When taking a closer look at the numbers, It certainly looks like North Carolina is getting better. If you set aside the Virginia Tech game, they are a lot like the Panthers, minus the wins. They have gotten better with some really young players in key positions.
This is nearly what coach Narduzzi said this week when he said that when he looks at North Carolina, he sees his own team.
The Tarheels were led by Freshman quarterback Chazz Surratt. The young quarterback played like a freshman, although he has not made many mistakes. He had 7 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions and He is completing 58% of his passes. He was replaced late in the game against Virginia Tech and played only a few snaps in the Miami game. His replacement Nathan Elliot threw 1 touchdown to 3 interceptions though he was not afraid to throw it around as he completed 16 of 39 passes. It also showed that the offensive cordinator had no issue in him putting the ball up even with the multi interception game.
Who will start will be a gametime decision.
The Tarheels leading receiver is Sophomore Anthony Ratliff-Williams who has 20 receptions for 336 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The North Carolina running game has been the driver throughout the season as they have rolled up over 12oo yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. If this team is going to stay in the game tonight, it will be because of the running game and the quarterback in either case contribute. In the past, the Panthers have struggled against a running quarterback so look for that to be deployed often regardless who is taking snaps.
The North Carolina Defense has kept them in nearly every game during this 6 game losing streak. Excluding the Virginia Tech game in which they gave up over 50 points, 33 points to Notre Dame is the most points they have given up since their second game of the season. They faced the 17th ranked Louisville Cardinals in that game and lost 47-35.
Although North Carolina has been judicious with ball in regards to turnovers, they have also been lethargic at best. Not scoring many points has been their calling card throughout the season. The 19 points they conjured up against Miami was their highest point total since the 16th of September when they faced off against Old Dominion.
Initially, wet weather was predicted for tonight, but it looks more like that will hold off. That could help the turnover situation for both teams.