Rutgers at North Carolina - Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 12:30 p.m. - ESPN3.com
Kenan Memorial Stadium - Chapel Hill, NC
Point Spread: North Carolina -10
Game Notes: Rutgers, North Carolina
Rutgers and North Carolina are coming off of big Week 1 wins against FCS competition. Rutgers leads the all-time series against the Tar Heels 3-2, but hasn't won a game against North Carolina either at home or on the road since 2006. Last year, North Carolina traveled to New Jersey and picked up a 17-13 win.
Rutgers 1-0 (0-0)
North Carolina 1-0 (0-0)
What can we take away from games against NC Central and James Madison from Week One? One thing is that neither Rutgers nor North Carolina struggled due to strong defensive efforts. Their offenses were able to move the ball, but North Carolina was more efficient than Rutgers in both passing and rushing.
The Heels' new starting quarterback Brynn Renner only missed one pass (which was an INT) against the JMU Dukes. After finishing the game with 14 consecutive completions, he is only one completed pass from tying the school record for consecutive passes completed in multiple games set by Darian Durant in 2001. The NCAA record is 26 set by Cal's Aaron Rodgers in 2004. North Carolina split up carries between Giovani Bernard, Ryan Houston and A.J. Blue. The trio averaged 5.3 yards per carry on 30 attempts.
Rutgers's impact freshman Savon Huggins found the endzone twice on rushing touchdowns against NC Central. However, the Scarlet Knights' rushing attack only averaged 3.3 yards per carry for the game. Their passing game was only ok. Both Chas Dodd and Gary Nova had the same number of touches, but only Dodd completed at least 50% of his passes and Dodd threw a pick. If Rutgers can't get more than 3.3 yards per carry rushing against North Carolina and gives up 5+ yards per carry, they have no shot at winning the game. Neither Dodd nor Nova looks comfortable enough in the new offense to carry the team to win with a 300+ yard passing day against North Carolina. I like the Heels' ability to induce mistakes from Dodd and grind it out on the ground late to seal a win, so I'm going with them to win.
Score Prediction: North Carolina 27, Rutgers 17