The North Carolina Tar Heels head to Norfolk, VA to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs for week three of the college football season. This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools and Old Dominion is 0-4 in previous games against Power 5 opponents.
The Tar Heels (0-2) will try to bounce back from a 47-35 loss to Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals last weekend. They’ll have to deal with an undefeated Monarchs team who is coming in on momentum from a 17-7 win over UMASS. However, that game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter.
Three Things to Watch
1. North Carolina quarterback situation
Chazz Surratt got his first start last Saturday and had a very good first half, going 12 of 14 for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, an injury forced him to watch from the sidelines in the second half and even though he may have been able to return, Brandon Harris played the rest of the game. There is a reason that Surratt got the start against Louisville and head coach Larry Fedora has stated that the left-hander will open the game for the Tar Heels. But if things don’t go smoothly, expect to see Harris sooner rather than later.
2. ODU running game
Ray Lawry was a the “it” back for the Monarchs last year, running for 1,255 yards and 11 touchdowns. But a hamstring problem has limited his effectiveness this fall, holding him to just 44 yards on five carries. Jeremy Cox, who was a more than capable reserve last year, has taken the reins as the lead back. The Monarchs are 81st in rushing offense, so Cox hasn’t been as productive as last season. But Carolina has not been able to stop the run for several years and California and Louisville had plenty of success on the ground in the first two games. ODU will have to establish Cox (and possibly Lawry) early on to open things up for quarterback Blake LaRussa.
3. UNC offensive line
Along the offensive front, the Tar Heels have been ravaged by injuries. It started in camp with guard Tommy Hatton and tackle Bentley Spain, who returned and then was hurt once again. Nick Polino and Alex Dillard then went down against Louisville. The big issue right now is not necessarily the quality of the current linemen, but the depth. There will be little rest for the starters and if another lineman is injured, it would be a big problem.
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