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Friday, October 7, 2011

Tar Heels really need to win, but Wolfpack absolutely has to win

Posted by on Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

The ACC’s two local state universities each have home non-conference football games this week, and they’re in vastly different positions at this point in the season.

Despite all the scandal surrounding the program over the past 15 months, UNC is off to a solid start. But N.C. State, which went into the season with very high hopes despite losing quarterback Russell Wilson to Wisconsin, has had an uncanny rash of injuries on the defensive side of the ball and is struggling in the standings.

UNC (4-1) will open Saturday’s action at noon,
when Louisville (2-2) visits Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels are 14-point favorites.

Then at 3:30 N.C. State (2-3) will take on Central Michigan (2-3) in the teams’ first meeting. The Wolfpack is an 11-point pick.

Duke (3-2), which is on a three-game win streak, is idle.

The Tar Heels are coming off a solid 35-20 win at East Carolina, and looking for their first 4-0 start at Kenan Stadium since 1997.

“Again, obviously it’s great to have a victory in an in-state rivalry,” said UNC coach Everett Withers, who was Louisville’s defensive coordinator from 1995-97. “This past week, after watching the tape, I felt like we left a lot of plays out there on the field on both sides of the ball. We played well early, we didn’t finish as well as we would have liked to. But there is probably another 17 points that we left out there. And there are probably another two or three interceptions we left out there on the field.

“To beat really, really good football teams, you can’t leave those plays out there on the field. So we need to improve on those and try to get better at that. But I’m happy for the victory; time to move on to Louisville.”

Quarterback Bryn Renner has completed 87 of 115 passes for 1127 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Tar Heels.

State is coming off a good second half in its 45-35 loss to visiting Georgia Tech on Saturday, but will be favored at home again.

“This is a good football team coming in,” Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said of the Chippewas. “When you look at them they have four seniors and one junior up front. The offensive line are big guys (and) defensively, they’re strong up the middle. They’ve been to Kentucky and Michigan State and I’m sure they’ll come in with a lot of confidence having won their game (against Northern Illinois) on Saturday.”

Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon has completed 104 of 157 passes for 1242 yards and 12 TDs with four interceptions.

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