UNC Football Positional Grades vs. East Carolina

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Sep 20, 2014; Greenville, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates running back Breon Allen (25) scores on a 44 yard touchdown run in the 2nd quarter. This play changed the course of the game. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: F

This is the first ‘F’ that I have given this season.  But do you really think that Carolina’s defense deserves anything better?

The defensive unit gave up a mind-boggling 789 yards to the Pirates.  Yeah, ECU’s offense is good.  But 789 yards?  That’s ridiculous.  And that’s not to mention the 63 points that the defense allowed (ECU’s other seven points came on a pick-6).  Both the 789 yards and 70 points are the most North Carolina has ever given up.  Ever.  In the Heels’ 126 year history they have never had as bad a game defensively as they did on Saturday.

And, to make matters worse, the Heels had two weeks to prepare for ECU, since they had a bye last week.  North Carolina was completely powerless to stop ECU, and the Pirates virtually scored at will.

In the whole game (excluding ECU’s last drive when the clock ran out), The Pirates scored a touchdown on all but four drives.  Two punts, an interception and a missed field goal.  Those were the only times when UNC managed to stop East Carolina.

The Pirates celebrate one of their many touchdowns on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Pretty much, North Carolina did everything wrong.  They missed tackles, took bad angles, got virtually no pressure on Shane Carden and were not able to force enough turnovers.

There were two plays that were illustrated how the game as a whole went for UNC’s defense.

On their second play from scrimmage, ECU ran a simple handoff to the left side.  North Carolina defenders were in the backfield and nearly brought down Breon Allen for a loss.  Five missed tackles later, Allen had a ten yard gain and an ECU first down.  North Carolina had too many missed tackles to count on Saturday, and it cost them dearly.

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  • The second play came on a 3rd and 28 from North Carolina’s 44.  There were four minutes left in the half, and ECU just wanted to get in field goal range to extend their lead to 24-20 heading into the break.  They ran a simple jet sweep (which the Heels had trouble defending all night), and Breon Allen ran untouched for a 44 yard touchdown run.  North Carolina’s defensive players took terrible angles and allowed Allen to run right around the end and go to the endzone.

    Oh, one of the other things I said Carolina should work on during it’s bye week was defense.  If they did, it certainly didn’t show on Saturday.