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Tale of the Tape: Georgia Tech

Jonathan Daniel

The horror numbers.

North Carolina Georgia Tech
Record 2-4 5-1
ACC Record 0-2 2-1
AP Poll Rank N/R N/R
Points Per Game 37.2 33.0
Total TDs 30 26
Total Offense Per Game 431.2 438.7
Total Offense Per Play 5.5 7.3
Rushing Per Game 146.2 294.7
Rushing Per Att 4.0 5.7
Passing Per Game 285.0 144.0
Passing Per Att 6.9 8.7
Fumbles Lost 4 4
Interceptions 8 3
3rd Down Conv. 40.6% 58.9%
4th Down Conv. 44.4% 85.7%
Red Zone Conv. 92.6% 83.3%
Field Goals 5-8 6-10
Points Allowed Per Game 43.3 25.0
Total Defense Per Game 508.0 388.3
Total Defense Per Play 6.2 6.3
Rushing Per Game 191.7 187.7
Rushing Per Att 4.3 5.4
Passing Per Game 316.3 200.7
Passing Per Att 8.4 7.5
Fumbles Recovered 6 1
Interceptions 9 8
Sacks 10.0 7.0
Tackles for Loss 39.0 30.0
3rd Down Conv. 48.8% 46.3%
4th Down Conv. 75.0% 42.8%
Red Zone Conv. 84.6% 82.4%

The most shocking finding in the stats comparison this week is the fact Georgia Tech's defense is actually worse than UNC's in yards per played allowed. The Yellow Jackets have a slightly worse 6.3 yards per play allowed but under 400 yards per game allowed. The key? Ball control on the offensive side. Georgia Tech is 18th in time of possession. With the triple option offense, the Yellow Jackets can suck the life out of you by taking half a quarter on one possession. UNC has the opposite issue. The tempo Larry Fedora prefers also means a bad defense is on the field that much more. If the offense fails to sustain drives with any consistency it can really get ugly.

This point shouldn't be overlooked. Yes, the defense is still awful. UNC's 6.2 yards per play allowed is still 105th in the country. However, one reason UNC has ended up giving up 50 point games and over 500 yards is because the offense is giving the ball back far too quickly. The result is more opportunities for the opposing offense to score points.

In this case, points are probably not as much a concern as being slowly strangled to death by the lack of time for offensive possessions. That level of ball control means UNC is going to need to ride Georgia Tech's 6.3 yards per play for all its worth. The Heels cannot afford empty possessions or settling for field goals on drives that get inside the five yard line. The offense has shown plenty of signs of life and on Saturday versus Notre Dame, it looked like the Heels were putting it together. Much of that had to do with relying heavily on Marquise Williams.

From a statistical standpoint, UNC's best bet to win is efficiency on the offensive side, keeping the ball from Georgia Tech and creating some turnovers because getting stops otherwise could prove difficult.