MIAMI GARDENS (AP) — Here's what Miami lost on Saturday: a division game, an unblemished record in the Atlantic Coast Conference and quite possibly its starting quarterback.
To make matters even worse, Giovani Bernard reminded the Hurricanes what might have been.
Playing near where he starred as a high-schooler, Bernard ran for 177 yards and two first-half touchdowns, leading North Carolina past Miami 18-14. He shined at running back for the Tar Heels in a game where the Hurricanes lost starting quarterback Stephen Morris to a lower left leg injury during the fourth quarter and fell from the ranks of the ACC unbeaten.
“It's very tough,” said Hurricanes running back Mike James, his head tilted back against a wall as he spoke postgame. “I mean, this is a tough game to lose.”
James had career-bests of 22 carries and 96 yards for the Hurricanes and he scored Miami's first touchdown on a 1-yard run.
Morris scored from 5 yards out in the third quarter but went down near the Miami sideline with 8:26 left to play. He was helped to the bench area by trainer Vinny Scavo, his left ankle was wrapped in ice and he eventually limped off the field during the last
Miami drive while wearing a walking boot.
Morris finished 12 for 26 with 155 yards and two interceptions.
After he left, Ryan Williams, a Miramar High product, took over as quarterback.
When the final whistle sounded, the entire look of the ACC Coastal race changed.
Miami (4-3, 3-1), North Carolina (5-2, 2-1), Virginia Tech (4-3, 2-1) and Duke (5-2, 2-1) all have one loss in conference play.