The North Carolina football team will play a home game against the Idaho Vandals Saturday. Idaho is 0-4 on the season but given the numbers, this will be no walk in Kenan Stadium for the Heels. Here is what the Heels need to do to win and secure a 3-2 record on the season.
- Stick with the game plan. Idaho’s secondary is suspect this year and Bryn Renner loves to throw the football. Idaho gave up 365 passing yards and 5 touchdowns in an overtime loss to Wyoming last week. If Carolina’s running back, Gio Bernard, can keep them honest by running the ball effectively out of the spread, Renner should have a field day passing.
- Protect Renner. Idaho only has 9 sacks on the season. Renner normally throws the ball pretty quickly but no need to get Renner rattled. Idaho’s defensive end, Benson Mayowa, is quick off the edge. He is leading his team with 3 sacks. The UNC tackles will have their hands full with him.
- Get out of the backfield. The Idaho defense is very aggressive. They have 23 tackles for loss on the season. Carolina should run off tackle and throw a few screens to avoid getting brought down for a loss.
- Force turnovers. The defense needs to look to strip the ball against Idaho because they will cough it up. Last week Idaho accumulated 3 fumbles, all of them were lost. The Idaho quarterback, Dominique Blackman, looked sharp with no interceptions against Wyoming. The week before they played a much better defense in LSU and Blackman threw it to a Tiger 4 times.
- Blitz Blackman. In 3 starts for the Vandals, Blackman is averaging 277 passing yards a game. This includes 2 of those games having 300+ yards. Their running game is only averaging 80 yards per game. This should be a perfect matchup favoring UNC in their 4-2-5 base defense.
- Rush the left side of the Vandal line. Idaho’s starting offensive linemen are young. They should disguise some of their blitzes and confuse the freshman left tackle, Cody Elenz and freshman left guard, Dallas Sandburg.
On Special Teams:
- Play on Idaho’s side of the field. The Vandals have a solid kicker in Trey Farquhar. He is 6/7 for the season on field goals which includes a 59 yarder. UNC needs to keep him as far away from the goalposts as possible.