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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Georgia Tech

Here's how the numbers for UNC's ACC opener versus Georgia Tech.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When UNC has the ball

UNC(Offense) Georgia Tech(Defense)
Points per game 38.8 20.0
Yards per game 485.5 314.0
Yards per play 7.3 4.9
Passing yards 268.5 159.8
Passing YPA 9.2 5.5
Rushing Yards 217.0 154.3
Rushing YPA 5.8 6.1
Turnovers 5 10
3rd Down Conv. 55.1% 31.0%
4th Down Conv. 33.3% 40.0%
Red Zone Conv. 77.8% 72.7%

When UNC is on defense

UNC(Defense) Georgia Tech(Offense)
Points per game 14.8 44.0
Yards per game 342.3 444.3
Yards per play 4.9 6.4
Passing yards 113.5 118.3
Passing YPA 4.7 7.8
Rushing Yards 228.8 326.0
Rushing YPA 5.0 6.1
Turnovers 5 5
3rd Down Conv. 41.0% 34.7%
4th Down Conv. 55.5% 88.9%
Red Zone Conv. 66.7% 70.0%

To no one's surprise, the numbers reveal that UNC's greatest defensive weakness will be going against Georgia Tech's greatest offensive strength. The Tar Heels are presently 104th in rushing yards per play allowed facing a Yellow Jacket team that is ninth in rushing yards per play. One caveat is Georgia Tech hasn't been great against Power 5 schools averaging 3.6 yards rushing against Notre Dame and Duke. However a similar caveat portends doom for the Tar Heels. UNC is giving up 5.0 yards per play on the ground coming against two FCS teams, South Carolina and Illinois. In short, this is a horrible match-up for the Tar Heels in every sense.

In the passing game both teams have defended the pass well though in UNC's case there could be an element of "why pass when we can run" in play. Deleware threw for just 24 yards on 10 attempts. Similarly Georgia Tech will eschew the pass to run the ball, probably at will. On the flip side, the Yellow Jacket pass defense has been just as stout giving up just 4.9 yards per pass play. The level of pass defense and a forecast for rain probably means the respective running games will decide this contest.

Speaking of which, UNC comes in with the 16th best rushing offense in the country with 5.8 yards per play on the ground. Georgia Tech, while not quite as bad as UNC in defending the run is still surrendering 4.7 yards per play rushing which is 81st nationally. UNC has the personnel to rack up yards on the ground. Given the pass defense and conditions which could limit passing the ball, this game could be more suited for Marquise Williams.

One of other note regarding the Jackets. Georgia Tech has been very opportunistic on defense with 10 turnovers forced through four games including three last week versus Duke. UNC has turned the ball over five times this season(four of those Williams INTs) and has five takeaways.