On Fire: UNC Defense Ready For Rivalry Game With NC State

John ThomasCorrespondent INovember 27, 2009

EAST HARTFORD, CT - SEPTEMBER 12:  Bruce Carter #54 of the North Carolinia Tar Heels celebrates his sack with teammates Melvin Williams #10, Marvin Austin #9 and Quan Sturdivant #52 in the final minute of the game against the Connecticut Huskies on September 12, 2009 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Tar Heels defeated the Huskies 12-10.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images


The significance? This was last year's score between North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina.

It left a bitter taste in the mouth of the hometown Carolina fans.

In that game, the Tar Heels turned the ball over six times to the Wolfpack's zero turnovers. NC State quarterback Russell Wilson picked apart the usually stout UNC secondary for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

However, this is a new year for the 8-3 Tar Heels. They come into the game with the nation's 5th-ranked defense. Not only is their defense excellent, they are also on fire, having forced 10 turnovers combined in games against Miami and Boston College. four of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns.

North Carolina State comes into the rivalry game against the Heels 4-7, with two wins coming over FCS opponents Gardner-Webb and Murray State. The Wolfpack still have Russell Wilson though, possibly the best quarterback in the ACC. This year, Wilson has thrown for 2,768 yards and 27 touchdowns.

However, the turnover bug has bitten the Wolfpack. Since they opened ACC play against Wake Forest in Week 5, they have turned the ball over 22 times, 4th most among FBS teams. The Tar Heels have forced 28 turnovers this year, t-9th in the FBS.

Advantage Tar Heels.

Even though Carolina's offense ranks 112th in total yards, they have been able to win games. Why? Their defense scores for them. I look for the Tar Heels to force some turnovers, get a short field, and score some points.

In the end, yards don't matter, but points do. NC State will turn the ball over at least three times and that will be enough for Carolina to get the redemption they have been longing for since these two teams matched up last year.

Final score: UNC 27, NCST 10