clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

FIRST LOOK: North Carolina Tar Heels

New, 25 comments

Taking our first look at the Baylor Bears' Russell Athletic Bowl opponent: The North Carolina Tar Heels

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
vs.
17/18/19 BAYLOR (9–3, 6–3) vs. 10/10/11 North Carolina (11–2, 8–0)
Russell Athletic Bowl
Dec. 29, 2015 | 4:30 p.m. CT
Orlando, Florida | Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium (60,219)

TV: ESPN

OPPONENT: North Carolina Tar Heels
ODB GAME HUB: 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl: Baylor vs. UNC
MEET THE PRESS: Presser Quotes | Player Updates
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: goheels.com
MEDIA GUIDE: 2015 UNC Football Media Guide (Click here for roster)
ADVANCED STATS PROFILE: North Carolina Tar Heels Advanced Stats Profile
LAST MEETING: FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
LAST GAME: L; Clemson 45, UNC 37
SB NATION BLOG: Tar Heel Blog, at right
SPREAD: Baylor –3 (Open: Baylor –3.5)
TV COVERAGE: ESPN, 4:30 p.m. CST December 29, 2015
WEATHER FORECAST: Too far out at this point, BUT PROBABLY RAIN BECAUSE THAT’S HOW WE ROLL

SBNation.com UNC Preview
baylorbears.com Preview - hasn’t been posted yet
Bears vs. Tar Heels Coverage

The Russell Athletic Bowl

If you listened to the podcast that we put out last week (which, be honest, not many of you did), you’ll know that the official Twitter account for the Russell Athletic Bowl is an absolute must-follow for bowl season this year. There have been many fantastic exchanges between the account and the fans. As Mark said on the podcast, the entertainment value of the account actually has increased his level of excitement for the game, and I agree with him. If you haven’t availed yourself of the opportunity, I will suggest it to you again. Go follow @RussellAthBowl on Twitter. Your life will be enriched for it.

Of course, everyone knows by now that our opponent for the game is North Carolina. While the Tar Heels and Bears have never squared off against each other on the gridiron, the schools share a connection in UNC’s head coach, Larry Fedora. Fedora began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant under the legendary Grant Teaff in 1991 and remained on staff when Chuck Reedy took over the head coaching job. He stayed through the 1996 season. He was rumored to be one of the candidates in the mix when Art Briles took the reigns of the program in 2008.

Questions At Quarterback

Last week, Briles mentioned that true freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham would have a bone scan today to check on the progress of the fracture in his heel. Even if we get good news today, that’s not a guarantee that Stidham will be the starter in the bowl game. Even with good news, he has to be cleared to full practice and then has to get back into game shape. Can he do that in two weeks and a day? At the very least, we should have a better idea of what the quarterback situation is sometime within the next 24 hours, assuming that we are told what the results of that scan were. Stidham sent out a tweet that was the "Grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji, but who knows what that means. I’ll wait for some official word for now.

North Carolina Tar Heels 2015 Schedule and Results

Record: 11–2 | Second-order wins (diff.): 10.9 (–0.1) | S&P+ Rk: 30
Date Opponent Opp. S&P+ Rk Score W-L Percentile
Performance
Adj. Scoring
Margin
Win
Expectancy
3-Sep vs. South Carolina 87 13–17 L 31% –2.8 36%
12-Sep NC A&T N/A 53–14 W 84% 35.2 100%
19-Sep Illinois 58 48–14 W 78% 14.9 97%
26-Sep Delaware N/A 41–14 W 49% 13.7 96%
3-Oct at Georgia Tech 69 38–31 W 51% 4.5 71%
17-Oct Wake Forest 88 50–14 W 88% 27.0 100%
24-Oct Virginia 77 26–13 W 80% 18.8 99%
29-Oct at Pittsburgh 40 26–19 W 80% 13.9 96%
7-Nov Duke 74 66–31 W 93% 24.6 100%
14-Nov Miami-FL 50 59–21 W 87% 19.4 99%
21-Nov at Virginia Tech 57 30–27 W 65% 7.5 83%
28-Nov at NC State 27 45–34 W 71% 7.4 82%
5-Dec vs. Clemson 2 37–45 L 52% –4.6 28%
Date Opponent Opp. S&P+ Rk Win
Probability
Proj.
W-L
Proj.
Margin
Proj.
Score
Cumulative
Proj. Wins
29-Dec vs. Baylor 14 39% L –5.1 31.4 - 36.5 11.39

