Heel Tough Blog: Trench Report-NC State
Updated: Dec 2, 2019
For the first time since 2015, Carolina beat it's most hated rival in football, with a convincing 41-10 over the NC State Wolfpack. The win over State, gave the Tar Heels their 6th, meaning they are going bowling for the first time since 2016. After trailing 10-6 at halftime, Carolina used a 28 point 3rd quarter, to blow open up a game that shouldn't have been close. To take this program to a bowl game in his first year back on the job, culminated all the great things Mack Brown has done both on and off the field. In a game that was played in sloppy conditions, you knew the trenches were going to be huge factor in the outcome. Both units showed up ready to play, and it led to a win. Here's how both lines played yesterday:
Although they gave up 3 sacks, the guys up front got the job done all night long. They gave Sam Howell time to pick apart the Wolfpack's secondary, as he passed for a career best 401 yards. In the run game, they opened up holes for the trio of running backs to find a run for big gains. Carolina rushed for 180 yards on 41 carriers. That averages out to 4.4 yards per carry. The offense had it's best game against a ACC opponent in regulation, and it wasn't possible without the guys up front being ready to play at a high level. They eliminated the costly mistakes in crucial situations, and were tough enough to play their bad weather. Now that they have some time off before the bowl game, it'll allow the guys to get as healthy as possible before suiting one last time. Also these extra practice reps will pay dividends for a group that loses Charlie Heck and Nick Polino, but returns a good core next season.
After three straight games of having NC State manhandle the Tar Heel front, this game felt personal for the defensive line. After a slow start, Raymond Vohasek made a big play where he fought through a double team to make a stop behind the line of scrimmage. That play seemed to get the guys energized, and their play picked up dramatically. They harassed both of the Wolfpack's quarterbacks all game long, as they were big part of the three interceptions thrown. They weren't in the box score with a lot of tackles, but their physicality and activity was enough to take the State offense out of rhythm, as they cruised to a easy victory. With some time off before the bowl game, the guys will have time to heal up before one last game. There might be some decisions for Jason Strowbridge & Aaron Crawford to play in the game, as they have NFL aspirations next May, but for the returning guys they'll have the chance to earn some much needed extra reps in Jay Bateman's scheme.