North Carolina

Observations

Even in a lopsided game, you can see the blueprint of UNC's season in Saturday's win -- play good defense, run the football.

The defense will get bigger challenges and better competition, starting with UConn next week but forcing four turnovers and holding a team under 155 yards is notable.

The running game, with 261 yards on 44 attempts, showed the kind of ball-control management that will be necessary as the passing game figures out its new playmakers. Shaun Draughn did the bulk of the work with 20 carries (for 118 yards) and, more important, did not fumble.

Coach Butch Davis said he used freshman A.J. Blue at quarterback as a change of pace but also to give future opponents something to study. Blue took snaps in the first series, second quarter and third quarter with the first-team offense.

Blue's statistics, four carries for 11 yards and zero pass attempts, were secondary to gaining experience.

Backup quarterback Braden Hanson's debut, at the expense of Mike Paulus, capped a disheartening day for the Paulus family, which saw older brother Greg lose his much-anticipated Syracuse debut.

  Comments