The streaking North Carolina Tar Heels (winner of 3 games in a row) will take their first trip to Heinz Field to do battle with new ACC foe the Pittsburgh Panthers. This is a great opportunity for Carolina to even its overall record at 5-5 and here’s a few things to watch for as they try to do just that.
1. Can Carolina contain Pittsburgh’s passing attack ? : The Panthers aren’t known for their high-powered offense, but just ask Notre Dame about the play makers they have at receiver. Senior Devin Street is the big play guy, who has 44 catches for 766 yards and 6 touchdowns, while averaging 17.4 yards per reception. His partner in-crime, freshman Tyler Boyd, isn’t too shabby himself. He leads the team with 53 receptions and also has 6 scores. That means the UNC secondary will have its handful and will have to hold their own, in order to come home victorious.
2. Can Carolina’s offense continue to play well ? : For most of the season the UNC offense hasn’t been what it was supposed to, but over the past few weeks the offense has looked a lot more like we thought it would. If the Heels have plans of going above .500 in the conference, they must continue to get good play from the play makers. Junior tight end Eric Ebron has been “beasting” all season long and more of the same will be needed in this one. Sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams has been a much-needed spark to the “O”. He’s a very dangerous player and if he and teammates can play mistake free, the offense should have a chance plenty of points.
3. Will the Carolina defense make plays when they have to ?: The Tar Heels defense has played much better during their current 3 game winning streak. More of the same is the key to this game. It will start with getting after Pittsburgh’s quarterback Tom Savage. He’s already been sacked 30 times this season, and if Kareem Martin, Norkeithus Otis and company can apply constant pressure, he can’t get the ball to those receivers and it could lead to mistakes. If the “D” can cause a turnover or two as well as get off the field on third downs, it will most likely result in a victory.