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UNC vs NC State: Players to Watch

The Tar Heels look to finish their season on a high note against rival NC State

NCAA Football: The Citadel at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It is somehow the last regular season game of the football season for the Tar Heels. This year flew by but UNC has one more date with the Wolfpack of NC State before they can start to look forward to their bowl game this year.

Overall it’s been an up and down season to say the least. However, UNC has a chance to finish with 9 wins and looking at a late December bowl game. Let’s look at the players who could make a difference for UNC’s last home game of the year against the Wolfpack.

NC State Player to Watch: Defensive End Bradley Chubb

This was a somewhat difficult pick as it could have easily been running back Matt Dayes. Dayes has eclipsed 100 yards rushing seven times this year and has ran for 1,015 yards on the season. Dayes is also the first NC State player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since 2002.

Given UNC’s struggle with the run defense Dayes easily could have been the pick. However, Bradley Chubb has been a problem this season. Chubb currently is ranked 2nd nationally in tackles for loss with 19.5. This puts him just 0.5 tackles for loss behind Temple’s Haason Reddick. UNC ranks 77th in tackles for loss allowed with 66 on the year, so they will have their hands full trying to contain the junior captain.

Chubb also has 9 sacks on the year and given UNC’s depleted offensive line, he could be a huge issue Saturday. NC State as a team ranks 7th nationally in rushing defense, allowing only 102 yards per game, in huge part because of Chubb. UNC may find themselves throwing the ball often which will allow Chubb to make noise harassing quarterback Mitch Trubisky all game long.

UNC Player to Watch: Wide Receiver Ryan Switzer

It’s senior day so what better player to pick than senior wide receiver Ryan Switzer. The guy has meant so much to the Tar Heel program over his years at UNC. This year he has blown his personal reception and yards mark out of the water with 78 receptions for 856 yards and 4 touchdowns. Switzer is Carolina’s all-time leading receiver with 225 receptions (and counting) on the year, and is 8th all-time in ACC history.

Switzer has been a consistent force for UNC in regards to both receiving as well as punt returning. He’s averaged 56 receptions a year over his four years at UNC and is one punt return touchdown away from tying the NCAA record for punt return touchdowns in a career.

Switzer is coming off of a 4 receptions for 93 yards and 1 touchdown game, which helped him earn the ACC Receiver of the Week honors last week. Combine these stats with the fact that NC State ranks 89th in passing defense and 58th in opponent punt return average, makes for Switzer to have a pretty solid final home game in the Carolina blue.