This is actually the least important game left on the schedule. The last four intra-division games have far greater implications on the standings and bowl positioning. Notre Dame means a lot for entirely different reasons. This would be a nice win and another boost, but won’t determine much beyond bowl eligibility. Of course, we still need to win.
Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game. “Chris Crane has really come into his own.” When Doc Walker is not getting sidetracked by the Tight Ends or his homespun and unique descriptors, he and Steve Martin pay an inordinate amount of attention to QB play. Even when things were falling apart against Georgia Tech, they were still giving Crane some praise. Since the last game BC game they did involved Chris Crane’s career day, expect them to continue to heap praise on Crane regardless of how well he is play.
1. Stop the run. It is pretty straight forward. In their wins UNC is averaging 124 net rushing yards. In their losses, they average 99 net rushing yards. Since Sexton came off the bench they are even more dependent on the run. BC needs to slow down their running and contain Draughn.
2. Interior offensive line play. As we heard from our guest blogger, Carolina is not going to bring heavy blitz. If they get pressure it is going to come from their DTs, especially Marvin Austin. Our inside guys (Ramsey, Tennant, Claiborne) need to have strong performances and give Crane time.
3. Second half rushing. When ND went pass happy against UNC, the Heels adjusted and shut Notre Dame down. The Irish couldn’t run the ball. When Virginia Tech slowed us this past Saturday, we had mixed success running the ball. We moved it and killed clock but did not score. This weekend I expect to follow a similar pattern between the teams. BC passes early. UNC adjusts. To win BC will need to run effectively in the second half.
-- Butch Davis is 6-0 vs BC
-- Jags is 3-0 as a road underdog
-- BC is 3-2 following wins over Virginia Tech
The current line is BC+3
North Carolina is the only ACC team BC has not defeated as a member of the ACC.
The most important game for us is Virginia Tech-Florida State. First, we need FSU to lose another conference game. Second, it should tell us more about VT. FSU is very much like BC: similar offensive scheme, error-prone QB who runs, and solid D. If VT handles them, it will be a good barometer on our own victory over the Hokies.
I hope to see…
BC get back to forcing turnovers. Turnovers can be one of the most misleading stats in football (penalties are another). Regardless of their importance, I would like to see the momentum swing a little in this category. A couple of drive stoppers could go a long way towards BC winning.
BC is in trouble if…
We need to kick a late field goal. Getting blocked last week and seeing Jags continue to go for it is an indictment against our FG unit. I think this will be a close game. Hopefully any critical field goal is a chipshot.
When forecasting the season, I kept penciling this game in as a loss. As I expected North Carolina is greatly improved. That said their recent injuries and style of play have me in a much better mood. I don’t think you’ll see the fireworks for last week. I expect a more conservative, defensive game with BC prevailing.
Final Score: BC 21, North Carolina 17