After dropping the season opener at home, Head Coach Larry Fedora and the North Carolina Tar Heels will look to rebound against the Louisville Cardinals. Louisville, the 16th ranked team in the country, has opened up as a 6-point favorite against the Heels. A UNC victory will be a tall task, but, it is definitely doable.
The Cardinals live and die through reigning Heisman Trophy winning Quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson, one of the best players in the country, has the ability to put 70 on the scoreboard in any game. He is an incredibly dynamic dual-threat player, as he lead the Cardinals in both rushing and passing yards last season.
Outside of Jackson, U of L has a rather average offense, after losing their top three Receivers and their best Running Back. Despite these concerns and an underwhelming defense, Louisville could make a run at the College Football Playoff due to the presence of Lamar Jackson alone.
Coming off a disappointing loss Vs California, Carolina will need to fix several things if they want to upset the Cardinals.
Generate More Pressure from the Defensive Line
UNC’s pass rush was basically non-existent against Cal, and it proved costly for the defense as a whole. With seemingly unlimited time in the pocket, Cal QB Ross Bowers, (in his first start as a Golden Bear) threw for 363 yards and 4 Touchdown passes. UNC will have to apply better pressure on Lamar Jackson if they want to avoid starting the year 0-2.
Roll With Michael Carter
Running Back Michael Carter was the best player for the Tar Heels last week. The True Freshman ran for 94 yards and two scores on just 11 carries. Carter’s burst and explosiveness was reminiscent of past Tar Heel greats Giovani Bennard and TJ Logan. When Carter was in the game, he took UNC’s offense to a different level. However, Carter only received two second half carries, and Carolina’s offense faltered down the stretch. The Tar Heels will need to use Carter much more in order to keep pace with Louisville’s high powered offense.
Find Stability at Quarterback
Even though Redshirt Freshman Chazz Surratt seemed to separate himself as the clear best option against Cal, Head Coach Larry Fedora reiterated that the Quarterback job is still up for grabs. This means that both Surratt and grad transfer Brandon Harris will likely see the field Saturday. Even though Harris was awful in his first game as a Tar Heel, it is understandable that Fedora is giving him another chance, because he does have potential. However, playing multiple signal callers is almost always unsuccessful, as we saw in the last game. If Harris and Surratt share playing time against the Cardinals, it will spell trouble for the Heels.
Louisville 42, North Carolina 35
Although I do believe UNC will play much better than last week, they have too many questions for me to pick them against a Heisman-winning QB, especially when the Heels are still playing multiple signal callers.
- During Halftime, the 2016-17 UNC Men’s Basketball team will be honored with their National Championship rings
- Defensive Lineman Jalen Dalton will miss the first half of Saturday’s game, as he will be serving a suspension for his Targeting penalty against California.
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