Let's be clear upfront.
This was all about the defense. I actually watched this game on ESPN360 and I am not convinced the offense is much better than it was a week ago. Yes there were changes made and it was nice to see the rushing attack show up for once. Then again what does that really mean? Of course the offensive line is going to dominate an I-AA defensive line so we will see if that carries over. I still have major concerns about the passing game. Not so much where T.J. Yates is concerned, he did a serviceable job going 14-20 but I am looking at the receiving and basically it was Shaun Draughn and Ed Barham at the TE spot but nothing to the WRs. If I did not see his name on the stat sheet I would swear to you that Dwight Jones is still injured. Two receptions for seven yards hardly seems to productive. Greg Little had eight yards receiving but was flagged for a personal foul totaling 12 yards which means his day resulted in -4 yards. And where was Erik Highsmith at? No receptions on the day? Very weird though if John Shoop was content to either roll Yates out for short passes to the TE or toss that swing pass to Draughn with regularity, there may not have been many options downfield to the WRs. As I said, it still looks sketchy out there on offense. The good news is Zack Pianalto could be back for FSU and the offensive line will hopefully be healthier. That and the extra time should help work out some of the offensive issues though I am fairly pessimistic about the low nature of that ceiling. Oh, it was once again been affirmed that Yates is all UNC has at QB. That is all.
The defense was beast-like doing awesome stuff like stripping the football from ball carriers and taking it the other way for a TD or vintage Bruce Carter with the pick six. The UNC defense forced six turnovers, an element I think has been missing in otherwise good defensive performances so far this season. Going plus-5 in turnover margin goes a long way towards dominating the game. And Robert Quinn is playing like a man possessed(with NFL 1st round draft aspirations.) Quinn added another sack to his season total and 1.5 tackles for loss to maintain his top ten standing nationally in both those categories. As much as we assumed Marvin Austin would be that impact player on the defensive line, it has actually been Quinn who has set the tone for the defense. Quinn is only a sophomore. Awesome.