CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Miami-North Carolina game was closer — and more heated — than expected.
After a 24-19 win that included a lot of post-whistle smack talk and some heated exchanges afterward, Miami receiver Braxton Berrios wanted to “make sure the ‘U’ was held up properly” after his 5-yard touchdown catch midway through the fourth quarter.
“Very important, obviously,” he said. “It hasn’t really left my mind since we came up here two years ago and got embarrassed. Utterly embarrassed.”
He was referring to the 2015 Miami-UNC game at Kenan Stadium, when former Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams taunted the Hurricanes by displaying the program’s trademark U’ hand signal — made by holding palms up, thumbs together — and turning it down toward his waist. Teammate Ryan Switzer did the same.
That was part of a 59-21 blowout by UNC, which was on its way to that year’s ACC title game. Miami fired its coach three weeks before, and was bound for a
Berrios, a senior from nearby Raleigh, held the ‘U’ high in the air for several beats after his diving grab.
“When you lose a game and get disrespected like that, it sticks with you for a while,” Berrios said. “I told our receiver group, I was going to put it up properly.”
The teams jawed at each other during the game, and came together at midfield as the clock ran out. Mark Richt and UNC coach Larry Fedora were shown on TV having an extended conversation after shaking hands.
Even though UNC lost, linebacker Cayson Collins had this to say to the Raleigh News & Observer: “We’ve got the No. 8 team in the country coming in, and personally, I don’t feel like they should have been No. 8.”
Noteworthy: Travis Homer’s fumble was the first of Miami’s season. … The teams combined for zero points off six turnovers. … Defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh‘s pass break-up was his sixth of the year, which ranks him top-15 among ACC players. McIntosh smiled broadly when informed of that fact afterward. “Pretty cool,” said the 6-foot-4, 290-pound NFL prospect, who tied Jaquan Johnson with a career-high 11 tackles. In the last five years, only two ACC defensive linemen have had more PBUs than McIntosh, a junior from Fort Lauderdale-Cardinal Gibbons High. Clemson’s Christian Wilkins had 10 last year, the most by an ACC D-lineman since at least 2008. Virginia’s Brent Urban had nine in 2013. Florida State’s Demarcus Christmas also had six last year. … Miami has seven interceptions in the last two weeks. It has not had seven since a two-game stretch against Duke and UNC in 2010.