2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - Rutgers at UNC
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Sept. 10 at North Carolina 24 ... Rutgers 22
CFN Analysis: With five turnovers and nine penalties, North Carolina did everything it could possibly do to keep Rutgers in the game. The run defense was phenomenal, and when he wasn't turning the ball over, QB Bryn Renner did a nice job of moving the offense completing 20-of-26 passes for 273 yards with a touchdown. Giovani Bernard ran well with 16 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns, and overall, the offense did its part with 405 yards, while the D held Rutgers to just 244 yards. With Virginia and the ACC opener up next, the Tar Heels have to limit the mistakes or they'll get tagged by a lesser team down the road.
Considering Rutgers wants to be more powerful with the running game and considering the goal is to get back to what made the team good a few years ago, gaining just one yard rushing is an embarrassment. The Scarlet Knights got every break in the book and still couldn't do enough to come away with the win. They kept it close in the first half, and the defense did its part with Khaseem Greene leading the way with 13 tackles with a forced fumble with two tackles for loss. Ohio isn't a layup next week, and then started Big East play with a trip to Syracuse. The D is fine, and now the offense has to do its part.
(AP) CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Giovani Bernard rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns to help North Carolina beat Rutgers 24-22 on Saturday.
Bernard scored on runs of 60 and 6 yards for the Tar Heels (2-0), who overcame five turnovers to begin the season with consecutive wins for the third time in the last four seasons.
The Scarlet Knights (1-1) lost the ball on downs at their own 42 with 2:32 remaining, and the Tar Heels ran out the clock from there.
Bryn Renner was 20 of 26 for 273 yards and a touchdown for North Carolina, but he threw three interceptions. Dwight Jones had six catches for 135 yards and a score.
Chas Dodd was 25 of 47 for 243 yards and two touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights, who had no turnovers.
Mohamed Sanu, who reeled in an 18-yard score from Dodd, set career highs with 13 catches for 119 yards for Rutgers.
Bernard showed his speed to the outside on both of his scoring runs.
Midway through the second quarter, the UNC running back took a toss to the right and outran Rutgers' Steve Beauharnais to the corner. Bernard cut back to the middle of the field to elude another tackle by David Rowe, then sprinted away from the pursuit to give the Tar Heels a 14-6 lead.
On his scoring run late in the third quarter, Bernard bounced an inside run toward the left sideline. He gave ground to step out of a tackle by Rutgers' Brandon Jones, and beat Beauharnais again -- this time around the corner to extend North Carolina's lead to 24-15.
The Scarlet Knights pulled within 24-22 on a 5-yard touchdown catch by Tim Wright with 10:40 remaining.
The Tar Heels led 17-12 at halftime despite dominating the first two quarters statistically. They outgained Rutgers 286-91 in the first half, even while running five fewer plays from scrimmage.
Renner wasn't as sharp as he was last week, when he set an ACC record for completion percentage in the first start of his career by completing 22 of 23 passes against James Madison. But he got off to a fast start against Rutgers, throwing a 66-yard touchdown strike to Jones on the game's first possession.
Renner completed his first five passes today, giving him a school-record 19 consecutive completions dating back to the opener. The streak ended on an interception by Duron Harmon, who returned the ball 45 yards to the North Carolina 2-yard line.
The Scarlet Knights couldn't capitalize to tie the score. Dodd came up just short of the goal line on his lunge to the end zone on third down, and North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick stuffed a run by De'Antwan Williams on fourth down.
Rutgers scored after its other takeaways in the first half. The Tar Heels lost fumbles on the next two possessions after Renner's first interception, resulting in a pair of field goals by San San Te to cut North Carolina's lead to 7-6.
After another Renner interception, Sanu made a leaping one-handed grab for an 18-yard touchdown to bring Rutgers within 14-12 late in the second quarter.
Rutgers (1-0) at North Carolina (1-0) Sept. 10, 12:30, ACC Network
Here's The Deal … Rutgers and North Carolina lock horns for the fourth time in the last six years, hoping to manage the impending rise in competition following comfortable opening week victories. The Tar Heels handled James Madison, 42-10, successfully kicking off the eras of Everett Withers as the head coach and Bryn Renner at quarterback.Considering the tumult of the offseason, Carolina had to be ecstatic to get back on the field, where issues pertaining to the ouster of Butch Davis no longer carried as much relevance.
The Scarlet Knights coasted as well, shutting out North Carolina Central, but this program is still in the early stages of its desired turnaround. If it can hit the road and upset the Heels in Chapel Hill, however, the bar will have to be raised in Piscataway. For Rutgers and its gaggle of young players, this trip is an important litmus test that could set the tone for the rest of the month.
Why Rutgers Might Win: The young Carolina secondary showed some vulnerability in the James Madison win, which the Scarlet Knights hope to further expose. They boast a quality collection of skill position talent surrounding second-year starting QB Chas Dodd. An already deep backfield adds former blue-chipper Savon Huggins, who debuted with his first two career touchdowns on Thursday night. And the pass-catching combination of fleet-footed Mohamed Sanu and 6-3, 230-pound Mark Harrison will be a handful over the top for the Tar Heels defensive backs.
Why North Carolina Might Win: At the line of scrimmage, it'll be a case of strength vs. weakness, with the Tar Heels holding a considerable edge in the trenches. On defense, Carolina is going to maul a flimsy Scarlet Knights O-line with a next-level rotation headed by DE Quinton Coples and DT Tydreke Powell. Dodd will spend much of the afternoon scrambling for cover, a troubling situation that'll be complicated by the sideline-to-sideline jets of linebackers Kevin Reddick and Zach Brown. Rutgers will have its problems in pass defense as it attempts to neutralize the size and catch-radius of Carolina receivers Dwight Jones, Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd.
What To Watch Out For: The Carolina backfield, which was such a big question mark entering the season, has gotten off to a fantastic start in 2011. Sophomore QB Bryn Renner was borderline perfect in his starting debut, carving up the Dukes on 22-of-23 passing for 277 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Best of all, he already appears to have developed chemistry with Jones and his other targets. Plus, the running back tandem of beefy Ryan Houston and cat-quick Giovani Bernard also flashed plenty of potential in Week 1, combining for 123 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.
What Will Happen: Hidden beneath Rutgers' seemingly dominant 48-0 victory was an offense that averaged slightly more than three yards a carry versus a poor FCS foe. That simply won't cut it against the deep and physical front seven of Carolina. In a complete mismatch, the Heels will manhandle the Scarlet Knights blockers, forcing the visitors into turnovers and a spate of three-and-outs. Renner and the rest of the offense will take care of the rest, mixing in the pass with the run in order to keep the defense on its heels. Rutgers will never threaten after halftime in a one-sided game that'll look even worse on film than it does on the scoreboard.
CFN Prediction: North Carolina 31 … Rutgers 13
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UNC -11 O/U: 48
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