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Quick Lane Bowl Tale of the Tape: UNC vs Rutgers

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Here's how UNC matches up with the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers

North Carolina Rutgers
Record 6-6 7-5
AP Poll Rank N/R N/R
Points Per Game 34.3 25.6
Total TDs 57 38
Total Offense Per Game 425.4 378.8
Total Offense Per Play 5.6 5.8
Rushing Per Game 145.8 147.8
Rushing Per Att 3.8 4.0
Passing Per Game 279.7 231.0
Passing Per Att 7.2 8.2
Fumbles Lost 8 7
Interceptions 13 13
3rd Down Conv. 42.9% 36.7%
4th Down Conv. 50.0% 40.0%
Red Zone Conv. 87.8% 89.5%
Field Goals 6-12 14-19
Points Allowed Per Game 38.9 30.9
Total Defense Per Game 495.7 439.5
Total Defense Per Play 6.4 6.5
Rushing Per Game 232.2 211.8
Rushing Per Att 5.0 5.5
Passing Per Game 263.5 227.8
Passing Per Att 8.5 7.7
Fumbles Recovered 11 9
Interceptions 12 7
Sacks 22.0 32.0
Tackles for Loss 70.0 66.0
3rd Down Conv. 50.5% 42.8%
4th Down Conv. 80.0% 44.4%
Red Zone Conv. 88.2% 81.3%

For the most part the numbers indicate two mediocre teams who are exactly in the bowl they should be in.

On the defensive side UNC is facing a team withe peculiar offensive numbers. Rutgers opts to run the ball more than it passes. 57% of Rutgers total players were runs versus 43% passing the football. However the rushing attack produces just 3.97 yards per play which is 86th nationally.When it comes to passing the ball Rutgers is 98th in passing attempts per game with 28.1 and 84th in passing accuracy at 56.4%. Those numbers would perhaps explain why the Scarlet Knights lean on the run more.

The interesting number is yards per pass play. The Scarlet Knights are 21st nationally indicating success passing the ball downfield. Rutgers has five plays of 60 yards or more(tied for 10th), four players of 70 yards or more(tied for fourth) and two plays of 80 yards or more(tied for third) on the season. The Scarlet Knights also have 7 plays over 50 yards, 11 plays over 40 yards and 23 over 30 yards. Given the issues UNC's secondary has had covering receivers downfield, the Scarlet Knights will undoubtedly test the Tar Heel defensive backs.

When UNC has the ball the Tar Heels will face a defense that isn't quite as bad as their own in terms of yards per game but gives up more yardage per play. For reference UNC is 113th in yards per play surrendered while Rutgers is 115th. Given these numbers, this is yet another game UNC is going to need to win by outscoring the opposing teams. Neither team is likely to do much to slow the other down which could mean turnovers will play a role. On the season UNC has a +2 turnover margin with 23 total takeaways. Rutgers posted a -4 and gave the ball up 20 times including 13 via interception.