The Tarholes... They haven't won in ATL since Mack Brown's last season in 1997. I almost hit Butch Davis on the field, last time we played the Tarholes in ATL. And 'cause of that we're gonna see a real shit show. Two teams trying to prove their worth. Both teams are struggling to find offensive identity. Both teams have NFL talent on the roster looking to improve scouts. Here's the breakdown.
Shaun Draughn is the key and flaw in the Tarheels offense. He carries the ball a ton but has no nose for the end zone. He has yet to score a rushing touchdown this season and last season only found the end zone 3 times in 198 rushes. Ryan Houston is the Heels goalline back that has scored all of their rushing touchdowns so far. Look for Draughn to move the ball down the field and Houston to come in and punch it in.
T.J. Yates statistically is on par with last season except in two major categories. He has been sacked more frequently (25.6% increase in sacks/game) and he is passing for less yards/completion. Essentially, his green offensive line is not giving him time to make the big plays and his receivers aren't making plays when they get the ball. Both factors are HUGE for GT on Saturday.
The defense for UNC is sick. They've only given up 198.7 yards per game - 52.3 yards on the ground per game! We will here Quan Sturdivant, Marvin Austin, etc. names on Sunday in a year or two. The team has 8 sacks and 26 tackles for loss on the season in only three games. This does not bode well for GT's struggling offensive line.
No UNC receiver is having a Hakeem Nicks-type season. This is good. The ball is being distributed but really the gameplan should be focused on stopping Draughn who is accounting for over 25% of the Heels' offensive yardage (factoring out passing yardage).
Honestly, on offense GT needs to run the football successfully despite the Heels performance last year. The Heels gave up 141.8 yards rushing per game in losses last year. The passing defense in losses was more suspect giving up 194.5 per loss in 2008 but the woes of GT's passing offense are not unbeknownst to the GT fan base.
Key to victory really falls on our defense. We've got to force turnovers. In 2008, the Heels had -2.2 turnover margin in losses. The Heels are at an even 0 turnover margin on the season and the Jackets HAVE to put it into the negatives if we're to have any success against a vaunted UNC defense. Field position will be key and big turnovers and special teams will be huge.
The Heels don't plan on punting to Jerrard Tarrant any time soon. They've only given up 12 yards on 5 fielded punts in 3 games. If the Heels saved their actual punt coverage practice time for GT, then they're dumber than the average bear.
Bird: GT 24, UNC 13 - FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY PLEASE WIN. There is a huge douchebag at work that's a huge UNC fan. Winning = Victory on so many levels.
Winfield: Biggest matchup is our offensive line vs. their defensive line. We win in the trenches, we win the game. My thoughts go up and then they go down and right now I'm not sure what to think. So here's an optimistic prediction. GT 48 UNC 6! GO JACKETS!
Dane: Here's a prediction - Tech wins, or we suck.