Russell Athletic Bowl - Baylor vs. North Carolina GameDay

The 9-3 Baylor Bears and the 11-2 North Carolina Tar Heels square off Tuesday afternoon in Orlando at the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Tuesday afternoon, the Baylor Bears and the North Carolina Tar Heels face off in the Russell Athletic Bowl.  Both teams are hoping for a similar springboard that the 2014 participants experienced, with both Oklahoma and Clemson following up their Russell invitations with a spot in the 2015 College Football Playoff.  

Media Information

18/19/17 BAYLOR (9-3, 6-3) vs. 10/11/10 North Carolina (11-2, 8-0)

Date Tuesday, Dec. 29 | 4:30 p.m. CT
Location Orlando, Fla. | Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium
TV ESPN
Talent
Mike Patrick (pxp), Ed Cunningham (analyst), 
Jerry Punch (reporter)
Radio ESPN Central Texas | Sirius/XM 80/80
Online Audio Listen Online
Live Stats Gametracker
Ticket Information Purchase Tickets
Game Notes Baylor Notes | UNC Notes

Statistical Comparison

Both the Baylor offense and Tar Heel defense are best at explosive plays.  Baylor has seen a drastic drop in this area though with the move to 3rd string quarterback Chris Johnson.  The Tar Heels though are elite at preventing big plays, only allowing 10 plays all season of longer than 40 yards.  The Bears have generated 29 such plays, the third most in FBS.  This is an improving UNC defense, that still struggles with power running attacks, especially later in games.  Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik has turned the defense around, taking a poor unit in 2014 to above average in 2015.  

   When Baylor has the Ball 

 

Baylor
Rank
UNC
Rank
AVG
Explosiveness
1.39 13 1.08 3 1.26
Efficiency
49.40% 8 44.90% 100 40.30%
Finishing Drives
5.65 2 3.82 13 4.65
Rushing S&P+
108.9 36 88.50 106 100
Rushing Success Rate
50.40% 9 47.40% 114 42.30%
Passing S&P+
132.1 6 100.5 65 52
Passing Success Rate
47.90% 14 41.60% 73 40.30%

The Tar Heel attack is a suped up version of what the Bears have seen in the past from Kansas State, just with a more aggressive play caller. They are a running team, who takes shots down the field when the defense starts to focus too much on the running threats.  They do everything well on offense, just at a much slower tempo than traditional spread teams.  

 When UNC has the Ball

 
Baylor
Rank
UNC
Rank
AVG
Explosiveness
1.21 47 1.47 3 1.26
Efficiency
37.80% 30 46.00 22 40.30%
Finishing Drives
4.85 87 5.7 24 4.65
Rushing S&P+
122.6 8 116.1 15 100
Rushing Success Rate
39.3% 44 48.20% 15 42.30%
Passing S&P+
110.0 34 120.90 23 100
Passing Success Rate
35.70% 26 43.50% 43 40.30%

TWEETS!

https://twitter.com/BaylorVisionHD/status/681570110469898241

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https://twitter.com/RussellAthBowl/status/681522724477472768

https://twitter.com/JeffEquipBU/status/681172719220723712

https://twitter.com/JeffEquipBU/status/681562089396289536


Baylor vs. North Carolina in Russell Athletic Bowl

The 9-3 Baylor Bears travel to Orlando Florida to take on the 11-2 North Carolina Tar Heels on December 29th in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

This isn't the game either team really wanted going into the last week of the season.  Baylor with a win over 4-7 Texas would advance to the Sugar Bowl, their 3rd New Years' Day Bowl game in a row.  North Carolina had a chance for a playoff spot with an upset win over top ranked Clemson.  With both teams losing, they get to face off against each other, both looking for a happy ending to seasons that had very high hopes. The Bears enter the game as a shell of the offensive power that dominated the first few months of the season.  Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham are both out for the game, with Corey Coleman and Shock Linwood also joining them on the sidelines. That is a lot to replace especially against a very strong offense that should score points.  This should not be a defensive battle, if Baylor's reserves can keep the pace at least.  

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