The North Carolina Tar Heels improved to 4-3 on the 2021 college football season by defeating the Miami Hurricanes Saturday, winning by a score of 45-42. Despite the victory, this year has not gone to plan for the Tar Heels, who entered the campaign with a No. 10 national preseason ranking.
Following the game, North Carolina head coach Mack Brown was asked if the result with Miami can get the team back on track.
“Yes. We’re at a point in our society where there’s a lot of people negative about everything, and I’m not gonna be negative about any of this,” Brown said, via InsideCarolina. What I’ll do is I’ll go home right now and I’ll grade the video four or five times. Like I’ve said, I’ll look at it. There’ll be things we can fix tomorrow, but these are kids and both teams are really good.
“I don’t mind people being critical, because that’s part of the reason they come. It’s part of the reason they like it. What I’ve got to do is go fix it. If you’re a North Carolina fan, and you can’t be really excited and celebrate tonight, you’re probably not the fan we want you to be. You should be in coaching instead of being a fan because this is really cool. It was a great win and I’m proud of these kids.”
Quarterback Sam Howell completed 17 of 26 passes for 154 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, something Brown thought was the difference for North Carolina in the game.
“I thought that was probably the biggest difference in our ballgame,” Brown said. “The turnovers by the defense and Sam’s ability. The quarterback draw worked really, really well early. He is so hard to bring down and a couple of times he just ran through arms and twisted and went in to score. That is a new problem that people have to have and I think that will help us with the pass rush.”
North Carolina’s defense picked off Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke three times, one of which was the game-sealing turnover with six seconds remaining. Brown was asked what the feeling was like seeing Cedric Gray intercept the pass, his second one of the day.
“We really can’t,” Brown said. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. It’s kind of like the Duke game [in 2019]. I saw it, and I wanted to make sure it was real. Then you start seeing all your players rush out to the hash mark, you’re trying to get them and get them back. As soon as I get through with you guys, I think I’ll probably really sit back and say, this is really cool. What a great win for this program. And what a great win for these kids.”