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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Pittsburgh

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The numbers for a crucial Coastal Division match-up.

When UNC has the ball

UNC(Offense) Pitt(Defense)
Points per game 38.4 21.6
Yards per game 473.6 357.7
Yards per play 7.43 5.6
Passing yards 258.3 174.6
Passing YPA 9.3 6.0
Rushing Yards 215.3 133.7
Rushing YPA 6.0 4.5
Turnovers 9 10
3rd Down Conv. 48.00% 34.9%
4th Down Conv. 50.00% 54.6%
Red Zone Conv. 87.10% 76.9%

When UNC is on defense

UNC(Defense) Pitt(Offense)
Points per game 16.7 27.1
Yards per game 349.9 357.7
Yards per play 4.89 5.6
Passing yards 137.3 186.0
Passing YPA 5.4 7.9
Rushing Yards 212.57 171.7
Rushing YPA 4.61 4.2
Turnovers 13 8
3rd Down Conv. 40.57% 41.4%
4th Down Conv. 50.00% 77.8%
Red Zone Conv. 76.19% 84.6%

For the most part these are two fairly even teams. UNC has been very good offensively and while Pitt's offensive numbers are not nearly as gaudy, there is a fair amount of efficiency there. Both defensive units will have their share of challenges facing the opposing offenses.

The most important aspect of the game may very well be the pace. Pitt will want to control the ball and keep the UNC defense on the field. Because UNC pushes the tempo it can lead to trouble if the offense doesn't actually produce points or hold the ball long enough to give the defense a break. So far this season that hasn't happened much with the first half versus Georgia Tech being the most glaring example.

One of other note, in 2013 when UNC beat Pitt 34-27, Ryan Switzer ran not one but two punts back for a touchdown. The final one ended up being the game winner.  Pitt is 27th in average punt return yards allow so the Panthers do a solid job covering punts. Switzer has had few opportunities to make big returns which just two long returns and only one game with more than 20 total return yards. One could argue he is due. In a toss-up game of this nature that will have a major impact on the Coastal Division race, special teams play could tip the scales.