CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Eighth-ranked Miami is still unbeaten, even if it isn’t coming easy.
Malik Rosier threw for a career-high 356 yards with three touchdowns to help the Hurricanes hold off North Carolina 24-19 Saturday, though they struggled to put away an injury-riddled team despite entering the game as 20-point favorites.
Miami (7-0, 5-0 ACC) didn’t score its first touchdown until the final minutes before halftime and had two turnovers, notably when running back Travis Homer coughed up a late fumble that gave UNC the ball with a chance to drive for a winning score. Still, Miami came up with a pair of key plays to stay atop the Coastal Division standings.
"A lot of good things happened," Miami coach Mark Richt said. "Just not clean enough for me personally."
Rosier had a 51-yard touchdown throw to tight end Christopher Herndon late in the first half, a 78-yarder to receiver Jeff Thomas to open the third quarter and a 5-yarder to receiver Braxton Berrios to give UM a 24-13 fourth-quarter lead.
Rosier missed a first-half series because of an apparent shoulder injury. The team didn’t make him available after the game, saying he was receiving treatment.
The Tar Heels (1-8, 0-6) got within 24-19 on freshman Beau Corrales’ second touchdown catch with 3:03 left, then came up with Homer’s fumble with 2:56 to go. But after pushing across midfield and near the Miami 35, running back Jordon Brown lost a fumble — recovered by defensive back Jaquan Johnson — with 2:11 left.
Then Rosier ran for a chains-moving 7-yard keeper on third down, allowing UM to run out the clock.
"Obviously us as an offense, we kind of felt a little bit down because we didn’t do what we needed to do or executed the way that we wanted to," Miami tackle Kc McDermott said. "But at the same time, a win’s a win."
The Hurricanes, who squeaked by in their past three wins by a combined 13 points, struggled much of the day against a 1-7 team relying on a third-string quarterback. Not the best way to go into the November stretch run, even as they remain unbeaten.
"I know this: If we keep a cool head and we make good decisions and we execute what we’re calling, we’ve got a chance to come back and win," Richt said. "That’s what I think the team has done, even in the tightest of circumstances."