Miami-UNC

Chapel Hill, NCMiami knows its chances of reaching the ACC championship game are slim, but a high-profile bowl could still be in its future.

Bet College Football Week 11

The No. 12 Hurricanes look to earn their first victory in four tries in Chapel Hill on Saturday when it takes on North Carolina.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made Miami -3.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Miami -3.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Miami (7-2, 4-2) will be eliminated from contention for the Coastal Division title if No. 7 Georgia Tech defeats Duke in a game scheduled for earlier Saturday. The Hurricanes are trying not to think of that possibility.

"We've got to just keep winning games," center A.J. Trump said. "If we lose a game anywhere along the line, we're not where we want to be. We initially had the goal for the national championship; that's probably not in the cards now. But a nice BCS game is still a possibility if we just win out."

Winning out is certainly possible for a Miami team in the midst of playing 10 straight weeks. The Hurricanes have a home game with Duke and a trip to No. 23 South Florida remaining.

"We used up all our bye weeks at the beginning of the year so we just have to fight it through," quarterback Jacory Harris said. " North Carolina is a tough team, you have Duke who is now up there in the ACC fighting for a spot and then you have USF who is doing their thing in the Big East. We just have to go out there and prepare every week mentally and physically and hopefully we can get some victories."

The Hurricanes are 0-3 all-time in Chapel Hill, and coach Randy Shannon has lost both previous matchups against North Carolina (6-3, 2-3) and coach Butch Davis, who is 2-0 against the program he guided from 1995-2000. Miami fell behind by 27 points at halftime two years ago in a 33-27 road loss and blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in last year's 28-24 home defeat to the Tar Heels.

Miami tailback Graig Cooper rushed for 110 yards on 19 carries in last year's loss to North Carolina, but had yet to reach 100 this season before he gained a career-best 152 yards in a 52-17 rout of Virginia last Saturday.

"Shorter practices, that played a big role," said Cooper, who claimed he hasn't been healthy most of the season. "Coach Shannon is real smart and we just go with him. It went well. We had one day of banging and we worked more on technique. We came out fresh."

The big day on the ground took some pressure off Harris, who completed 18 of 31 passes for 232 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Harris threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter the week before to rally Miami to a 28-27 win at Wake Forest.

The Hurricanes turned in their best defensive effort of the season, holding Virginia to 149 yards - a season low for a Miami opponent.

"The defensive line has been working on the pass rush side of it and they did a good job of harassing the quarterback," Shannon said. "We held them to 149 yards total offense."

North Carolina features an outstanding defense that ranks fifth in the nation, allowing an ACC-low 249.4 yards per game, and limited Duke to 125 yards - a season low for Tar Heels opponents - in a 19-6 victory last Saturday.

"I thought our defense took the right approach, that we didn't allow any kind of running game to get generated to start the ballgame," Davis said. "You don't want to have to start cheating the box and devoting a whole lot of extra people to stopping the run."

The Tar Heels have averaged 193.8 yards on the ground in winning three of four, including 192 last weekend. Ryan Houston ran for career highs of 37 carries and 164 yards after starter Shaun Draughn was lost for the season with a shoulder injury suffered on the first offensive play.

Before the Duke game, Houston - a junior - had never had more than 18 carries or 74 yards rushing.

North Carolina will become bowl-eligible with a victory.

Bet College Football Week 11

Posted: 11/10/09 1:34PM ET

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