Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Miami Faces a UNC Team Without Their Starting QB



North Carolina 2-1 @ Miami 2-1
Line: Mia -7.5

North Carolina travels to Miami to face the Hurricanes in an important Coastal Division game. The Tar Heels are facing a must win to keep pace with leader Virginia Tech whom they lost to last weekend. Miami is playing their first conference game a week after blowing out Texas A&M on the road. Can the Tar Heels pull off the upset without their starting QB TJ Yates?

North Carolina Offense vs Miami Defense
The aforementioned Yates is out for at least 6 weeks with an ankle fracture. Backup Mike Paulus came in last week and promptly threw two interceptions to spark and seal the Virginia Tech rally. UNC HC Butch Davis mentioned new backup QB Cam Sexton may get some reps this week as well. Unless Paulus can have a Jarrett Lee-LSU type turnaround, then the Heels will have to count on a punishing ground game to move the ball consistently. Miami’s front seven is starting to show flashes of brilliance allowing just 75 ypg on the ground. The secondary is inexperienced is giving up over 200 yards passing per game. Expect Miami to blitz Paulus and try and stuff the run.

Miami Offense vs North Carolina Defense
The Hurricanes offense has shown a solid ground game behind Graig Cooper’s running. The other tailback Javarris James is out with an injury this week so expect Cooper to carry the load. QB Robert Marve has been good, but not great in three games thus far. He needs some help from a young receiving corps. The Tar Heel defense has given up some yards this year (347 ypg), but is only allowing 20 ppg. I think Miami needs to show they stretch the field with the pass so UNC cannot stack the box to stop the run.

Other Areas…
Butch Davis used to coach at Miami and will be returning for the first time since he left after the 2000 season. UNC won last year in Chapel Hill due to a bunch of Miami turnovers, but the ‘Canes did stage a second half comeback. I cannot stress enough how night and day North Carolina’s offense was with Yates in there versus Paulus. If Yates does not get hurt then I think UNC beats Virginia Tech.

Prediction
7.5 points seems like a lot when these two teams are compared statistically, but I think Vegas agrees with me as to how much difference there is in UNC’s offense with Yates vs Paulus. I expect Miami to be able to run the ball with success. The Hurricanes defense will blitz Paulus trying to force him into bad throws like Va Tech did. I like Miami in this one to win and cover the 7.5.

Miami 28 North Carolina 20

Miami Covers

Last Week: 3-3 ATS, 4-2 SU
Season: 11-4-1 ATS, 11-5 SU

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