Nov 9, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Bug Howard (84) with the ball as DVirginia Cavaliers safety Anthony Harris (8) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina Football: ODU Preview


North Carolina tries to win its 5th game in a row Saturday and will face the Old Dominion Monarchs in Kenan Stadium. UNC is 4-0 in ACC play since the Thursday night home game against Miami, and ride all that momentum into Saturday. The opponent, Old Dominion, is no slouch with an 8-3 record. The Monarchs also played Pittsburgh, UNC’s last opponent, pretty close. The final score between Old Dominion and Pitt was 35-24 in favor of the Panthers, and the Panthers only had 104 yards passing in the game. UNC can’t afford to overlook their opponent this week because this game means so much in terms of bowl eligibility and bowl positioning for the Heels.

Game Information

Date: November 23rd, 2013
Time: 12:00
Location: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
TV: Regional Sports Network (RSN)
Live Stream: Watch ESPN. Only available in certain states, check the blackout map here for more information.
Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network
Teams: Old Dominion, North Carolina

Old Dominion Monarchs

Record: 8-3
Losses- Pittsburgh, Maryland, ECU

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: C. Goodwin- 432 yards, 11 TDs
Passing: T. Heinicke- 3892 yards, 32 TDs
Receiving: L. Pinkard- 972 yards, nine TDs

Fun Fact- The Monarchs are non-football members of Conference USA this year, but football will join C-USA next season. Don’t you love College Football realignment!

North Carolina Tar Heels

Record: 5-5
Wins- Middle Tennessee State, Boston College, NC State, Virginia, Pittsburgh
Losses- South Carolina, ECU, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Miami

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: M. Williams- 367 yards, four TDs
Passing: M. Williams*- 895 yards, eight TDs
Receiving: E. Ebron- 763 yards, three TDs
*Bryn Renner omitted due to season ending injury

Fun Fact- This is the first meeting between UNC and Ole Dominion.

Four Downs

1) Don’t let the records fool you. Even though ODU has 3 more wins that UNC, the Heels are a much better team on paper. UNC features a plethora of NFL prospects, including Eric Ebron, who some say is the best tight end in the nation. The Monarchs can boast talented QB Taylor Heinicke, but their record is a product of a bad schedule, rather than a talented team.

2) This game is a good warm up for the Heel’s secondary in preparation for Duke’s aerial passing attack. UNC’s secondary will be stressed by excellent passer Heinicke for ODU, which is the same sentence you could have written before the ECU game and Shane Carden. Gasp! Not to worry Tar Heels fans, this game will be different. The North Carolina secondary is much improved from earlier in the season, and excels in blitzing and pass protection now. Young guys like Brian Walker and contributions from seniors Jabari Price and Tre Boston have bolstered this group into a non-worry for UNC. Heinicke and ODU’s passing attack will be nothing they can’t handle and good practice for Duke next week.

3) Keep an eye on UNC’s offensive line today. UNC obviously has a huge advantage on paper talent and size wise against the Monarchs. Watch to see if they can impose their will against ODU and open up big holes in the running game. If Romar Morris, TJ Logan, and Khris Francis can combine for over 100 yards in this game, you should feel comfortable with the ability of the rushing game heading into the last game of the season against Duke.

4) Marquise Williams has proven his ability to scramble and extend plays with his feet. Against Old Dominion, watch for the strides Williams makes as a passer. He needs to improve and have a big day through the air for the Heels to not only win the game this week, but next week’s game too. Duke’s coaches will see on film how strong of a runner Williams is, and cater their defensive gameplan towards that strength. If UNC’s quarterback can prove this afternoon that he is a powerful thrower as well, Duke’s coaches will have a much tougher time gameplanning for the Heel’s explosive offense.

Prediction
UNC has no trouble moving the ball on offense against the Monarchs, posting over 200 yards on the ground and through the air. Marquise Williams throws a touchdown pass to Eric Ebron, Quinshad Davis, and Bug Howard, and TJ Logan pitches in a touchdown run of his own. UNC’s defense intercepts Heinicke twice and pressures him all day, and a strong team effort carries UNC to a 35-14 victory.

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Tags: FanSided Football North Carolina Tar Heels

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