Devontez Walker hauls in 3 TDs as Hurricanes fall in Chapel Hill

Miami, Florida – Devontez Walker put on a show making sure the Tar Heels remained undefeated outplaying the Miami Hurricanes 41-31 at a packed Chapel Hill. Walker was largely sidelined until recently dealing with eligibility issues. The row between the NCAA and North Carolina was resolved allowing the wideout to return last weekend. He certainly made the most of his second start recording a team-leading six receptions for 132 yards. Despite leading at halftime, the Canes were unable to keep up with momentum swinging firmly in favor of the No. 12 Tar Heels for the rest of the night. This is UNC’s fifth consecutive win over the Hurricanes.

UM was plagued by three costly turnovers, several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, a poor running game, and an opposing offense that steadily picked the defense apart. Drake Maye shrugged off five sacks avoiding any interceptions while hitting the opposition with four scores. Omarion Hampton, meanwhile, ran for almost 200 yards including a touchdown.

Tyler Van Dyke was better this time around completing 31 of 48 passes for 391 yards and four TDs. However, he was sacked three times throwing two picks. Xavier Restrepo was by far his preferred receiver with 17 targets hauling in 11 for 96 yards and two TDs. Jacolby George finished the evening with six receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Isaiah Horton saw action credited with catching all four of Van Dyke’s passes for 52 yards. Brashard Smith was also active tallying three receptions for 90 yards and a score.

The running backs committee was stifled for a combined 91 yards. Henry Parrish Jr. was the only rusher who found any sort of success generating 73 yards, the lion’s share of the overall production.

Dropping to 4-2 (0-2 ACC) UM heads back home to host the Clemson Tigers next.

Miami its own worst enemy

The U played a lot better and for a time it seemed like they were going to respond wonderfully. Unfortunately, they shot themselves in the foot too many times denying critical points. Late in the first quarter, Miami’s third drive ended prematurely when Parrish fumbled at the goal line resulting in a turnover. A bad snap in the third quarter also nixed a promising possession. If that weren’t enough when the defense shut down the subsequent drive getting the ball back for Van Dyke, he was immediately picked off by Cedric Gray.

On North Carolina’s third go, Kamren Kinchens zoomed through the trenches slamming into Maye for the thunderous sack. It was nullified by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Keontra Smith. This happened again later in the half when the same penalty was called on a 4th and 1 this time on the defensive coordinator. The defense was woefully out of position causing Lance Guidry to blow a gasket stepping onto the field. The Tar Heels pounced on this turning into a Hampton touchdown tying the game 14-14.

It was fitting that the final play of the bout was another interception. Perhaps the most telling of all, in spite of committing 14 penalties for a near-school record-breaking 147 yards, UNC easily overcame those mistakes.

Walker and Hampton were a menace

These two went off in the second half. In Walker’s first game of the season, he was more or less getting his feet wet versus Syracuse. Learning plays on the fly the junior was fairly quiet the previous weekend. Here, Walker ran his routes shaking off defenders. While Maye was shredding the secondary his teammate chewed up the safeties. The timely addition improved UNC’s wide receiver corps even more and the numbers don’t lie. Devontez is the third ACC player in the conference this year to record three TD receptions in a game this season.

As I mentioned in the preview, the Tar Heels were not a one-dimensional offense. Hampton rushed for 197 yards finding the endzone twice. Omarion caught two passes for 20 yards including another TD. He did what the entire Miami RB Corps couldn’t. For their combined efforts, North Carolina is 6-0 for the first time since 1997. A great year if you’re a Marlins fan.

Where’s the rush?

If you think the RBs were bad versus Georgia Tech, they just one-upped that performance. By one-upped I mean they gathered even less yardage. Producing only 91 yards, this is now two straight games where the rushing has been disappointing. Yes, they started to really fall behind in the second half prompting more throws but to complete the third and fourth quarter with a grand total of -2? Are you kidding me? The only thing worse than the ground game was converting on third down. The Hurricanes were 3-for-11. Ouch.

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