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)
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
|3-Sep||vs. South Carolina||87||13–17||L||31%||–2.8||36%|
|3-Oct||at Georgia Tech||69||38–31||W||51%||4.5||71%|
|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%|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. S&P+ Rk||Win
|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.
|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
|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
|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
|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 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 Per Game||49||7||5.77||Georgia Tech
|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|
|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
|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
|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.
|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|
|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
|Turnovers Lost||41||5||17||Navy||7||Florida St.||10|
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?