AP NEWS

No. 16 Miami set to play host to North Carolina

September 26, 2018

North Carolina (1-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) at No. 16 Miami (3-1, 0-0), 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Miami by 17 1/2.

Series record: North Carolina leads 11-10.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Miami begins defense of its ACC Coastal Division title against the Tar Heels, who are getting as many as seven players back from suspensions for selling team-issued shoes. The Hurricanes are seeking a 12th straight home regular-season victory, and the Tar Heels are looking to reach .500 or better for the first time since being 8-5 at the end of 2016.

KEY MATCHUP

North Carolina on third down against Miami’s defense. This is critical to the Tar Heels’ upset chances. Miami leads the nation in third-down defense this season (opponents converting 17.5 percent of the time), after not even being the best Miami in the rankings last season — the Hurricanes were 75th nationally a year ago, behind even Miami of Ohio. The Heels are 109th nationally this season in converting third downs (33.3 percent).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

North Carolina: RB Antonio Williams ran for a career-best 114 yards in last week’s ACC-opening victory over Pitt.

Miami: DB Sheldrick Redwine has recorded an interception in both of the Hurricanes’ home games so far this season.

FACTS & FIGURES

Combined score of the first 21 meetings between the programs: North Carolina 462, Miami 462. ... Miami has never led the all-time series between the schools. It’s been tied on three occasions (3-3, 5-5 and 9-9), but the Hurricanes have not had the upper hand. ... The last time Miami played as the nation’s No. 16 team was two years ago, at home, against an unranked North Carolina team — and the Tar Heels prevailed. Miami is 11-0 in home regular-season games since. ... North Carolina won the time-of-possession battle against Miami last season, and hasn’t in any of its six games that have followed. ... Miami enters ranked No. 1 nationally in tackles for loss, No. 2 in total defense, No. 5 in rushing defense and No. 6 in passing yards allowed.

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