Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at North Carolina Tar Heels preview


After losing their first game of the season to the Duke Blue Devils last week, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are hosting Duke’s archrival: the North Carolina Tar Heels. It’s been a bit of a… well terrible season for UNC this year, as Larry Fedora’s club once again brings an extremely poor defensive team to the table. However, UNC’s run defense has been pretty decent and Tech’s offense certainly isn’t built around exploiting the Tar Heels’ laughable pass defense.

Opponent: North Carolina Tar Heels

Time/TV: 7:00 pm ET, ESPNU

Georgia Tech Offense vs. North Carolina Defense

Most teams should look at North Carolina’s defensive unit and feel pretty good about themselves going into the game, and while that’s still true with the Jackets, their lack of a “real” passing game might limit that hope. Still though, UNC has the 117th total defense in the country, and allows 508 yards per game.

The Tar Heels allow most of that via the air, and have given up 316 passing yards per game compared to “just” 191.7 rushing yards per game. Still, UNC is far from the most disciplined team in the ACC and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them struggle to keep their assignments against Tech’s triple-option scheme. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has talked about how the players have struggled to keep their assignments and gaps against “normal” offenses this season, so an improvement in that area against Georgia Tech would be… surprising to say the least.

Georgia Tech Defense vs. North Carolina Offense

On the flip side, Larry Fedora is actually a pretty good offensive mind, and has led the Tar Heels to the 51st total offense in the country. The team recently scored 43 points against Notre Dame — the previous high they had given up to anyone was just 17 to give you some context.

The Heels like to run an up-tempo offense with dual-threat quarterback Marquise Williams getting the most snaps under center. He’s proven to be an adequate passer (nothing great by any means), but a real threat on the ground. Conversely, UNC’s running backs have struggled to do much of anything thanks in part to a battered, underwhelming offensive line and a larger commitment to the passing game.

This side of the ball will certainly be a challenge for Georgia Tech and to top it all off, Fedora has no problem going into his bag of tricks and pulling out a variety of trick plays — wide receiver Ryan Switzer has thrown two passes in his two-year UNC career. Both of them have been touchdowns.


This game should be a competitive one, but I’d still give the Jackets a significant edge. UNC’s defense is just that bad, and if the Jackets can keep the offense on the field for large portions of time (shouldn’t be a huge challenge) and keep Williams out of a real groove, they will be in a great position to grab the win.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning. Check it out!