Last night, Carolina fans witnessed what happens when a few idiots on their team make themselves ineligible for play. The disgraceful actions of thirteen players, including eight starters, decimated the Tar Heels' defense and left vulnerable for the outset, losing 30-24 to the LSU Tigers at the Georgia Dome last night. Although the Tar Heels gave it a real go at the end of the second half, coming within a few seconds of tying the game 30 as T.J. Yates threw to TE Zac Pianalto in the end zone as time expired, it was too little, too late. Here I will take a look at some of the things I saw last night.
Poor Execution, Numerous Errors Cost Offense Dearly
The Carolina offense struggled from the outset to get a rhythm, as the Tar Heels fumbled the ball and lost possession twice in a little over two minutes. This gave LSU plenty of opportunity to get ahead, although the Tigers managed only a touchdown after one quarter to lead 7-0 after the first fifteen. Following these errors, the Tar Heels struggled mightily in the first half, managing only ten point by halftime as the offense failed to find its footing while the Tigers jumped out to a twenty-point lead. T.J. Yates eventually found some of the right stuff, finish the game going 28-for-46 with 412 yards and three touchdowns.
Decimated Defense Lets LSU Offense Get Ahead
After a total of thirteen players were either ruled ineligible or withheld, the Carolina defense was left shorthanded, and it showed throughout the first half. The defense struggled to contain the LSU offense, which proceed to score 30 points in the first half to lead 30-10 at the half. They eventually stepped it up in the second half, holding LSU scoreless and forcing a fumble late in the 4th quarter to set up UNC for the final drive which could have won them the game. Like the final drive, it was too late, but the defense put up a good fight when absolutely necessary, despite being shorthanded.
With the NCAA's ongoing investigations, as well the university's own findings, we'll have to wait and see what becomes of the Tar Heel defense. If Butch Davis can rebuild around this core group of guys, we may be able to salvage some of this already jeopardized season. If the offense can minimize errors and increase efficiency at the same time, the Tar Heels may live to contend. It will certainly be a very interesting season.