CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Dallas Crawford knew Miami needed a big game from him after its top rusher went down to an early injury. He delivered with a performance that kept the 10th-ranked Hurricanes unbeaten — barely.
The redshirt sophomore ran for a career-high 137 yards, including the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left that gave Miami a 27-23 victory over North Carolina on Thursday night.
Crawford’s second short score ended a 90-yard drive by the Hurricanes (6-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who lost top rusher Duke Johnson. But Crawford topped his season rushing totals in one game, carrying the ball 33 times and scoring twice in the final quarter to help the Hurricanes avoid a big upset against the desperate Tar Heels (1-5, 0-3).
“We’re resilient,” Crawford said. “We’ve been through a lot over the years. It took a long time to get to this point. In years past, we probably would have lost this game. But it’s all about believing, and that’s what we did tonight.”
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Miami’s players certainly had every reason to believe this just wasn’t their night.
Johnson left in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury, and starting receiver Phillip Dorsett hurt his left knee and finished the game on crutches.
Quarterback Stephen Morris threw four interceptions to match his season total.
The Miami defense was ranked among the nation’s best but gave up a season-high 500 yards and struggled to stop UNC tight end Eric Ebron, who had eight catches for 199 yards.
Yet at the end, the Hurricanes rallied from 10 down early in the fourth quarter to keep themselves in position for a Coastal Division crown and an appearance in the ACC championship game — though they still have games against No. 5 Florida State and No. 19 Virginia Tech.
“I told them all week we were going to have to win this game by playing until there were four zeros (on the clock),” Miami coach Al Golden said.
Oregon will wear pink cleats, socks, gloves and helmets Saturday against Washington State to support the fight against breast cancer, according to ESPN.com.
The helmets also will help raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a charity that has raised $2.6 million. Its namesake, former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, succumbed to breast cancer in 2009.
• Grambling State changed coaches for the second time this season. Defensive assistant Dennis “Dirt” Winston has been named the new interim coach for the Tigers (0-7). Winston replaces George Ragsdale, who was promoted from running-backs coach in September when Doug Williams was fired. The move was aimed at reuniting players, who boycotted Wednesday’s practice.