University of Miami

Penalties cost Hurricanes in loss to Tar Heels

North Carolina's Dominiquie Green (26) dives over teammate Donnie Miles (15) to tackle Miami's David Njoku after a pass reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015.
North Carolina's Dominiquie Green (26) dives over teammate Donnie Miles (15) to tackle Miami's David Njoku after a pass reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. AP

The Hurricanes began the week ranked 126th of 127 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in “fewest penalties per game,’’ averaging 9.33.

They also began the week ranked 124th in “fewest penalty yards per game,’’ averaging 82.89 — with 746 yards worth of penalties.

By halftime Saturday against North Carolina, UM had been flagged nine times for 80 yards — five penalties for 40 yards in the opening quarter.

By the end of the game, UM had 12 penalties for 103 yards.

Conversely, the Tar Heels entered the week 39th nationally in fewest penalty yards per game (47.33) and 50th in fewest penalties per game (5.78). UNC only had two penalties for 25 yards at the end of three quarters but finished with five for 56 yards.

Twice in the first half, UNC scored touchdowns and followed them by throwing up the U and then mockingly turning the hand signal upside down — once by quarterback Marquise Williams and once by Ryan Switzer on his punt return for a 78-yard touchdown. They were not ruled taunting.

UM cornerback Artie Burns, who returned to the football field for the first time since Duke, was flagged once for pass interference and once for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first half, and flagged again for pass interference one play before UNC made it 38-0 early in the third quarter.

Burns didn’t play in last week’s game against Virginia as he dealt with family issues following the death of his mother.

INJURIES MOUNT

Defensive tackle Anthony Moten, offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu, quarterback Brad Kaaya, and running back Joe Yearby all were tended to for various injuries during the game (Yearby on the sideline after running out of bounds). All returned to the game. Defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins was injured in the fourth quarter.

RECEIVERS QUIET

Going into Saturday’s game, UM was the only school in the Atlantic Coast Conference that had three wide receivers — Rashawn Scott, Stacy Coley and Herb Waters — with at least 450 yards receiving.

Scott came into the UNC game with 539 yards and four touchdowns, Waters had 504 yards and one touchdowns and Coley had 486 yards and three touchdowns. Scott finished with one catch for 7 yards, Waters had one catch for 14 yards and Coley had five catches for 58 yards. The only touchdown catch (8 yards) was made by freshman Lawrence Cager, the first of his career.

TAR HEEL TIES

Miami sophomore slot receiver Braxton Berrios, a four-star recruit and Under Armour All-American when he graduated early his senior year from Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the only Hurricane who grew up near University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Earlier in the week, Berrios seemed thrilled to be making his second homecoming in three weeks to North Carolina. Two weeks ago he was there for the Duke game in Durham.

“It’s weird at first, because where we stay in the hotel is right across the street from my mall, and where we went to the movies is the movies I went to growing up — a mile from my house and a mile from my high school,’’ said Berrios, who finished with one catch for 4 yards.

The North Carolina roster listed two players from South Florida: freshman defensive end Jason Strowbridge of Deerfield Beach and sophomore safety Donnie Miles of Miami.

THIS AND THAT

▪ Switzer’s punt return for a 78-yard touchdown late in the first half was the first punt return allowed for a touchdown by Miami since Greg Reid of Florida State did it on Nov. 12, 2011, a game that FSU won 23-19.

▪ More than 100 Golden Canes made the trip to Chapel Hill for the annual Golden Canes outing to an away game. This year, anyone who donated at least $15,000 to the Hurricane Club is designated a Golden Cane.

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