UNC vs. Boston College: It’s game day

Posted by Andrew Carter on October 26, 2013 

Can A.J. Blue, T.J. Logan (not pictured) and the North Carolina running game get going against Boston College?

ROBERT WILLETT - RWILLETT@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

— And welcome to the press box at Kenan Stadium, folks. As I peer over the laptop screen in front of me, and out the window, I see a beautiful late-October day. Not a cloud in the sky for North Carolina vs. Boston College, though it’ll be interesting to see how many people make it out to Kenan today given the Tar Heels’ disappointing 1-5 record.

Most of UNC’s goals are already out of reach, as I wrote about here yesterday, but this is still an important game, I’d argue. Win and there’s hope, still, of a second-half turnaround and a respectable finish after a poor start. Lose today, though, and you have to start to wonder when the Tar Heels will again experience victory.

I didn’t have time for a full preview this week, but some quick thoughts approaching kickoff:

--Boston College running back Andre Williams is going to get his yards. That’s almost certain. Williams is averaging about 140 rushing yards per game, and only Southern Cal and Clemson have held him to fewer than 100 yards. Against this UNC defense, which ranks 101st nationally in defending the run, it’s almost certain that Williams will have a big day. The key for the Tar Heels will be keeping the rest of the Boston College offense in check. The Eagles aren’t a good offensive team. They rank 100th nationally in total offense. If they look like a good offensive team, UNC will be in trouble.

--Can the Tar Heels stop killing themselves with penalties and silly mistakes? If they do, they have a great shot today. If they don’t, they could find yet another new way to lose. Last Thursday night against Miami, UNC’s inexplicable delay of game penalty on a 3rd-and-inches with about six minutes to play helped set up the Hurricanes’ game-winning touchdown drive. In the three previous games before that, UNC had a touchdown nullified by a penalty. In the game before that, the Tar Heels botched the coin toss and kicked off to start both halves against Middle Tennessee State. Can this team get out of its own way?

--Boston College ranks 89th in total defense, and the Eagles have allowed an average of nearly 200 yards per game rushing. If the Tar Heels can’t run effectively today, you have to wonder if they’ll be able to in any game this season. T.J. Logan, the freshman running back, has played well in stretches in his first two games. Now would be a good time for a breakout. A.J. Blue, the fifth-year senior, will get the start today – but expect to see a lot of both him and Logan. We haven’t seen this season what UNC’s offense looks like with a competent running game. Maybe that changes today.

Prediction: Boston College 27, UNC 25

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