On the surface, the Tar Heels had a fantastic season, being only 4 points away from going undefeated in their regular season prior to the ACC Championship Game. The game against South Carolina was UNC’s game to win, but multiple red zone turnovers cost them the game. But, when you look more closely, their best win was over NC State, the 27th ranked team by S&P+. That and Pitt were the Heels’ sole wins over teams in the S&P+ Top 50. Well, I guess Miami is 50, so they count too. Their best games, performance-wise, came in early November when they smashed Duke and Miami in successive weeks. You can knock their strength of schedule all you want (well, maybe we can’t), but they did exactly what they were supposed to do against inferior competition: crush it. But for a phantom offsides call that negated an onside kick recovery and secured Clemson’s perfect season, UNC would have had a shot to score and tie up the ACC Championship Game and really throw a monkey wrench into the Playoff picture. Refs are terrible everywhere, y’all.

Lest you be lulled into a false sense of security by that 39% win probability in the Russell Athletic Bowl, don’t forget that the S&P+ win probability for Texas was 7%. The stats can’t fully account for the loss of two of our quarterbacks or the third going down on the fourth drive of the game.

North Carolina Tar Heels 2015 Individual Stats

As always, the individual stats produced below come from Bill Connelly’s Advanced Statistical Profile page, which can be found in the link block above. Check it out. It’s neat.

Passing Statistics

Player Ht, Wt Year Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Marquise Williams 6’2, 225 SR 197 321 2829 21 9 61.4% 13 3.9% 8.2
Mitch Trubisky 6’3, 220 SO 40 47 555 6 0 85.1% 1 2.1% 11.4
Caleb Henderson 6’3, 215 FR 0 1 0 0 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0.0

Marquise Williams is the man at quarterback for the Tar Heels and has been an exceptional quarterback that, nevertheless, has his inconsistent moments. He threw multiple red zone interceptions against South Carolina in the season opener that ended up being a significant reason why that game was their only pre-championship game loss, and threw another red zone INT against Clemson that Tar Heel Blog editor Doc Kennedy called "soul crushing." Still, he finished as the runner up for both ACC Offensive Player of the Year and Player of the Year and was named Second-Team All-ACC Quarterback, behind Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson of Clemson. He’s still completing over 60% of his passes, and, as we’ll see momentarily, is a strong rushing threat. The game against Clemson suggests that if the Bears can keep him from getting comfortable, they may be able to hinder the Heels’ air attack.

Individual Rushing Stats

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Opp.
Opp.
Rate
Fumbles
(Lost)
Elijah Hood TB 6’0, 220 SO 206 1345 17 6.5 5.9 46.6% 4 (1)
Marquise Williams QB 6’2, 225 SR 128 962 11 7.5 8.2 45.3% 9 (5)
T.J. Logan TB 5’10, 190 JR 62 368 5 5.9 7.5 35.5% 2 (0)
Ty’Son Williams TB 6’0, 220 FR 19 57 0 3.0 1.5 21.1% 0 (0)
Mitch Trubisky QB 6’3, 220 SO 15 109 3 7.3 10.0 40.0% 2 (1)
Khris Francis TB 5’9, 210 JR 11 37 0 3.4 4.6 18.2% 0 (0)
Romar Morris TB 5’10, 190 SR 9 51 1 5.7 2.7 55.6% 0 (0)
Charles Brunson TB 5’11, 205 JR 9 25 1 2.8 2.5 22.2% 0 (0)
Caleb Henderson QB 6’3, 215 FR 5 53 0 10.6 6.4 80.0% 1 (0)
NOTE: Quarterback run totals above do not include sacks (which are counted toward pass averages below) or kneeldowns.

