamar Miller, who ranks third in the nation with 135.4 yards per game, is looking to record his sixth consecutive 100 yard game. Expect to see a lot of Miller early and often.

> MANNY'S PICK: UM 33, North Carolina 30. Nothing really favors the Canes in this game as UNC -- in the words of Al Golden -- probably the best team they Canes will face. Only, I'm not buying it totally. North Carolina struggled to beat lowly Louisville 14-7 last week and figures they have this one in the bag at home against a beat up and reeling Canes team they've owned at Kenan Stadium. UM has played out of its mind on offense of late while the defense has played with a cheese-like stench. I don't expect the offense to keep up this pace all season. But for this week, they will. I see big day from Jacory, a big day from Lamar, and a Wieclaw field goal in the fourth quarter that wins it for the Canes.

Herald Sports Writer Andre Fernandez will run today's live blog. Manny Navarro is covering the Miami Dolphins today. Remember to please keep your comments clean of profanity or you will be removed from the chat room.

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