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#16 UNC at Maryland

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Where: Byrd Stadium, College Park, MD
When: Saturday, November 15th, 3:30 PM
TV: ABC/ESPN
Records: UNC 7-2, 3-2 ACC; Maryland 6-3, 3-2 ACC

Step One.

There is an element of this being trap game since UNC is coming off the huge win over Georgia Tech which was preceded by a big win over Boston College.  The possibility of a letdown in going on the road with control of their own destiny is most certainly present.  It will be on the coaches to keep the team focused.  Maryland also has plenty going in it's favor.  The Terps are playing a home day game versus a ranked team against which QB Chris Turner is 5-0 in his career against the Top 25. Maryland also is in position to win their division making this a huge contest with far reaching consequences for over half the teams in the ACC.

For UNC, it is a matter of more flawless execution on offense while forcing mistakes from Maryland. The seven wins UNC has enjoyed followed that formula while the two losses did not.  UNC seems to have all the cylinders clicking on offense.  The running game is working with two distinct threats out of the backfield in Shaun Draughan and Ryan Houston.  The passing game, despite the loss of Brandon Tate, makes great use of Hakeem Nicks while Cam Sexton continues to play steady, mistake free football behind center.  On defense the Heels are getting effective play all the way around from the defensive line to the secondary.  The manner of execution versus Georgia Tech showed a defense that was well coached and did their job.

Can they do it again?  I think so.  UNC looks like a team that is not riding a short span of good play but playing at a high level because they are that good.  Maryland will be tough but has not been consistent all season.  While this will be a tough game, UNC should be able to once again turn some mistakes made by the opposing team into the opportunity to win.  In other words I expect Goddard and Burney to happen upon enough Chris Turner passes to give UNC the ultimate edge.

With the Heels opening up basketball in Chapel Hill, a UNC win in football pushing them closer to Tampa along with a season opening win in basketball will make this a huge day for UNC.

UNC 34 MD 28