Oh hey, look! Another dual-threat quarterback! The Bears’ struggles against quarterbacks that pose a threat with their legs is well-documented this season. If you look only at the stats, Williams is the best rushing threat at QB that the Bears have faced, with better raw and advanced numbers than Mayfield or Boykin (who was clearly hobbled in our game by both injury and a playing surface that at best resembled the turf at a Tough Mudder event). Williams has nearly 300 more yards than Boykin on just 28 more carries. The Bears’ linebackers will have their hands full with him in this one. The good news is that he might be a bit fumble-prone, having coughed up the ball 9 times and lost it 5 of the 9.

The good news for the Bears is that the rest of the RB corps is fairly straightforward, with 2nd-team All ACC RB Elijah Hood getting the lion’s share of the carries. His numbers are quite solid, if slightly below the yards-per-carry of Williams. Regardless, this is a potent backfield that if it gets going, will give the Bears’ defense fits.

Individual Receiving Stats

Player Pos. Ht, Wt Year Targets Catches Yards TD Yds/
Catch
Yds/
Target
Catch Rate Target
Rate
Ryan Switzer WR 5’10, 185 JR 75 53 679 6 12.8 9.1 70.7% 21.0%
Quinshad Davis WR 6’4, 220 SR 74 49 578 4 11.8 7.8 66.2% 20.7%
Bug Howard WR 6’5, 210 JR 53 26 446 3 17.2 8.4 49.1% 14.8%
Mack Hollins WR 6’4, 210 JR 46 28 711 8 25.4 15.5 60.9% 12.9%
Brandon Fritts TE 6’4, 245 FR 18 14 184 3 13.1 10.2 77.8% 5.0%
Kendrick Singleton TE 6’2, 215 SR 18 10 124 1 12.4 6.9 55.6% 5.0%
T.J. Logan TB 5’10, 190 JR 16 11 151 1 13.7 9.4 68.8% 4.5%
Elijah Hood TB 6’0, 220 SO 14 11 64 0 5.8 4.6 78.6% 3.9%
Austin Proehl WR 5’10, 175 SO 13 12 225 1 18.8 17.3 92.3% 3.6%
Damien Washington WR 6’1, 195 SR 8 7 92 0 13.1 11.5 87.5% 2.2%
Romar Morris TB 5’10, 190 SR 8 8 43 0 5.4 5.4 100.0% 2.2%
Jordan Fieulleteau WR 6’3, 210 SO 7 6 100 0 16.7 14.3 85.7% 2.0%
Dalton Stogner WR 6’4, 200 JR 2 2 9 0 4.5 4.5 100.0% 0.6%
Marquise Williams QB 6’2, 225 SR 1 1 37 1 37.0 37.0 100.0% 0.3%
Ty’Son Williams TB 6’0, 220 FR 1 1 0 0 0.0 0.0 100.0% 0.3%

GOSH DANG IT. There he is. Marquise Williams has what Mark and I have been wanting on the podcast for two years now: The TD Trifecta. Throwing, rushing, and receiving. Bravo, Mr. Williams. But I digress.

Williams’ primary targets here are Ryan Switzer (no relation to Barry that I can locate), Quinshad Davis, and Bug Howard. While they don’t have the flashiest numbers, they may have some of the best names. "Quinshad & Switzer" sounds to me like a ’90s detective show that aired on Fox on Fridays at 8:00, while Bug Howard doesn’t sound right without putting "The Great" in front of it. The Great Bug Howard. See? It just works.* Seriously though, throw in Austin Proehl and Jordan Fiellteau and you’ve got yourself an All-Name WR Corps here. Not to mention Elijah Hood, who sounds like a guy that would star in the direct-to-Redbox LOTR knockoff, Lord of the Elves made by The Asylum.
*Well, upon further review, I now know why: There was a 2009 John Malkovich comedy called The Great Buck Howard.

