Here is how UNC matches up with NC State
|North Carolina||NC State|
|AP Poll Rank||N/R||N/R|
|Points Per Game||36.7||29.4|
|Total Offense Per Game||445.3||397.3|
|Total Offense Per Play||6.6||6.1|
|Rushing Per Game||156.3||189.5|
|Rushing Per Att||4.5||5.5|
|Passing Per Game||289.0||207.8|
|Passing Per Att||7.5||6.8|
|3rd Down Conv.||42.8%||44.9%|
|4th Down Conv.||50.0%||50.0%|
|Red Zone Conv.||89.4%||86.1%|
|Points Allowed Per Game||39.3||28.8|
|Total Defense Per Game||499.5||388.2|
|Total Defense Per Play||6.4||5.5|
|Rushing Per Game||218.0||188.8|
|Rushing Per Att||4.8||4.5|
|Passing Per Game||281.5||199.4|
|Passing Per Att||8.6||6.9|
|Tackles for Loss||63.0||73.0|
|3rd Down Conv.||49.7%||50.6%|
|4th Down Conv.||80.0%||54.6%|
|Red Zone Conv.||87.0%||79.5%|
Since this is a rivalry game, we should throw the numbers out right?
UNC enters this game with discernible advantages on the offensive side and the defensive numbers now just slightly less putrid than they previous were. The Duke game was a salve of sorts boosting the overall offensive numbers and bringing the defensive futility down just a tad. UNC's yards per game allowed is now a smidge under 500 and the points allowed per game has dipped below 40. Yes, it's still awful and no one should celebrate it but after a season of watching the defense track the wrong direction, it's nice to see the trend reverse.
NC State is fairly pedestrian across the board statistically speaking but if the Tar Heel defense of the whole season shows up, the Wolfpack could exceed expectations. The question is whether last week's defensive fortitude was an outlier or the Tar Heels finally getting a grasp on how to play effective defense? If it is the latter, then UNC could cruise through this game as it did against Duke.
The Wolfpack have only given up 28 ppg this season but 34.7 ppg in ACC play. The only two games NCSU didn't give up 30 points or more against ACC foes was in the two wins over Syracuse and Wake Forest. Marquise Williams could be a major issue for NC State but that has been the case for most UNC opponents this season. The points trend would indicate UNC is more likely to go for 30 or more points against NC State leaving the game to be decided on how well the Tar Heel defense plays.