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UNC Secondary: Anyone There?

Georgia Tech scored at least one touchdown in every quarter Saturday’s victory over UNC. The teams set an ACC record 118 combined points. Maybe it just felt more one-sided watching it. Georgia Tech racked up more points, where they scored 30 points in the third quarter and won 68-50. It was ugly for UNC’s defense. My question, after looking over the demolishing statistics, is this: Why do we give up so many long pass plays?

There are a couple of stats that say it all. The Yellow Jacket’s two receivers, Waller and Smith, each had deep catches: Waller for 63 yards and Smith for 39. Even their backup quarterback, Vad Lee, only had six completions—but they translated to 169 yards. That’s a 16.9 average yards per pass. That’s insane. The total time of possession was 37:14 to 22:46 in Georgia Tech’s favor.

Now I know the old adage that you’re supposed to run smash mouth football to establish the run, bait the corners with play action fake later on, and throw it deep. You know the problem with that excuse? It happens way too much this season.

UNC is a top 30 passing team, a top 30 rushing team, and a top 10 “Points For” team. Then there’s the black sheep of the statistical family. The Tar Heels are 56th in points against. The Tar Heels give up an average of 25.7 points per game. In their four losses, UNC has given up 28, 39, 33, and 68 points. That’s terrible. That’s giving up an average of 42 points per loss.

I put that on the secondary. Allow me to elaborate. We’ve lost to Wake Forest, Louisville, Dook, and Georgia Tech this season. So I went back and looked at a couple stats. Here’s some that jump out.

Wake Forest’s Mike Campanaro had 13 receptions for 164 yards, Louisville’s quarterback Terry Bridgewater was 23/28 with 279 yards, Dook’s Connor Vernon had six receptions for 124 yards, and Georgia Tech’s quarterback Vad Lee had six passes for 169 yards.

Does anyone else see a pattern?

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Tags: Football North Carolina Tar Heels Secondary

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