North Carolina Tar Heels vs NC A&T Aggies Preview


The first outing for the North Carolina Tar Heels was a little disappointing. For much of the game, the Heels controlled the field against the South Carolina Gamecocks. However they had three turnovers in scoring areas that wrecked their chances of victory. After a week of licking the wounds, the Tar Heels get to come back to the football field and build some confidence against North Carolina A&T.

Opponent: North Carolina A&T Aggies (1-0) MEAC
Date: September 12
Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: Kenan Memorial Stadium

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X – Run the Ball
South Carolina was trying to rebuild their defensive line last weekend but they still had two talented JUCO transfers to do that with. The Aggies should be a step down in size and talent along the front line and the Tar Heels should take advantage of that all day long. While Elijah Hood was the breakout star against the Gamecocks, it is fair to believe that all four of the Tar Heel running backs will see action today. This would be a good game for that group to gain some confidence. The offensive line, anchored by Landon Turner, should have no problem.

Y – No Defensive Breakdowns
The Tar Heel defense held for about three quarters against the Gamecocks, and only let up one super play that made the difference in that game. That Shon Carson run was the product of a tired defense making mental mistakes. The way for the defense to limit those mistakes is to get the aggies off the field. The Tar Heel offense is designed to go fast, so the defense will always be spending more time on the field than a ground pound offense designed to protect them. The Aggies have a couple weapons like Tarik Cohen, so vigilance is essential. Sub usage and conditioning will also be key as the season continues.

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Z – Rod’s Homecoming
Head coach of the Aggies is former UNC player Rod Broadway. Broadway was on the Dooley teams of the seventies and returned to campus for two years as a defensive assistant under John Bunting. He then took over the North Carolina Central football program. He went from there to Grambling, and came to A&T immediately after Grambling let him go in 2010. Having former players return to play the Heels is normally a basketball thing, but it is nice to see it work out for Coach Broadway here.

Prediction: 40-7, Tar Heels
I don’t see this game playing out any different than the other ACC versus FCS games of Week 1. The Tar Heels are close to a complete team on offense when they don’t give the ball away. The rebuilt defense should continue its streak of good play without the running back talent of South Carolina to deal with.

Next: Observations from UNC-USC