Miami Gardens, Fla. — The Turnover Chain became the Touchdown Chain.
Miami tied a school record with three defensive touchdowns, N’Kosi Perry threw for a score in his first start and the No. 16 Hurricanes downed North Carolina, 47-10, on Thursday night.
Romeo Finley and Joe Jackson ran back interceptions for scores, Jonathan Garvin scooped up a fumble and rumbled in for another touchdown and the Hurricanes (4-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) wound up forcing six turnovers in all.
“It was a sight to see,” Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “We always say, turnovers, they seem to come in bunches. The fact that we turned defense into offense on those was quite a sight to see.”
Perry didn’t have to do much, completing eight of 12 passes for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his debut as the Miami starter. Deejay Dallas rushed 11 times for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Hurricanes, whose 12th straight home regular-season win matches the school’s longest in 15 years.
Thanks to the defensive scoring, Miami had more points than plays — 47-46. And the Hurricanes’ quest for back-to-back ACC Coastal Division titles is off and running.
“We want to get back to Charlotte,” Miami coach Mark Richt said, referring to the site of the ACC title game. “That was a good start.”
Chazz Surratt, making his season debut after serving a three-game suspension for selling team-issued shoes, relieved North Carolina starting quarterback Nathan Elliott early and rushed for a touchdown for the Tar Heels (1-3, 1-1). But Surratt was intercepted three times, the Tar Heels also fumbled the ball away three times and they were a combined 3-for-16 on third and fourth downs.
“They put it on us today,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. “They got us into some long-yardage situations and brought a lot of heat on third and long. And we didn’t handle it very well.”
Richt kept most everyone guessing on his decision whether to start Perry or incumbent Malik Rosier right up until kickoff; he told the quarterbacks his decision a couple days ago. He lauded Rosier for the way he handled the news.
“He showed a lot of class,” Richt said.
Perry went the whole way, sans for a last-play kneel-down by quarterback Cade Weldon — though Miami’s defense was its best offense.
The three defensive touchdowns were a first for Miami since a game against West Virginia on Sept. 23, 2000. The Hurricanes became the first ACC team with three defensive scores in a game since Boston College in 2006, and are now one of two teams nationally this season to do so — along with Akron, which did it against Northwestern earlier this month.
It was Miami’s first time forcing six turnovers in an ACC game since a win over North Carolina State in 2012.
“We always talk about running the table,” said Dallas, who has been one of Miami’s most-vocal leaders since the season-opening loss to LSU. “The first game stung us and we came back, we came back hungry. I just think we can beat anybody.”
Heisman up for auction
The family of Clint Frank is auctioning off his Heisman trophy, which he won in 1937 as a running back and safety for Yale.
Frank died in July 1992 at 76, and his Heisman remained in the family. Frank’s Heisman is part of Heritage Auctions’ sports memorabilia offerings and is open for bidding through Oct. 18.
Heritage has estimated the price will exceed the $399,000 garnered by Rashaan Salaam’s 1998 trophy earlier this year. Other Heismans sold at auction include: Larry Kelley, 1936, for $328,100 in 1999; O.J. Simpson, 1968, for $255,000 in 1999; Bruce Smith, 1941, for $394,240 in 2005; and Charlie White, 1979, for $293,750.
Michael Payton, a former Marshall quarterback who led the Herd to its first Division I-AA championship died after a battle with cancer. He was 48.
... Julius Whittier, the first African-American football letterman at the University of Texas whose family later sued the NCAA on behalf of college players who suffered brain injuries, has died, the school announced, citing family. No cause of death or age was given.