Preview: The Citadel at North Carolina

When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, November 19, 2016
Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina


While a chance to play in the ACC championship game appears to have fallen by the wayside, No. 24 North Carolina's season is far from over as it hosts FCS member The Citadel on Saturday in a non-conference game. The Tar Heels dropped 11 places in the polls, tied for the most of any team last week, after losing at Duke, but games with the undefeated Bulldogs and in-state rival North Carolina State remain as do the hopes for a Virginia Tech loss.

The Tar Heels led 14-0 and 21-14 behind three Mitch Trubisky touchdown passes, but couldn't hold on against Duke in the face of what coach Larry Fedora called "a ton of glaring mistakes." The problem wasn't so much missed tackles, but being out of position to make those tackles, something that could haunt North Carolina this week against the triple-option attack of The Citadel, which closes its season against an opponent far better than anything it has faced this season. The Bulldogs, who are ranked sixth in the FCS coaches poll, are 10-0 in their first season under coach Brent Thompson behind a potent running attack, which has gained 3,599 yards this season and 8,109 over the last two seasons. The Tar Heels counter with a balanced attack led by Trubisky and Elijah Hood that should challenge a defense that has allowed 30 or more points only once.
 
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra

ABOUT THE CITADEL (10-0): The Bulldogs surprisingly do not have a 1,000-yard rusher, but instead rely on a slew of runners led by senior Tyler Renew, who leads the team in carries (202) and yards (938). Cam Jackson, Reggie Williams and Dominique Allen have each gained better than 558 yards on the season and Rod Johnson and Jordan Black have added a combined nine touchdowns to the Bulldog's 31 on the ground this season. Allen takes most of the snaps under center, but the Bulldogs have attempted only 96 passes on the season, connecting on 39 for 673 yards and five touchdowns. 
 
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (7-3): The Citadel has shown a propensity to give up long gains through the air, which should suit the talents of Trubisky, who is fourth in the nation in completion percentage at 70.6 percent. The Tar Heels average 12 yards per catch, which combined with the Bulldog's average of 11.7 yards sets up for a big day for the likes of Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard, Mack Hollins and the rest of the receiving corps. The Tar Heels could elect to win it on the ground behind Hood and T.J. Logan, each of whom have averaged just less than six yards per rush while combining for 15 rushing touchdowns.

EXTRA POINTS

1. North Carolina, which has won 10 of its last 11 games at home, has won eight straight against FCS teams since a 1999 loss to Furman. 

2. The Tar Heels have won all four meetings with the Bulldogs by an average of 30.5 points, including 40-6 in 2009. 

3. The Bulldogs are 8-48 all-time against FBS teams with all the wins coming prior to 1993, except for last season's 23-22 victory over South Carolina.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 41, The Citadel 16

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
The Citadel 10-0 W10 30.7 18.8 5-0 5-0 8-0 0-0 8-0
North Carolina 7-3 L1 33.5 26.4 3-2 4-1 6-2 0-0 5-2

Last Meeting

The Citadel North Carolina
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/5/09 CIT 6 UNC 40 153 30 123 374 260 114

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
CIT N/A
UNC T. Yates 45.0 114 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
CIT N/A
UNC S. Draughn 20 118 5.9 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
CIT N/A
UNC G. Little 2 31 15.5 1
TDs Player TD
CIT N/A
UNC R. Houston 2
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
CIT N/A
UNC M. Trubisky 70.6 3004 22 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
CIT N/A
UNC E. Hood 121 719 5.9 8
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
CIT N/A
UNC R. Switzer 74 763 10.3 3
TDs Player TD
CIT N/A
UNC T. Logan 10

Quickchart Matchup

The Citadel Off vs  North Carolina Def
0 yards
415.9 yards
0 yards/rush
4.5 yards/rush
7.1 yards/attempt
North Carolina Off vs  The Citadel Def
454 yards
0 yards
4.8 yards/rush
8.5 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

The Citadel Overall North Carolina
10-0-0 W/L 7-3-0
0-0-0 ATS 6-4-0
0-0-0 O/U 4-6-0
30.7 Pts For 33.5
18.8 Pts Against 26.4
The Citadel A/H North Carolina
5-0 W/L 3-2
0-0-0 ATS 2-3-0
0-0-0 O/U 3-2-0
29.2 Pts For 33.6
20.4 Pts Against 30.2