Individual Defensive Statistics

Name Pos Ht, Wt Year Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Shakeel Rashad LB 6’2, 235 SR 92.0 11.7% 7.5 1.5 2 2 3 0
Donnie Miles S 5’11, 210 SO 85.5 10.9% 2.0 0.0 0 2 1 0
Jeff Schoettmer LB 6’2, 235 SR 64.5 8.2% 6.5 0.0 2 1 1 0
Des Lawrence CB 6’1, 185 JR 45.0 5.7% 2.5 0.0 2 14 0 0
M.J. Stewart CB 5’11, 200 SO 41.5 5.3% 2.5 1.0 4 14 1 0
Sam Smiley S 5’11, 190 SR 36.5 4.7% 1.0 0.0 1 1 0 1
Andre Smith LB 6’0, 235 FR 36.0 4.6% 2.0 1.0 1 1 1 0
Cayson Collins LB 6’1, 235 SO 30.5 3.9% 3.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Nazair Jones DT 6’5, 295 SO 29.5 3.8% 4.0 0.0 1 3 1 0
Malik Simmons CB 5’11, 190 SR 29.0 3.7% 0.0 0.0 2 7 0 0
Dajaun Drennon DE 6’4, 255 SO 27.5 3.5% 5.0 1.5 0 1 0 0
Dominquie Green S 5’11, 190 JR 26.5 3.4% 0.0 0.0 1 2 0 0
Junior Gnonkonde DE 6’4, 260 JR 26.0 3.3% 7.0 3.5 0 1 0 1
Jessie Rogers DE 6’4, 270 SR 24.0 3.1% 2.5 1.0 0 0 0 0
Jeremiah Clarke DT 6’5, 315 FR 24.0 3.1% 2.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Justin Thomason DT 6’4, 295 SR 23.0 2.9% 4.5 3.5 0 0 0 0
Mikey Bart DE 6’3, 270 JR 21.0 2.7% 6.5 6.5 0 0 1 0
Tyler Powell DL 6’4, 290 SO 13.5 1.7% 0.5 0.5 0 0 0 0
Cole Holcomb LB 6’1, 215 FR 12.0 1.5% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Brian Walker CB 5’11, 190 JR 10.5 1.3% 1.0 0.0 0 5 0 0
Robert Dinkins DT 6’1, 270 FR 10.0 1.3% 1.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
Mike Hughes CB 5’11, 185 FR 9.5 1.2% 0.0 0.0 0 3 0 0
Jalen Dalton DE 6’6, 280 FR 8.5 1.1% 1.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Malik Carney DE 6’3, 230 FR 8.0 1.0% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
J.K. Britt S 6’0, 195 FR 6.0 0.8% 0.0 0.0 0 2 0 0
Note: It appears "Fumble Returns" are getting pulled instead of "Fumble Recoveries." My apologies. Will try to get that corrected.

Des Lawrence, Shakeel Rashad, Donnie Miles, and Jeff Schoettmer lead this defense. Lawrence made second-team all-ACC, while both Rashad and Schoettmer were third-teamers for the Tar Heels defense this season.

