For the fourth straight season, the Tar Heels defeated the Duke Blue Devils as Mack Brown’s dominance over Duke continued since Brown returned to Chapel Hill. In a wild back-and-forth contest, UNC outlasted Duke, 38-35, as Drake Maye made one more play than Duke’s Riley Leonard. Carolina is now 4-0 in road games this season and now sits at 6-1 overall, while being 3-0 in ACC play, as the Tar Heels have emerged as the favorites to represent the ACC Coastal in the ACC Championship game later this year. While the win was nice, there were some issues on both trench units, as Carolina is still seeking consistency from its offensive and defensive lines:
Carolina may have amassed 536 yards of total offense, but the offensive line was leaky at times, allowing 3 sacks, and 25 total pressures. Carolina was without William Barnes at LG, and that forced Jonathan Adorno into the starting lineup. While Adorno held his own better this time around as opposed to Georgia State, it appears anytime that a starting offensive lineman misses time, there is a significant change in play, which shouldn’t be happening in Year 4, with a Hall of Fame head coach. Carolina ran the ball to the tune of 156 yards on 35 carries, which equals out to 4.5 yards per carry. While Maye was the leading rusher with 70 yards, it was nice to see Phil Longo stay committed to the rushing attack, as it did allow Carolina to start to wear down the Duke front. Hopefully, with a week off, the line can return to full strength for Pittsburgh, as the Heels will continue their push to Charlotte.
Spencer Rolland: Offensive Grade (71.0) Run Block (65.8) Pass Block (75.7)
Asim Richards: Offensive Grade (64.8) Run Block (56.2) Pass Block (75.7)
Jonathan Adorno: Offensive Grade (56.1) Run Block (54.0) Pass Block (72.6)
Corey Gaynor: Offensive Grade (63.5) Run Block (63.3) Pass Block (59.5)
Ed Montilus: Offensive Grade (52.5) Run Block (48.7) Pass Block (52.6)
The Tar Heels really struggled to generate much of a pass rush in Durham, as they registered only one sack of Riley Leonard. After back-to-back weeks of setting the edge in a respective manner, they took a step back as Duke rushed for 297 yards and 7.1 yards per rush. With that, the tackling was poor, and the Tar Heel defense we had seen the first month or so of the season, was back in full force. Jahvaree Ritzie had a nice game individually, registering six total tackles, as Kevin Hester Jr recorded 5 himself. It’s going to take this unit to play at a consistently higher level for this defense to take steps forward, if not it might be the consequence of Carolina not making it to the ACC title game.
Noah Taylor: Defensive Grade (70.5) Run Defense (661.) Tackling (46.5) Pass Rush (68.0) Coverage (65.7)
Kaimon Rucker: Defensive Grade (70.4) Run Defense (57.9) Pass Rush (73.7)
Kevin Hester Jr: Defensive Grade (70.2) Run Defense (70.8) Tackling (72.4) Pass Rush (61.9) Coverage (60.0)
Desmond Evans: Defensive Grade (68.3) Run Defense (67.5) Tackling (78.0) Pass Rush (54.9) Coverage (62.6)
Myles Murphy: Defensive Grade (64.8) Run Defense (60.3) Tackling (24.1) Pass Rush (68.2)
Jahvaree Ritzie: Defensive Grade (60.4) Run Defense (59.1) Tackling (75.5) Pass Rush (59.3) Coverage (60.0)