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Miami Hurricanes nearly pull off comeback, fall short to Sam Howell’s 4 TDs and North Carolina, 45-42

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Sam Howell threw two touchdowns and ran for two more as North Carolina held off Miami, 45-42, sending the Hurricanes to their worst record at the midway mark of a season in more than two decades.

Miami was in position to tie or win when reaching the North Carolina 16-yard line in the final minute, but linebacker Cedric Gray intercepted a tipped pass with 6 seconds left.

Ty Chandler ran for two touchdowns for the Tar Heels (4-3 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) in a matchup of two teams that began the season in the Top 15, but are trying to gain traction midway through the season.

The Hurricanes (2-4, 0-2) are 2-4 for the first time since 1997 when they were on NCAA probation and stuck with scholarship limitations.

Howell was 17 for 26 for 154 yards in the air with an interception while running for 98 yards on 17 carries. Chandler gained 104 yards on the ground on 18 attempts.

Howell’s touchdown runs covered 30 and 11 yards, both times pinballing off Miami defenders.

Miami nearly erased an 18-point deficit, pulling within 38-34 before stalling in North Carolina territory early in the fourth quarter. Then the Tar Heels drove 58 yards for a touchdown, aided by 30 yards on Miami penalties.

Freshman Jaylan Knight ran for two Miami touchdowns, including a 4-yard run to cap a 97-yard drive with 3:08 remaining that was followed by a successful two-point conversion pass play.

The Hurricanes, after using all their timeouts, regained possession at the 2:46 mark and picked up 56 yards before the interception.

Miami used Tyler Van Dyke, who made his third career starter and first away from home, at quarterback just days after it was announced that D’Eriq King would be lost to season-ending shoulder surgery.

Van Dyke, who was 5 for 15 and picked off twice in the first half, finished 20 for 45 with 264 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

Miami’s first points came on Jahfari Harvey’s 33-yard return with a first-quarter interception.

THE TAKEAWAY

Miami: The Hurricanes don’t seem equipped to overcome much adversity and they encountered more of it in their first true road game of the season. Miami lost team rushing and scoring leader Cam’Ron Harris to a lower-body injury on the first drive of the second half.

North Carolina: Receiver Josh Downs has scored on a touchdown reception in every game this season, including the team’s first TD on a 45-yard play Saturday. He has an eight game TD streak dating to last season. He made 10 of his 11 receptions in the first half, ending up with 96 yards.

UP NEXT

Miami is home against No. 22 North Carolina State on Saturday.

North Carolina has a bye week before traveling to Notre Dame on Oct. 30.

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Atlanta Braves look to clinch National League pennant, first World Series appearance since 1999 with victory over Los Angeles Dodgers

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Photo: Major League Baseball

Los Angeles Dodgers (106-56, second in the NL West) vs. Atlanta Braves (88-73, first in the NL East)

Atlanta, Georgia; Saturday, 8:08 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Dodgers: TBD Braves: Ian Anderson (1-0, 3.58 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 124 strikeouts this postseason)

NLCS: Atlanta leads the series 3-2

BOTTOM LINE: Atlanta will look to clinch a series win with a victory over Los Angeles in Game 6 of the NLCS.

The Braves were 42-38 on their home turf in 2021. Atlanta has a team batting average of .247 this postseason, Eddie Rosario has led them with an average of .471, including four extra base hits and eight RBI.

The Dodgers posted a record of 48-33 away from home in 2021. Los Angeles has a team slugging percentage of .404 this postseason, Chris Taylor leads them with a mark of .818, including seven extra base hits and 12 RBI.

The Dodgers won the last meeting 11-2. Evan Phillips earned his first victory this postseason and Chris Taylor went 4-for-5 with three home runs and six RBI for Los Angeles. Max Fried took his first loss of the postseason for Atlanta.

TOP PERFORMERS: Freddie Freeman leads the Braves with 179 hits and has 83 RBI.

Trea Turner leads the Dodgers with 65 extra base hits and is batting .328.

DURING THE PLAYOFFS: Braves: .247 batting average, 3.58 ERA, outscored opponents by five runs

Dodgers: .252 batting average, 3.06 ERA, outscored opponents by 11 runs

INJURIES: Braves: Josh Tomlin: (neck), Mike Soroka: (achilles), Grant Dayton: (shoulder), Tucker Davidson: (forearm), Marcell Ozuna: (hand), Ronald Acuna Jr.: (knee).

Dodgers: Jimmie Sherfy: (elbow), Jimmy Nelson: (elbow), Dustin May: (elbow), Clayton Kershaw: (forearm), Tommy Kahnle: (elbow), Cole Hamels: (arm), Caleb Ferguson: (elbow), Danny Duffy: (forearm), Garrett Cleavinger: (oblique), Scott Alexander: (shoulder), Edwin Rios: (shoulder), Sheldon Neuse: (undisclosed), Max Muncy: (elbow).

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Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke’s words help fuel NC State, Canes confident Wolfpack ‘can’t hang’ with them

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Photo: Canes All Access

University of Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said this week without hesitation that he must get off to a faster start for the Hurricanes to win, his first opportunity coming at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at home against 18th-ranked NC State.

“It’s on me,’’ Van Dyke said. “I just have to get more comfortable in the beginning of the game. I’m capable of doing everything out there. I just gotta get the ball and let it rip.

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) sets up to pass during game against Alabama Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, September 4, 2021. AL DIAZ ADIAZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Don’t think. Don’t aim. Just let it rip. …It’s totally on me.”

Read more from the Miami Herald.

