MIAMI — Cameron Sexton saved the day for North Carolina, and might have resurrected his career as well.
Getting a chance for the first time since losing his starting job nearly two years ago, Sexton threw a 14-yard touchdown to Brooks Foster with 46 seconds left, capping North Carolina's rally from a 14-point deficit and lifting the Tar Heels past Miami 28-24 on Saturday.
Sexton — playing because T.J. Yates is out with a broken left ankle — completed 11 of 19 for 242 yards and two fourth-quarter scores, the last one perfectly thrown to Foster in the right side of the end zone.
"I didn't have anything to lose," Sexton said. "If I went out and played poorly, I wouldn't have changed anyone's opinion of me."
He hardly was the only star for North Carolina (3-1, 1-1 ACC), which beat Miami for the second straight year.
Trimane Goddard had two fourth-quarter interceptions, including one on the final play after Miami receiver Kayne Farquharson couldn't hold on to a ball that would have been the winning touchdown for the Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1).
"On that one at the end, if I had kissed him any more, my wife would be jealous," Tar Heels coach Butch Davis said.
Even after Sexton delivered North Carolina's only lead, Miami had a chance.
Former Plant High star Robert Marve, who threw three touchdowns, guided Miami to the UNC 20 with 15 seconds left. He saw Farquharson just to the right of the goal post, fired a pass that sailed high, and Goddard came down with it after Farquharson tipped it.
"It's hard losing a game you know you should have won," Marve said. "That's the hardest thing about this game for all of us, and all the players would agree. We felt we should have won this game. We felt like if we played this game 10 times, we would win nine of them, and today wasn't our day."
Graig Cooper rushed for 110 yards, 60 on the game's opening drive, and had a receiving touchdown for Miami. Aldarius Johnson's 4-yard grab with 9:59 left gave the Hurricanes a 24-14 lead.