The Tar Heels are 1-3 and 0-1 in the ACC. They are 88th in the nation in the Points For category, at 25.3 points per game, and 93rd in the nation in the Points Against category, at 32.5 points per game. You read that right. UNC gives up an average of seven more points a game than they score. That’s not the worst part, either. Chapel Hill is ranked an abysmal 112th in rushing yards with only 100.3 yards on the ground a game. To bounce back against Virginia Tech and their 4-1 record, a couple key players will have to rise to the occasion.
1) Bryn Renner
Renner will have to continue to hurl the football. The Tar Heels are 23rd in the nation in Passing Yards at 297.3 yards through the air. Bryn has thrown seven touchdowns this season. Never mind the three interceptions, one of which was the receiver’s fault. UNC will have to chuck it through the air for them to have a chance to win.
Virginia Tech is well aware of this. They will dare UNC to run the ball—which UNC probably won’t do too much of. It is Renner’s game to win. He will have to be the gun-slinger he has been for Chapel Hill for them to stand a chance against a strong Hokies team.
2) Romar Morris
Chapel Hill coaches are going to have to trust the young running back more. The sophomore’s had fewer touches than senior A.J. Blue’s 43 attempts. Romar Morris has 36 attempts for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns—versus Blue’s 176 yards and 0 touchdowns. The numbers don’t lie. Morris needs to get the majority of the touches, especially in the red zone. Renner just is not getting enough help on the offensive side of the ball.
Especially with losing Renner next season, Coach Larry Fedora needs to begin to think long-term. Romar is the future of the Tar Heels’ run game. UNC needs to do a better job of recognizing this.
3) Logan Thomas
This guy is Virginia Tech’s superstar. The 6’6’’, 257 senior has three rushing touchdowns to go with his five through the air. He’s thrown just under 1000 yards whereas UNC’s Renner has tossed over 1100. The problem with Thomas is two-fold. Logan is a huge body to try to bring down—much like Superbowl champion, Ben Roethlisberger—and can often extend the play to UNC’s detriment. The second issue with the Hokies quarterback is his rushing ability. Chapel Hill can’t drop back in coverage and hope he makes a mistake. He’s got 52 rushes for 128 yards. Logan doesn’t lose yards.
UNC will have to put a spy on the big guy, preferably a linebacker big enough to bring Thomas down without question. Luckily Logan turns the ball over a lot, too. Chapel Hill’s defense should play man-to-man and hope to jump passes. This is UNC’s best defensive chance.
4) Trey Edmunds
Virginia Tech has another big gun on offense Chapel Hill has to pay attention to: the Hokies’ 6’1’’, 215 pound running back. He’s a workhorse. Edmunds only has three touchdowns but he has 84 touches through five games. That’s an average of 16.8 touches a game, compared to UNC’s Morris’ 9 touches a game. UNC must pay attention to the big back—making sure to form tackle at Edmunds’ lower body.
5) Virginia Tech’s Fifth Man
The Hokies fans are well aware Virginia Tech beat both ECU and Georgia Tech—two teams that were victorious over UNC. There will be signs and absolute mayhem. Everybody knows UNC normally dominates the Hokies in basketball, so this game will represent potential payback for the VT fans. UNC must maintain composure.