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UNC-SCAR: Tale of the Tape

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A statistical look at the match-up between UNC and South Carolina.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Wait...it's the first game, no one has any stats to compare right? True so let's take a look at what happened last season.

When UNC is on offense

UNC(Offense) SCAR(Defense)
Points per game 33.2 30.4
Yards per game 429.9 432.7
Yards per attempt 5.6 6.2
Passing yards 278.4 220.5
Passing YPA 7.1 7.3
Rushing Yards 151.4 212.2
Rushing YPA 4.0 5.4
Turnovers 23 19

While these numbers are sort of irrelevant in a new season, it is noteworthy to point out UNC returns almost everyone who contributed the 2014 offense. In the list of UNC's total offense contributors from last season, Tommy Hibbard is the only name not on the roster this season. Among the top ten receivers from last season, UNC returns everyone except Jack Tabb and T.J. Thorpe including the top four and 23 of 29 receiving touchdowns. All of the rushers have returned meaning from a statistical standpoint, the Tar Heels have nearly all the offensive production from last season intact for 2015.

The Heels will face a defense that was 94th nationally in total defense a year ago. The good news for South Carolina is most of the contributors from last season have returned and assuming there is even natural improvement, the unit should be better. It should be noted last season South Carolina's biggest issue was stopping the run. If that weakness hasn't been resolved, UNC could exploit it given the stable of rushers the Tar Heels have.

When UNC is on defense

UNC(Defense) SCAR(Offense)
Points per game 39.0 32.6
Yards per game 497.8 443.4
Yards per attempt 6.5 6.1
Passing yards 257.4 282.4
Passing YPA 8.5 7.8
Rushing Yards 240.6 161.0
Rushing YPA 5.2 4.4
Turnovers 23 21

When UNC is on defense we will all curl up in the fetal position and pray it ends quickly. I realize that maybe I should have included a trigger warning before posting UNC's defensive stats from last season again. They continue to be a horrible sight. South Carolina had a bad year defensively, UNC was far worse. UNC was 2.2 yards per game and a point per game from opponents averaging 40 points and 500 yards of total offense. It was a complete failure in every respect.

In the face of that kind of carnage, Larry Fedora cleaned house and brought in a proven defensive staff. The scheme has been changed and the new coaches have reportedly made headway in building the defense from the ground up. This game will be a nice test since South Carolina has suffered some attrition from the 35th ranked total offense in 2014. The Gamecocks will start a new quarterback and lost leading rusher Mike Davis to the NFL. If UNC's defense has indeed improved and South Carolina's offense sputters a bit adjusting to new personnel, it might be the right kind of perfect storm for the Tar Heels.