Heel Tough Blog: Week 2 Trench Report - Georgia State


Athlon Sports


For the first time since the pandemic 2020 season, the Tar Heels are 3-0 following a close 35-28 win over Georgia State in Atlanta over the weekend. The second consecutive close result against a team from the Sun Belt may be cause for concern but considering that App State, Georgia Southern, and Marshall all pulled off upsets, it speaks volumes about the quality of teams in the Sun Belt Conference. The Tar Heels built a 21-3 lead but allowed 25 straight points to trail 28-21 in the third quarter. UNC would go on to outscore the Panthers 14-0, earning their second straight road victory, the first time they’ve won back-to-back games on the road since 2016. Here’s how the trench units played on Saturday:


Offensive Line:

It wasn’t the prettiest of efforts as they were without starting right tackle Spencer Rolland, forcing Williams Barnes to play right tackle, and receive Jonathon Adorno starting at right guard. Factor in that Georgia State was the most physical defensive line Carolina had seen at this point in the season, and it made sense for the early struggles. Drake Maye was sacked three times and had to deal with constant pressure in the pocket seemingly all game long. Carolina’s rushing totals equaled out to 183 yards on 44 carries, with a long of 58, and a 4.2-yard per carry average. After early struggles, by the second half, that physical Panther defensive line was worn, and Jack Bicknell’s squad was able to impose their will and run away with the win. The group even cleaned up their penalties from a week ago at App State, recording just one false start all game long.


Player Grades:

  • Asim Richards: Offensive Grade (67.8) Run Block Grade (58.4) Pass Block Grade (88.3)

  • William Barnes: Offensive Grade (69.3) Run Block Grade (61.1) Pass Block Grade (85.1)

  • Jonathan Adorno: Offensive Grade (64.7) Run Block Grade (61.2) Pass Block Grade (80.4)

  • Corey Gaynor: Offensive Grade (61.5) Run Block Grade (56.9) Pass Block Grade (79.)

  • Ed Montilus: Offensive Grade (52.2) Run Block Grade (57.7) Pass Block Grade (35.3)


Defensive Line:

It was another uninspiring performance for the defensive line, as they continue to struggle to create constant pressure on the quarterback, let alone getting off blocks to make plays in the run game. Carolina allowed Georgia State to rush for 235 yards, on 54 carriers, which averages out to a 4.4 yard per carry average. Last week at South Carolina, Darren Grainger was just 7-29 passing, on Saturday he was an efficient 16-24, for 184 yards, and three touchdowns. Kaimon Rucker continues to make the most plays among the defensive line players, registering 6 total tackles, including half a sack, and 1.5 tackles for loss. Kevin Hester Jr had one of his best games as a Tar Heel, as he also had 6 total tackles in the game. Noah Taylor was able to build off his effort at App State, with 5 total tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Travis Shaw made his first real plays in a UNC uniform, registering 2 tackles in the win. For the game, Carolina only had 2 total sacks, and 6 tackles for loss, that’s just not going to be good enough as they get into ACC play soon. They need more from Raymond Vohasek and Desmond Evans for the defensive unit to make real strides on that side of the football.


Player Grades:

  • Kaimon Rucker: Defensive Grade (74.1) Run Defense (71.1) Pass Rush (62.5) Tackling (78.9) Coverage (61.2)

  • Travis Shaw: Defensive Grade (70.1) Run Defense (71.2) Pass Rush (58.1) Tackling (72.2)

  • Noah Taylor: Defensive Grade (68.8) Run Defense (69.7) Pass Rush (64.1) Tackling (81.6) Coverage (71.6)

  • Jahvaree Ritzie: Defensive Grade (67.0) Run Defense (71.4) Pass Rush (53.6) Tackling (49.8)

  • Jacolbe Cowan: Defensive Grade (66.2) Run Defense (60.0) Pass Rush (59.1)

  • Myles Murphy: Defensive Grade (65.9) Run Defense (65.9) Pass Rush (60.9) Tackling (50.6)

  • Des Evans: Defensive Grade (65.4) Run Defense (62.0) Pass Rush (56.3) Tackling (55.7) Coverage (61.2)

  • Kevin Hester Jr: Defensive Grade (64.5) Run Defense (64.1) Pass Rush (59.6) Tackling (76.0)

  • Ray Vohasek: Defensive Grade (57.7) Run Defense (50.6) Pass Rush (67.8) Tackling (71.9) Coverage (60.0)

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