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Tale of the Tape: East Carolina

Lance King

Here is how the two teams match-up for this week's General Assembly Mandated Kobayashi Maru Game.

North Carolina East Carolina
Conference ACC AAC
Record 2-0 2-1
AP Poll Rank N/R N/R
Points Per Game 43.5 34.3
Total TDs 12 13
Total Offense Per Game 418.5 512.3
Total Offense Per Play 5.3 7.2
Rushing Per Game 169.5 138.3
Rushing Per Att 4.2 5.6
Passing Per Game 249.0 374.0
Passing Per Att 6.6 8.1
Fumbles Lost 1 2
Interceptions 4 3
3rd Down Conv. 46.6% 37.1%
4th Down Conv. 50.0% 66.6%
Red Zone Conv. 100.0% 87.5%
Field Goals 1-3 4-6
Points Allowed Per Game 28.0 20.3
Total Defense Per Game 427.5 334.7
Total Defense Per Play 5.8 4.6
Rushing Per Game 162.5 112.0
Rushing Per Att 4.3 3.3
Passing Per Game 265.0 222.7
Passing Per Att 6.6 5.8
Fumbles Recovered 4 1
Interceptions 5 3
Sacks 2.0 6.0
Tackles for Loss 10.0 14.0
3rd Down Conv. 39.3% 41.3%
4th Down Conv. N/A 50.0%
Red Zone Conv. 71.4% 75.0%

UNC has played two games, ECU three so the sample sizes are still on the smaller side. That means it's not clear if what we're seeing here can be locked in as trends for the remainder of the season. Certainly UNC offense, which is ranked in the 70s nationally in total offense, is a concern given the caliber of opponent the Tar Heels face in the first two games. Normally the offense would put up huge numbers against the less teams on the schedule and see those stats correct by facing stiffer competition. At present UNC is in a bit of a hole statistically and unlike last season, the schedule doesn't provide any favors.

The other issue is ECU's defense has actually been decent although against teams ranked in the lower half of FBS in total offense. Since that's where UNC is sitting and assuming the Heels trend on offense as they already have so far, the Pirates defense will be enough to keep the Tar Heels in check.

On the other side, UNC's numbers on defense match what the eye sees both in terms of what the Heels are giving up in yardage and the fact forcing turnovers have saved the Heels in two games. UNC has a +4 turnover margin to go along with two defensive touchdowns. Those turnovers started the avalanche against Liberty and was the difference in winning or losing versus San Diego State. It stands to reason that UNC probably isn't going to limit ECU from racking up yardage but if the Heels can come up with turnovers, maybe even a special teams touchdown(hey Ryan Switzer!) it could mitigate the inability to slow ECU down otherwise.

In short, the stats don't look great for UNC. If you knew nothing about these teams, the fact one is in a Power 5 conference and the other isn't, the numbers indicate ECU will have an advantage.