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García, Alvarez help Houston Astros oust Boston Red Sox, reach World Series

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Photo: Associated Press

HOUSTON, Tex. — Rookie Luis García showed the poise of an October ace, MVP Yordan Alvarez stayed hot at the plate and the Houston Astros earned yet another trip to the World Series, beating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 Friday night in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series.

The Astros advanced to the World Series for the third time in five seasons. They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in 2019.

Manager Dusty Baker’s team will open the World Series on Tuesday night, either at Dodger Stadium or home against Atlanta. The Braves lead Los Angeles 3-2 in the NL Championship Series going into Game 6 Saturday night.

The Houston Astros celebrate their win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

“There’s four more wins on the board out there,” the 72-year-old Baker said. “There’s four more wins you’ve got to get.”

García pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning, leaving to a huge ovation with two outs after a triple by Kiké Hernández. It was an impressive bounce-back performance for the 24-year-old, who started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee.

Alvarez continued his scorching streak, a year after watching at home after surgery to both knees as the Astros came one game shy of reaching the World Series. The slugging designated hitter had four hits, including a triple and two doubles. He led a Game 5 win with three hits and three RBIs.

The Houston Astros celebrate their win against the Boston Red Sox n Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Álvarez hit an ALCS-record .522 (12 for 23) with one homer, three doubles, the triple and six RBIs in Houston’s six-game victory. He got nine hits in his last 13 at-bats.

Catcher Martín Maldonado made the defensive play of the game on a strikeout-throwout double play to end the seventh with Houston ahead 2-0.

It will be Baker’s second trip to the Fall Classic as a manager and first since leading the San Francisco Giants to the NL pennant in 2002. As a player, he made three trips with the Dodgers, winning it all in 1981.

Members of the Boston Red Sox react after their loss against the Houston Astros in Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

“Hey, I’m going back to the World Series!” Baker told a cheering crowd at Minute Maid Park.

For Houston, it was a team victory featuring all facets of the game it used in taking the AL West title. The Astros won, too, without a hit from stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa — Alex Bregman got two hits and scored a run.

Boston’s best shot to score came in the seventh. The wild-card Red Sox had runners at first and third with one out in after a single by Alex Verdugo. But Kendall Graveman struck out pinch-hitter Travis Shaw and Maldonado made a perfect throw to Correa, who was covering second, to beat Verdugo there and end the inning.

Boston Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec sits in the dugout after their loss against the Houston Astros in Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Maldonado beat his chest with glee as Graveman and Correa both pumped their fists in celebration to roars from the crowd of 42,718.

Kyle Tucker broke it open with a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth. Television cameras flashed to Houston’s Hall of Fame duo of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who stood together and cheered as Tucker rounded the bases.

Ryan Pressly closed it out in the ninth. The Red Sox, who looked so formidable at the plate at the start of the season, were held to two hits in their final game.

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. and shortstop Carlos Correa celebrate their win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Bregman singled with two outs in the first before the double by Alvarez put the Astros up 1-0. Hernández was in position to make the catch, but it hit off his arm below his glove and dropped in for the hit.

Consecutive romps by Boston and its bashers made it appear that the Red Sox were in complete control of the series after Game 3, but as the long fly by Alvarez proved, they didn’t have a firm grip on things.

The Astros, buoyed by their young pitchers and rediscovered offense, won the next two games by a combined 18-3 to return home a win away from a World Series.

Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly and teammates celebrate after a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the baseball AL Championship Series, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros advanced to the World Series (Kevin M. Cox/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)

Framber Valdez pitched the Astros to a Game 5 win at Fenway Park, then their 24-year-old rising stars, García and Alvarez, did the rest.

Houston had a chance to add to the lead in the fourth when Bregman singled and another double by Alvarez left him at third with no outs. But they came up empty after Nathan Eovaldi worked out of the jam.

Alvarez tripled with no outs in the sixth to chase Josh Taylor and Tanner Houck plunked Correa. Tucker then smacked a grounder right at first baseman Kyle Schwarber who tagged Correa for the unassisted double play as Alvarez slid safely into home to make it 2-0.

Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado and relief pitcher Ryan Pressly celebrate their win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. The Astros won 5-0, to win the ALCS series in game six. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.

On Friday, he permitted five hits and one run as the Red Sox lost a playoff game where he started for the first time after entering the game 5-0 in his starts.

García is the first pitcher to take a no-hitter into sixth of a potential playoff clincher since the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard got two outs in sixth against the Giants in 2016 NL wild-card game.

Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez waits in the outfield during the eighth inning in Game 6 of baseball’s American League Championship Series Houston Astros Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

García allowed Schwarber to reach on a wild pitch after a strikeout to open the game and walked Verdugo with one out in the second. He settled in after that, sitting down the next 13 with five strikeouts, before Hernández got Boston’s first hit on a triple with two outs in the sixth. García finished with seven strikeouts.

Phil Maton took over and retired Rafael Devers to end the inning.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Boston manager Alex Cora has heard the speculation that the Astros are relaying signs from the bases and said the Red Sox protect themselves against that.

“It’s not about technology or other stuff,” Cora said. “There’s stuff that happens on the field that you have to be guarded. The same way that teams play defense against us, we play defense against other teams. Not only them we did it against the Yankees, we did it against the Rays. It’s the nature of the game. We’re prepared for that.”

Cora knows better than most about Houston’s sign-stealing history having been the team’s bench coach during the 2017 season when they were found to have violated rules by using a television camera to steal catchers’ signs.

UP NEXT

The Astros will make their fourth World Series appearance. They lost in their first try, swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday night where the Astros will host if the Braves advance or Houston will travel to LA if the Dodgers win the NL pennant.

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