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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Duke Johnson went over the 3,000-yard mark for his career and scored three times despite getting most of the second half off, Brad Kaaya threw three touchdown passes and Miami rolled past North Carolina 47-20 on Saturday.
Johnson had a 90-yard touchdown run — tying the Miami record for longest rush from scrimmage — and finished with 177 yards on 19 carries for the Hurricanes (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). His 1-yard scoring run opened the scoring, and he turned a middle screen into a 37-yard TD catch in the third quarter.
Kaaya completed 11 of 17 passes for 189 yards, and now has 20 touchdown passes in his freshman season. Clive Walford had two touchdown grabs, the first Miami tight end to do so since Greg Olsen in 2005.
Quarterback Marquise Williams had a pair of touchdown runs and Cayson Collins returned a fumble 39 yards for a score for North Carolina (4-5, 2-3).
It was over by halftime, with Miami up 30-6 and leading 322-57 in total yards — dominating defensive numbers against a team that had topped the 35-point mark five times in its first eight games this season.
The Hurricanes paid homage to their past, putting Russell Maryland and Jerome Brown in the team's Ring of Honor and honoring Jim Kelly as the headline attraction of their homecoming weekend.
"Now we're on the right track to making sure we turn The U program around right here today by beating North Carolina," Kelly told the crowd at halftime. "This is the year we turn the whole thing around."
Johnson is giving Miami plenty of hope.
He has a rushing touchdown in each of his last eight games, the first Miami back to do that since Willis McGahee in 2002. And in his last five games, he's piled up 843 yards on 97 carries, an average of 8.7 per rush.
Johnson now has 3,080 yards, 251 away from tying Ottis Anderson's all-time Miami record.
Next up for Miami, which remained a half-game out of first in the muddled ACC's Coastal Division: Florida State on Nov. 15. The Hurricanes have won 13 of their last 14 home games, outscoring opponents 546-260.
For a moment, this one seemed in a bit of doubt after a bizarre sequence. All within a span of 20 seconds, there was a safety, a free kick, a penalty, a defensive touchdown and a missed extra point to give North Carolina some hope.
The Tar Heels had a punt snap sail out of the end zone for a safety that pushed Miami's lead to 9-0. After a free kick and a delay-of-game penalty that incensed Miami, North Carolina's Mikey Bart got to Kaaya and forced a fumble that Collins scooped up and scored. At that point, North Carolina practically had as many points (six) as it had yards (nine).
Later in the quarter, Williams — who completed 22 of 32 passes for 191 yards — even had a reception to himself, grabbing the carom after Miami's Anthony Chickillo batted back one of his throws.
But before long, Miami put it away.
Walford had a pair of 14-yard scoring catches in a 5-minute span of the second quarter, Johnson got loose for his 90-yard score and the lead was 24 points at the break.
It was the second straight week where Miami led by 24 at halftime. The Hurricanes had that big a lead at intermission only once in their first 83 ACC games, before doing it last week against Virginia Tech and again Saturday.