North Carolina Football: 11 Reasons Why the Tar Heels Will Beat NC State
Butch Davis has proved throughout his college coaching career that he is a great head coach, and last year was a perfect example.
The Tar Heels went through investigations and suspensions, starting at the beginning of the season, but still managed an 8-5 record.
They also started off 0-2, with heartbreaking losses to LSU and Georgia Tech 30-24.
Butch Davis rallied the troops together and went on an 8-3 run to finish the 2010 season, including a 30-27 double overtime victory against Tennessee at the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
One team that North Carolina has struggled with is North Carolina State. Last year's 29-25 defeat marked the fourth straight year that the Wolfpack have topped the Tar Heels.
This year, however, will be different and here is why.
No. 11: Tar Heels Are Due
It is kind of like when a batter goes to the plate on a 0-20 slump and you turn to your family member or friend and say, "He's got to be due, right?"
That is exactly what the Tar Heels are against NC State. They have lost four straight games to the Wolfpack and haven't defeated them in the Butch Davis era.
The Tar Heels have to be due, right?
No. 10: Talented Freshman
Usually, freshman don't make an immediate impact to their respective team, but the Tar Heels bring in an exciting group of guys that were ranked the 16th-best class in college football.
Highly touted incoming freshman:
T.J. Thorpe: Multiple positions
Kiaro Holts: OT
Travis Hughes: ILB
Travis Riley: RB
Eric Ebron: TE
Marquise Williams: QB
These players are just a few that could make an immediate impact in 2011.
No. 9: Casey Barth
Casey Barth has improved his kicking numbers in every season at North Carolina.
2008: 10-15 field goals (66.7 percent), 33-33 extra points
2009: 21-25 field goals (84 percent), 34-35 extra points
2010: 19-22 field goals (86.4 percent), 38-38 extra points
My 2011 prediction: 20-23 field goals and 34-34 extra points.
His 2010 numbers included going 4-4 against NC State last season. If the game between NC State and North Carolina comes down to a game-winning kick, I am confident that he will seal the deal.
No. 8: Road Warriors
The Tar Heels and the Wolfpack play November 5th at North Carolina State.
North Carolina has actually played NC State better on the road than at home in the Butch Davis Era. Last year was a bit different, losing 29-25 at home.
2007: Lost 31-27
2008: Lost 41-10
2009: Lost 28-27
2007 and 2009 were played on the road.
Other than his first season at the helm, Davis and his Tar Heels are 10-5 on the road, including a 4-1 record in 2010.
No. 7: Donte Paige-Moss
With the Tar Heels' secondary losing three starters, it will be necessary for the defense to provide more pressure up front.
Donte Paige-Moss is another outstanding defensive player that is a future NFL talent. He collected 49 tackles and seven sacks in his sophomore season with North Carolina. He lit up the Wolfpack in their meeting last season, collecting 10 tackles and two sacks.
The Tar Heels will ask more from Paige-Moss this season, and he should be able to deliver.
No. 6: Quinton Coples
Quinton Coples will be back for his senior season with the Tar Heels. He is coming off 59 tackles and 10 sacks in 2010.
Against Russell Wilson and the Wolfpack last season, Coples collected four tackles and a sack in a 29-25 defeat.
Coples should be able to get after new Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon time and time again on November 5th.
He is another first-round defensive talent that Butch Davis has brought to the program. We will be seeing Coples on Sundays in the near future.
No. 5: Bryn Renner
Bryn Renner will be the man taking over for T.J. Yates in 2011.
By the time November 5th comes around, fans should know what to expect from Renner. He will have his ups and downs just like every other young quarterback, but how will he respond?
He has only thrown two passes in his career, connecting on one for 14 yards.
In spring practice, Renner completed nine of 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Renner admitted that he will need to "dial down his energetic demeanor during games," which may be a hint that his interception rate could be high this season.
No. 4: Dwight Jones
Dwight Jones should be the go-to receiver for new quarterback Bryn Renner.
He collected 62 receptions for 946 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Jones broke out in 2010, increasing his catch total by 57 from 2009.
He also had some breakout performance.
Virginia: seven receptions for 198 yards and two TD
Florida State: eight receptions for 233 yards and one TD
Duke: 11 receptions for 121 yards
All three of these games were on the road and that is where North Carolina will be when they play North Carolina State.
No. 3: Ryan Houston
Ryan Houston missed all of the 2010 campaign because of investigations.
He will be back in 2011. However, he fractured his scapula during a scrimmage in mid June.
If Houston is able to come back to play in 2011, he should bring experience to their backfield. This would do wonders for Bryn Brenner who is young and inexperienced.
In 2009, Houston ran for 713 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2008, he ran for eight touchdowns.
He is their go-to guy in the redzone and he will need to be healthy in 2011.
No. 2: Butch Davis
Butch Davis is an excellent head coach in college football, sporting a 79-43 record.
When he came to the program in 2007, North Carolina was 3-9 the previous season. In the five years before his start, North Carolina was a combined 19-40 with only one bowl game to show for.
Davis has led the Tar Heels to a 28-23 record with three bowl game appearances. Also, his record is tainted from his 4-8 debut season in 2007.
Before Davis took the job at North Carolina, the program was going nowhere. Now he has turned the program into a contender every season.
No. 1: Russell Wilson Choose Baseball over Football
Russell Wilson has destroyed folks on the football field, especially the Tar Heels. He has thrown for eight TDs and one INT in three wins over the Tar Heels.
He has thrown for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns in three seasons with the Wolfpack.
NC State terminated Wilson's scholarship a few months ago because of his wish to play baseball at the next level.
He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies.
The Wolfpack will move forward with Mike Glennon, who is 33-52 with one TD and two INTs.
Russell Wilson continuously bailed the Wolfpack out on many occasions. Will Glennon be able to do that this season?