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UNC Football vs. Western Carolina: Game Preview

Which team will break their losing streaks?

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

After starting the season 3-0, Western Carolina has dropped their last seven. The North Carolina Tar Heels are on a similar skid, losing their last six, albeit with just one victory on the season.

In a season filled with head-scratching decisions and complete disappointment, Saturday will be an unknown.

Will the Tar Heels get one more notch in the win column before the end of the season versus their FCS opponent, like they did last year in a 65-10 victory? Or will Carolina let the Catamounts hang around, like they did last year in a 7-7 tie after the first quarter, and cough up another loss in a winnable game?

WCU is 3-7 on season, including 1-7 in the Southern Conference. Much like UNC, Western Carolina has a better team than their record indicates. Mistakes and lack of execution has hindered the team from Cullowhee.

The Catamounts blew a late lead last week versus Wofford and fell by a final of 28-23. In the week prior, WCU was up at halftime against The Citadel, only to fall 38-24. On October 27, Western was on the road versus FCS ranked No. 25 East Tennessee State and lost in a triple overtime thriller 45-43.

Western Carolina’s offensive spark plug is redshirt junior quarterback Tyrie Adams. He has started all ten games and has passed for 2,127 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is completing 63.9 percent of his passes and averaging 212.7 yards per game.

Adams can get it done on the ground as well. He is the leading rusher for WCU, carrying the ball for 902 yards this season. His team-leading eight touchdowns have come from averaging 90.2 yards per game.

This weekend, Adams may very well make FCS history by becoming just the 10th player to pass for 2,000-yards and rush for 1,000-yards in a season.

In the passing attack, Adams spreads the ball around between three main receivers. Jordan Mathis leads the team with 598 receiving yards. Nate Mullen and Daquan Patten are right behind with 569 and 553 receiving yards, respectfully.

WCU is averaging over 32 points and 476 yards of offense per game.

On defense, senior linebacker Mitchell Chancey leads the defense. The Asheville native has 121 total tackles on the season and has started each game.

Solomon Clark, a senior defensive lineman, leads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks.

The Catamount defense has given up an average of 40.2 points and 475 yards of offense per game.

If the Larry Fedora talking points are accurate, the team has not given up yet. As been seen throughout the season, the effort is there. But whether it is from the sidelines or just the talent on the field, it is not coming together for the Tar Heels.

In just their second-ever meeting on the gridiron, Carolina should take care of business and have one moment in the sun before the season fades into the dark winter.

Prediction: UNC 55, WCU 37