Preview: North Carolina at Baylor

When: 5:30 PM ET, Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Where: Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida




RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL STORYLINES

1. North Carolina goes after its school-record 12th victory of the season when it takes on injury-plagued Baylor at the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando, Fla. The No. 10 Tar Heels lost their opener to South Carolina and won 11 consecutive games before dropping the ACC Championship game 45-37 against No. 1 Clemson. North Carolina has won 11 contests for the fourth time (also 1972, 1980 and 1997) and faces the No. 17 Bears, who lost three of the last four games.

2. Four different quarterbacks have been under center this season for Baylor and freshman Jarrett Stidham (broken ankle) is not expected to be ready, which will hand the start to Chris Johnson. The sophomore won’t be able to look in the direction of Biletnikoff Award winner Corey Coleman (74 receptions, 1,363 yards and a nation-leading 20 touchdowns), who has been ruled out due to a sports hernia. Coach Art Briles also announced that running back Shock Linwood (1,329 yards rushing, 10 TDs) would not play against North Carolina due to a broken foot.

3. There’s no doubt who will be at the helm for North Carolina as senior quarterback Marquise Williams attempts to end his final campaign with another strong performance. Williams is one of five ACC players in history to accumulate more than 10,000 yards of offense and threw 12 of his 21 touchdown passes this season in the last six games while suffering only two interceptions in that span. The 6-2, 225-pound Williams has also rushed for 867 yards and 11 scores in 2015, and has been responsible for a school-record 94 touchdowns in his career.

TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Baylor –1.5

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (11-2, 8-0 ACC): Sophomore running back Elijah Hood is one of the biggest reasons the Tar Heels are having one of their best years, rushing for 1,345 yards and 17 touchdowns. With All-American guard Landon Turner leading the way, Hood and Williams have averaged more than six yards per carry while senior Quinshad Davis is one reception away from 200 in his career. North Carolina is averaging 40.9 points with a school-record 532 and its defense (22.6 against) is much improved from 2014, when it allowed 39 points and almost 500 yards per contest.

ABOUT BAYLOR (9-3, 6-3 Big 12): The Bears lead the nation in scoring (48.0) and total offense (604.6 yards) despite losing starting quarterback Seth Russell (2,104 yards, 29 TD passes) in the seventh game with a neck injury. Stidham completed 68.8 percent of his passes (12 scores, two interceptions) and Johnson has thrown only 38 times while KD Cannon (46 catches, 828 yards, six TDs) and Jay Lee (36, 726, eight) still give the Bears two top targets without Coleman. Johnny Jefferson, who rushed for 158 yards in the regular-season finale against Texas and has 701 overall, will lead the running attack with Linwood out.



PREDICTION: North Carolina 41, Baylor 28

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
North Carolina 11-2 L1 40.9 22.6 7-0 4-2 11-2 0-0 8-1
Baylor 9-3 L2 48.0 27.5 4-2 5-1 4-3 0-0 6-3

Last Meeting

North Carolina Baylor
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No Previous Meeting.

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UNC N/A
BAY N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UNC N/A
BAY N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UNC N/A
BAY N/A
TDs Player TD
UNC N/A
BAY N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UNC M. Williams 61.3 2825 21 9
BAY S. Russell 59.5 2104 29 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UNC E. Hood 205 1345 6.6 17
BAY S. Linwood 196 1329 6.8 10
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UNC M. Hollins 28 711 25.4 8
BAY C. Coleman 74 1363 18.4 20
TDs Player TD
UNC E. Hood 17
BAY C. Coleman 20

Quickchart Matchup

North Carolina Off vs  Baylor Def
486.9 yards
389 yards
5.9 yards/rush
3.6 yards/rush
9.2 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt
Baylor Off vs  North Carolina Def
604.6 yards
411.3 yards
5.7 yards/rush
4.8 yards/rush
9.8 yards/attempt
6.1 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

North Carolina Overall Baylor
11-2-0 W/L 9-3-0
8-5-0 ATS 5-6-0
7-6-0 O/U 7-5-0
40.9 Pts For 48.0
22.6 Pts Against 27.5
North Carolina A/H Baylor
4-2 W/L 4-2
3-3-0 ATS 2-3-0
3-3-0 O/U 4-2-0
31.5 Pts For 49.0
28.8 Pts Against 30.0
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