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UNC Football: Florida State’s run defense woes figure to get worse

A visit from UNC’s Gruesome Twosome is not going to help the Seminoles sort themselves out.

Virginia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Now that UNC’s offense is performing at a level commensurate with pre-season expectations, we can confidently project how that unit will perform against Florida State in Tallahassee this Saturday. Sam Howell and his receivers, when they’re making dynamic plays all over the field and not dropping passes, are as dangerous as they were at the end of last season. But the true danger to Florida State is Carolina’s running backs or the Gruesome Twosome, as I like to call them. I wouldn’t be upset if Tar Heel Blog nation helps make this a thing:

Florida State’s loss to Notre Dame last Saturday looked awfully similar to Virginia Tech’s loss to UNC. The Irish leaned on a pair of swift running backs to punish the weak Seminole run defense, currently ranked #61 in FBS, surrendering 194.3 ypg and 5.5 ypr. That’s... not optimal. Notre Dame’s top two rushers, Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree combined for 288 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Ian Book also ran for 58 yards and a touchdown, and he’s more of a designed running threat than Sam Howell, though the Tar Heel signal caller is showing that he has the wheels to get first downs (and draw personal foul penalties, for some reason). When you watch the highlights above, it’s easy to replace in your mind the ND running backs with Carolina’s, and drool when you see their speed eat up Florida State’s linebackers and secondary.

Our sister site Tomahawk Nation summarized Florida State’s coaches press conference this week, and defensive coordinator Adam Fuller did not really have any answers for the Seminoles’ poor showings so far. When coaches talk about fixing big problems with “effort” and “confidence” that usually means they don’t have answers and nothing substantial is going to change. That’ll be music to Javonte Williams and Michael Carter’s ears.

What do you think is the greater threat to Florida State’s defense, the Gruesome Twosome, or Sam Howell throwing to a revitalized Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown? Will the Heels put enough separation between themselves and the Seminoles to put some backups in and build depth? Let us know in the comments below!