UNC vs Clemson: Things to watch


Hopefully the debacle at East Carolina is a distant memory because the Tar Heels will have their hands full, as they travel to Death Valley to tangle with the Clemson Tigers in UNC’s ACC opener. Both the Heels and the Tigers are fresh off of a loss, so expect two fired up squads. Here are a few things that could be vital in this conference clash of UNC vs Clemson.

Will UNC’s running game show up?

It’s an understatement when I say ” the Carolina running attack has been a disappointment thus far”. In three games, UNC has rushed for 484 yards as a team which isn’t terrible but quarterback Marquise Williams leads the team in rushing with just 152 yards. To make matters even worse, T.J. Logan leads all the tailbacks in rushing with an unimpressive 117 yards on the young season. To make a long story short, Carolina has to find a consistent ground game or back to back L’s could be on the horizon. An effective running game would be huge for UNC in this one because it would not only allow them to control the tempo of the game but more importantly it will take some much needed pressure off the defense. As we all know, the D took a beating last week and tiny reason for that was the inability of the offense to give them a break. Carolina will have to score plenty of points to win this game but a little game of keep away wouldn’t hurt either.

The Defense

After giving up nearly 800 total yards and getting 70 points dropped on them, I think were about to find out what this bunch is really made of. We all knew the Carolina D wasn’t the strength of the team but they can’t be as bad as they looked last Saturday can they? These guys has to play with some pride and give the offense a chance to win the game. It will be really important for the defense to get stops early so they can gain some sort of confidence. If Clemson comes out and runs up and down the field, I’m afraid it could break them mentally and it will be the start to another long day. I don’t expect the UNC D to become great all of a sudden but is it too much to ask of them to hold Clemson under 40?

The punt and kick return game

Entering the season the respective return games were supposed to play a big part of this teams success. So far, that facet of the Tar Heels attack has been missing. Teams are doing their best to keep the ball from all world returner Ryan Switzer and other than a 74 yard kickoff return, T.J. Logan hasn’t provided much punch to return game either. This would be a great time to change all  that. If Carolina can get a couple of short fields to work with on offense, It will go a long ways towards winning this game. Creating points out of the return game would ease the burden on the offense and cover up a mistake or two. To come home victorious, Carolina will have to play a complete game where they get contributions from everybody. That would likely include a game altering return or two.

Mack Hollins

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

This 6’3 200lbs sophomore wide receiver has been one of the bright spots on the offense. Mack has added big play potential to the O and few big plays is exactly what will be needed come Saturday night. Although Hollins only has eight receptions on the season, he averages 30.3 yard per catch and has 2 scores including a 91 yard touchdown versus San Diego State. In this game Carolina would be wise to get the ball in Mack’s hands a little more because good things usually happen. Mack’s explosiveness could force Clemson to a pay little more attention to him which in return could help the other receivers get off ,something the offense needs. I think this guy could be a major weapon he just needs more opportunity.