UNC vs North Carolina A&T: Keys to Victory


Sep 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Elijah Hood (34) carries the ball while avoiding the tackle by South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end David Johnson (55) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Gamecocks won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Following the disappointing season opening loss to South Carolina, the North Carolina Tar Heels will look to get their first W of 2015 when they host the Aggies of North Carolina A&T. I expect the Heels to come out with a chip on their collective shoulders, so the visitors had better beware. With that being said, for home team to be victorious, here’s a few things that must happen.

Take care of the ball

If the Tar Heels had taken care of the ball versus South Carolina, it’s very likely that they would be 1-0 on this young season. In this match-up versus North Carolina A&T, the only way I can imagine UNC losing would be due to turnovers. If Carolina can limit the turnovers they should run away and hide from the Aggies. On the other hand, If we look up in the 4th quarter and A&T is still hanging around, that’s probably the direct result of few Tar Heel gifts. This is really simple, If UNC holds on to the ball they win easily if not, things just might get interesting.

Elijah Hood

Entering the season a major question I had was which one of Carolina’s running backs would step up? Well, after one game I think that question was answered. Sophomore running back Elijah Hood was the best player on the field last Thursday night in Charlotte. Racking up 138 yards on just 12 carries and on Saturday I expect more of the same. As long as the offensive line does their job, Hood should be able to have his way with the Aggies defense. If he can get a few more touches it’s good chance the super soph could get 200 total yards in this contest. The more Elijah Hood touches the ball that bodes well for Carolina – not only in this game but all season long.

Red zone efficiency

This aspect of the game has already cost UNC a victory, so it’s a must they get it fixed ASAP. The Heels found out the hard way that not finishing drives allows your opponent to stick around and in some cases ( like vs South Carolina) it will cost you the game. In this one Carolina should have no issues moving the ball, but when they get inside the red zone they have to score and score touchdowns. Carolina getting in the end zone (especially when close) put pressure on A&T and I don’t believe they have the firepower to get into a shootout with the Tar Heels. Should the home team put up 7’s when they’re in the red zone, the Aggies uphill battle becomes that more steeper.

The real Marquise Williams showing up

Speaking of taking care of the ball and being more efficient in the red zone, know one should pay more attention to that than senior quarterback Marquise Williams. His bad decisions in the opener cost his squad the game. Williams threw two interceptions that kept Carolina from scoring ( three overall) and when he wasn’t giving the ball away he couldn’t consistently move the offense. Going forward UNC needs the Marquise Williams who was a preseason ACC player of the year candidate. For starters he has to make better decisions and protect the ball. If he can do that in this one, Marquise will have more opportunities to make plays and I’m not sure the Aggies are properly equipped to deal with this dual threat. I suspect the good Marquise will show up but if the guy from week one come to play, well all bets are off.