UNC Football: Staff Picks Week Three: @ Georgia State

Sep 3, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Georgia State Panthers quarterback Darren Grainger (3) passes against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Georgia State Panthers quarterback Darren Grainger (3) passes against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

The UNC football team hits the road again for another non-conference noon game this Saturday.

For the second consecutive week, North Carolina will be on the road against a group of five opponents.  Can the Tar Heels survive this “trap game” against Georgia State and head into the bye week at 3-0?  Find out what our staff thinks below.

Nick Delahanty

I took my first “loss” last week, but hey, I’m glad it resulted in a UNC football victory!

My reasoning for not taking the Tar Heels last week was the questions on the defensive end. The 40 points they allowed in the fourth quarter is concerning, but it’s good to see the offense was able to step up to the occasion.

This week, I’m putting my faith in Drake Maye and the offense, a unit I’ve been very impressed with. Even without Josh Downs, Maye utilized his targets well, keeping his guys engaged and involved throughout. If this continues, the Tar Heels’ offense will be tough to slow down, and I feel it will be too much for Georgia State to handle.

Prediction: North Carolina 42, Georgia State 31

Isaac Schade

Last season, North Carolina hosted Georgia State in the second game of the season.
The Tar Heels were looking to exact some revenge after dropping the season opener at
Virginia Tech, 17-10. That’s exactly what the Tar Heels did, picking up their first victory
of the season 59-17.

Carolina got out to a 14-0 lead and never really looked back. The decisive run came
from the end of the second quarter through the beginning of the fourth as UNC scored
31 straight points (almost matching the 34-point run the Heels went on last week at
Appalachian State.

Until proven differently, this year’s defense will be a liability, meaning that Drake Maye
and the offense will need to continue outscoring opponents, which is exactly what they’ll
do again this weekend.

Kobe Paysour fills in for Josh Downs again and has another big day. The
defense starts to show signs of life, although not quite to the place where Gene Chizik
would want it.

The most recent line I’ve seen is UNC -7. Give me the Tar Heels to cover that, winning
by a touchdown and a field goal.

Prediction: North Carolina 45, Georgia State 35

Bryant Baucom

After a 2-0 start and a close contest in Boone, the Tar Heels will once again hit the road.  Drake Maye has proven he is a star in the making and the North Carolina offense has been electric in the season’s first two games.  With Josh Downs, Caleb Hood, and Spencer Rolland questionable for Saturday’s noon contest, the freshman running back duo and wideout Kobe Paysour may once again be key factors.

With a talented defense on the other side, it will be all hands on deck if injuries play a role in this one.  For me however, this game is all about the Tar Heel defense.

A disappointing effort in Boone has the Gene Chizik-led group giving up 42.5 points per game. While the Georgia State offense does not have as much fire power as the Mountaineers, you can never overlook an opponent.  Another shaky performance from the defense and this contest could be a close one.

As the first Power 5 team to visit Georgia State, the Panthers will be amped and ready to hit the Tar Heels in the mouth.  North Carolina is the more talented team, but we’ve seen early on this year how little that can matter.  Regardless, the Tar Heels will improve to 3-0 heading into the bye week.

Prediction: North Carolina 42, Georgia State 28

Mark DeMott

The Tar Heels hit the road to take on a Sun Belt opponent for the second time in as many weeks.  Following a thrilling in-state victory last Saturday, this one has “trap game” written all over it, especially with a bye coming next week.

In the preseason media poll Georgia State was projected to finish 3rd in the Sun Belt’s Eastern Division, behind only App State and Coastal Carolina.  The Panthers finished 8-5 last season, including a 31 point win over Ball State in the Camellia Bowl.  They are 0-1 on the season, losing 35-14 at South Carolina last week, however they actually out-gained the Gamecocks yardage wise, losing in large part to two blocked punts that were returned for touchdowns.

It will be very interesting to see if the Tar Heel defense can finally make some improvements this week.  On paper, they should have a chance, as Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger completed just 7 of 29 pass attempts against South Carolina last weekend.  However, it is hard to count on a huge improvement given what we saw in Boone.

Luckily, the UNC offense has looked great in the first two weeks, and it is hard to foresee a group of five defense slowing them down.  I think this game is back and forth at first, with the Tar Heels pulling away in the third quarter and winning comfortably in the end.  With a quarterback like Drake Maye and an experienced head coach like Mack Brown, I predict UNC seizes a golden opportunity to head into the bye week undefeated.

Prediction: North Carolina 45, Georgia State 28

Aaron Conrad

The Tar Heels once again hit the road for a challenging game. After two weeks I think we can all agree that the offense is going to have to carry this team. The hope is that the defense gets better each week and eventually catches up. The Appalachian State game didn’t do much to make any of us feel like the defense is getting better though.  However, the Tar Heels still have a more gifted roster than Georgia State.

Prediction: North Carolina 49, Georgia State 42

Staff Standings

Isaac: 2-0

Bryant: 2-0

Mark: 2-0

Aaron: 2-0

Nick: 1-1

Next. Georgia State Game Preview. dark

Follow us @KeepingItHeel on Twitter and like our fan page on Facebook for continued coverage of UNC football news, updates, and recruiting.