Rutgers stumbled badly out of the gate as well, falling 24-7 to Fresno State. Is this a good or bad thing for the Heels?
A little of both, actually. On the bright side, Rutgers misses Ray Rice, but his replacement Kordell Young did his part, gaining 94 yards on 26 carries behind a relatively new offensive line. The passing game, although more experienced, was a little rougher, tossing two interceptions. Most of what kept the Scarlet Knights off the board was first-game errors, though, with two missed field goals and a couple of other unforced errors, one of which negated a touchdown punt return.
Worse news is the Rutgers' defense. Fresno State did most of their damage against the run defense, racking up 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns. While the pass defense was susceptible to big plays - one receiver hauled in grabs of 77 and 39 yards - that's the stronger part of the Knights' defense, and well suited to stopping Carolina's strengths.
UNC is more than capable of winning this game in two weeks, but not by repeating Saturday's performance. Happily, they have more than a week to prepare.