UNC Defensive Keys to Victory Against MTSU


Coming off a loss in the season opening game against the then 6th ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, the North Carolina Tar Heels will look to bounce back from the defeat, and notch their first win of the season against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

Aug 29, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora directs his team during a timeout in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

In their first game of the season, Middle Tennessee State came out on top by the score of 45-24 against Western Carolina.

The game was never in doubt for the Blue Raiders, as by the time the 1st quarter came to an end, they had a 21-0 lead, and they never looked back after that. At one point in the 2nd quarter, they had a 31-3 lead over Western Carolina.

Obviously, that’s not what Larry Fedora has in mind for Saturday’s game to go, as instead of Middle Tennessee State hoisting a 21-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, Fedora hopes it to be a Tar Heel lead, and leads to the first win of the season.

You know what they say, defense wins championships. In this case, we’re not talking about a BCS championship game, instead it’s a regular season game against Middle Tennessee State, not exactly the same thing, but every game is important, especially in college football.

Even though UNC lost 27-10 to the Gamecocks, and it seemed the Tar Heels couldn’t do anything right, well neither did the Gamecocks.

What? The Gamecocks did nothing right?

No, that’s not what I’m trying to say, obviously they did do some things right or they wouldn’t of won.

Despite the win, the Gamecocks looked good, but they didn’t look great.

Connor Shaw had 149 yards passing, one touchdown, and also had 43 yards rushing. Those are good enough stats, but certainly not dominant.

If their QB didn’t have a great game, how did the Gamecocks win so convincingly? What mistakes did the Tar Heels make?


As soon as the game started….BOOM! 65 yard touchdown pass, 7 to nothing Gamecocks. Williams Brice Stadium explodes, and all the Gamecock fans near me went crazy.

Then at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, the Tar Heels had 1st and goal, and with a touchdown, it would’ve made the score 20-14, instead, they failed to get into the end zone, and had to settle for a Field Goal, making the score 20-10.

After the kickoff, South Carolina had the ball. All UNC needed was a stop, and then to get the ball back with the opportunity to make it a one-possession game again. Of course that plan didn’t pan out, as the Gamecocks RB Mike Davis busted out a 75 yard TD run, which ended up being the final score of the game.

Middle Tennessee State isn’t on South Carolina’s level, but the Tar Heels cannot afford to sleep on them. The Blue Raiders will be the overwhelming underdog for the game on Saturday, and they are very comfortable with that role.

With that being said, you cannot afford to give the underdog confidence.

If you are having a bad day, and need a smile on your face, lets go back in the past to back my last statement up. It’s the first round of the NCAA tournament, Duke vs Lehigh. Do I need to say anything else? At halftime, Duke was only up by 2 points, and we all know how that game ended. Ah, good times…good times.

What Duke did was give Lehigh confidence, they let them hang around, and it ended up being one of the biggest upsets ever. The same will happen to the Tar Heels if they let Middle Tennessee State hang around.

The defensive keys to victory for UNC are: End the game early, do not let any big plays happen, and stop them on 3rd down. If the Tar Heels can do those 3 things on Saturday, it will end in the first W of the season.