North Carolina had plenty of excuses, from injuries to suspensions, but the biggest reason the Tar Heels lost to Miami 33-10 on Saturday night was because the Canes finally woke up and decided they wanted to contend for the Coastal Division title.
It was a decision that came not a moment too soon.
This was exactly the kind of win Miami needed and it came when the Canes needed it most -- at home against their former coach with little to no margin for error in the Coastal Division standings. Miami snapped a three-game losing streak to Butch Davis and kept its ACC title hopes alive.
Defensive end Allen Bailey was a monster -- 3.5 sacks -- and the defense forced three turnovers. Quarterback Jacory Harris made good use of his running backs and receivers in the passing game and only had one interception.
North Carolina now has two conference losses, which has the Tar Heels looking up at Virginia Tech and Miami in the conference standings. Their game on Nov. 20 could determine the division winner if Miami continues to play like it did Saturday night.