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 visiting 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.
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.
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 three for 16 on third and fourth downs.
Miami coach Mark Richt kept everyone guessing on his decision whether to start Perry or incumbent Malik Rosier right up until kickoff. The Hurricanes didn’t even list a quarterback on the starting lineups that were shown on the stadium video boards shortly before the game.
Perry went the whole way, except for a last-play kneel-down by 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.
Michael Payton, a former Marshall quarterback who led the Herd to its first Division I-AA championship, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 48. ... Julius Whitter, an offensive lineman and tight end who was the first African American letterman for Texas’ football team, died Tuesday at age 68.