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North Carolina holds on to beat Miami 18-14

Associated Press Modified: October 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm •  Published: October 13, 2012

A three-play flurry by the Tar Heels late in the second quarter will likely go down as the difference in this one.

Facing a fourth-and-6 from the Miami 33, Bernard got loose to make a stumbling catch of what became a 16-yard pass from Bryn Renner — a play where the Hurricanes nearly had a sack, and one that left Miami defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio punching the air in disappointment.

His mood turned even more sour just seconds later, when Bernard quickly went in from 17 yards out. And the Tar Heels caught Miami napping with a two-point conversion, with Tommy Hibbard taking a quick snap and throwing to Eric Ebron for a 15-7 lead on a play where Golden thought the Hurricanes had a breakdown and were left with only 10 men on the field.

"If you think about it, that's the difference," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said of the two-point conversion.

In the fourth quarter, Miami's final two drives ended with turnovers on downs — with the Hurricanes in field-goal range both times, but trailing by four anyway. Had North Carolina kicked the extra point after Bernard's second touchdown, it theoretically would have been a three-point margin at the time.

Bernard went in from 10 yards out to cap the opening Tar Heels' drive: a seven-play, 61-yard waltz with nary any resistance from the Hurricanes.

It stayed 7-0 until the midpoint of the second quarter, though easily could have been much worse. Renner was picked off by Miami's Eddie Johnson near the goal line on one possession, and Casey Barth missed a 33-yard field goal into a swirling wind with 10:53 left in the half. A roughing-the-kicker penalty on a Miami punt gave the Hurricanes a break, and James plowed in from a yard out on that extended possession to tie the game at 7-all with 5:21 remaining.

Morris scored from 5 yards out with 5:06 left in the third to end a 12-play, 94-yard drive and get the Hurricanes within 15-14 — a sequence where Miami apparently wanted to try going for a two-point conversion as well. But officials flagged the Hurricanes for snapping the ball too quickly, and Miami settled for just an extra point.

"It shouldn't have been this close," Bernard said.