2015 North Carolina Tar Heels Team Stats and Rankings

Statistic National
Rank
Conference
Rank
Value National Leader Value Conference
Leader
Value
3rd Down Conv. Pct 14 2 0.470 Texas Tech 0.519 Clemson 0.477
3rd Down Defense 97 14 0.430 Boston College 0.241 Boston College 0.241
4th Down Conv. Pct 40 6 0.583 Navy 0.917 Pittsburgh 0.846
4th Down Conversion Pct Defense 115 13 0.645 Penn St. 0.167 Boston College 0.200
Blocked Kicks 43 5 2 BYU 8 Pittsburgh 4
Blocked Kicks Allowed 59 7 2 27 teams tied 0 4 teams tied 0
Blocked Punts 28 4 1 Temple 5 Boston College 3
Blocked Punts Allowed 107 14 2 60 teams tied 0 8 teams tied 0
Completion Percentage 20 3 0.641 Western Ky. 0.720 Clemson 0.688
Defensive TDs Arkansas St. 8 Syracuse 4
Fewest Penalties 64 7 75 Navy
Georgia Tech
38
38
Georgia Tech 38
Fewest Penalties Per Game 49 7 5.77 Georgia Tech
Navy
3.17
3.17
Georgia Tech 3.17
Fewest Penalty Yards 48 6 616 Navy 324 Georgia Tech 329
Fewest Penalty YPG 36 5 47.38 Navy 27.00 Georgia Tech 27.42
First Downs Defense 120 14 306 Boston College 166 Boston College 166
First Downs Offense 15 2 307 Bowling Green 374 Clemson 332
Fumbles Lost 56 8 8 Arkansas
Ohio
South Carolina
3
3
3
Miami (FL) 4
Fumbles Recovered 42 5 9 Navy
Virginia Tech
15
15
Virginia Tech 15
Kickoff Return Defense 25 3 19.14 Memphis 14.90 Florida St. 16.25
Kickoff Returns 89 10 19.97 Tennessee 33.41 North Carolina St. 26.65
Net Punting 106 14 35.50 Utah 43.67 Wake Forest 41.25
Passes Had Intercepted 35 6 9 Navy 2 North Carolina St. 4
Passes Intercepted 14 1 16 Arkansas St. 26 Louisville
North Carolina
16
16
Passing Offense 34 3 264.0 Washington St. 397.0 Clemson 288.5
Passing Yards Allowed 26 6 194.5 Georgia 146.1 Clemson 166.9
Passing YPC 10 2 14.36 Army West Point 23.02 Georgia Tech 18.05
Punt Return Defense 75 12 8.80 Oklahoma 0.70 Boston College 1.66
Punt Returns 16 3 13.17 Texas A&M 19.68 Virginia 16.00
Red Zone Defense 47 4 0.804 Appalachian St. 0.625 Boston College 0.733
Red Zone Offense 18 3 0.894 Washington St. 0.943 Syracuse 0.923
Rushing Defense 109 14 216.8 Alabama 74.0 Boston College 82.8
Rushing Offense 22 2 222.9 Ga. Southern 355.6 Georgia Tech 256.2
Sacks Allowed 9 1 1.08 Air Force 0.15 North Carolina
Clemson
1.08
1.08
Scoring Defense 35 4 22.6 Wisconsin 13.1 Boston College 15.3
Scoring Offense 11 1 40.9 Baylor 48.0 North Carolina 40.9
Tackles for Loss Allowed 6 2 4.23 Georgia 3.42 Miami (FL) 4.17
Team Passing Efficiency 12 1 161.31 Western Ky. 178.37 North Carolina 161.31
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 17 4 110.37 Michigan 94.98 Clemson 102.19
Team Sacks 88 10 1.77 Arizona St.
Penn St.
3.67
3.67
Pittsburgh 3.08
Team Tackles for Loss 108 13 4.8 Boston College 9.6 Boston College 9.6
Time of Possession 126 14 25:27 Stanford 35:23 North Carolina St. 33:08
Total Defense 79 12 411.3 Boston College 254.3 Boston College 254.3
Total Offense 19 2 486.9 Baylor 604.6 Clemson 510.6
Turnover Margin 26 3 0.62 San Diego St. 1.46 Miami (FL) 1.08
Turnovers Gained 16 1 25 Arkansas St. 34 Virginia Tech
North Carolina
25
25
Turnovers Lost 41 5 17 Navy 7 Florida St. 10
Winning Percentage 8 2 0.846 Clemson 1.000 Clemson 1.000

It’s Question Time!

FIRST: I’m 99% certain that we will be doing an honest-to-goodness Q&A with the Tar Heel Blog. What questions about their team do you have?
SECOND: How have you been handling not having Baylor football?
THIRD: Do you see the game playing out differently for Baylor if Stidham starts vs. Johnson? How so?
FOURTH: The ACC Championship Game was a color-on-color matchup. Would you like to see another for the RAB?
FIFTH: Uniform Prediction?