- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - A year ago, North Carolina caught Miami’s Duke Johnson.

Not this time.

The way Johnson is playing right now, the Tar Heels had no shot.

Johnson finished with 177 rushing yards - including a 90-yard touchdown run that helped Miami blow the game open - and his assault on his school’s record books continued as the Hurricanes rolled past the Tar Heels 47-20 on Saturday to keep themselves in the thick of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division race.

“I refused to get run down again by North Carolina,” said Johnson, whose 90-yard gain tied Miami’s all-time record for longest rush.

He wasn’t kidding. Last year, on a play where Johnson burst through the right side of the line, got to the sideline and headed for the end zone, the Tar Heels caught Miami’s star in his final strides. This year, on an eerily similar-looking play, North Carolina’s M.J. Stewart closed the gap and dove for Johnson around the 10-yard line.

Stewart missed. The rout was on.

“I made sure I got by him,” Johnson said.

Brad Kaaya threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns for the Hurricanes (6-3, 3-2). Joe Yearby rushed for 104 yards and Clive Walford had two scoring grabs, becoming 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 very disappointing,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. “I don’t think we played too well up front, or anywhere.”

North Carolina was outgained 494-258, the lowest yardage total for the Tar Heels since Nov. 5, 2011. In their last 36 games, the Heels had averaged 448 yards per outing.

“They did an incredible job. My hat goes off to the Hurricanes,” Williams said.

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.

“Obviously, we’ve settled in,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “We’ve kind of settled in to who we are.”

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.

“I only control what I can control, and that’s playing hard for this team,” Johnson said.

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.

“They whipped us,” Fedora said. “That is all I can say.”

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