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October 13, 2012

G7: North Carolina 18, Hurricanes 14 (Final): Two-point try that wasn't haunts UM in first ACC loss, and QB Morris hurt; plus Gators, Noles, FIU & more

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G7: NORTH CAROLINA @ HURRICANES: Final: It now appears Morris might miss next week's big visit by Florida State. ..... UM's previous two losses were to ranked opponents on the road. Though very lopsided, those defeats at least could be rationalized. In some ways this loss was worse because, although close, it was at home to an ACC rival with the same record. ..... Stephen Morris departed in fourth quarter with an ankle injury but he'd been struggling. What ended up really hurting UM was a planned two-point conversion try that ended up being an extra-point kick because of a five-yard penalty. UM would have been in position for an attempted tying field goal late in game had that two-point try been attempted and converted. In the end, UM's deefnse contained UNC's high-powered offense pretty well. It was the Heels' defense that proved better than expected, and too much for Miami. Canes now 4-3 overall, 3-1 in the conference. Halftime: question going in was whether Miami's struggling defense could limit UNC's high-powered offense. The bigger question at the half is whether UM's offense, especially the passing game, can generate enough against the Heels' D. ..... Original post: This ACC Coastal Division game reiterates how Miami is held in such little regard. Both the Canes and North Carolina are 4-2. UM is 3-0 in the 1aa1canesuncconference to the Heels' 1-1. Yet the visiting team is a 7 1/2-point favorite. I think it's UNC's three-game winning streak during which a very impressive offense has scored 141 points -- juxtaposed against a Miami defense that has been pretty awful. Also, it's not as if the Canes enjoy much of a home-field advantage at Dolphins stadium, where I'd anticipate another half-full gate. The onus is on embattled UM defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio (pictured left) to get his unit turned around now. Some Canes fans derisively refer to D'Onofrio as Onofrio -- as in, no D. I might also suggest "D'Oh-no-frio." Not sure there's a miracle cure for this young defense. Nevertheless, UM has the offense (despite last week's implosion vs. Notre Dame) to hang with UNC in a shootout. And I like coach Al Golden having his guys mentally ready for a big bounceback showing. Last week hurt, but an ACC championship game appearance is still very much in play, ever more so with a win here. Upset! My pick was: Miami, 34-28.

Other Collball Week 7 featured state FBS games, in order:

No. 12 FSU 51, Boston College 7: How would Noles rebound from their national-title-hope ruining loss at N.C. State? By taking out all that frustration on poor B.C., I thought. And was right. My pick was: FSU, 45-14.

No. 4 Florida 31, Vanderbilt 17: Vandy was bad but not awful; they played South Carolina to a 17-13 loss. And Gators were coming off that big emotional triumph over LSU. So this was a letdown game. Thought UF wouldn't blow its ranking but expected a close game. My pick was: Florida, 27-19.

Middle Tennessee 34, FIU 30: I understood FIU being a home 'dog. Mid-Tenn was better overall, and what passed for a Panthers defense was allowing an outrageous 37.8 points per game. The Int'l was due something to go right, though, an encouraging game. And the return from injury of QB Jake Medlock would be a huge boost. Alas, FIU feel inches short in the final seconds, continuing a snake-bit season now 1-6. My pick was: FIU, 30-27.

Louisiana-Monroe 35, FAU 14: This was a La-Mo team that opened season with a 34-31 OT loss to then No. 8 Arkansas. They averaged 39.6 points. Pray for the Owls. My pick was: La-Monroe, 41-16.

My record: This week, 3-2. Season, 25-8.

Other state FBS games: UCF def. Southern Miss, 38-31. South Florida had a bye.

National Game of the Week: No. 9 LSU def. No. 3 South Carolina, 23-21. Steve Spurrier's 'Cocks needed a big road to feather chances of sneaking up into the BCS National Championship game, but fell short.

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