First look: UNC Tar Heels

East Carolina football will take it on the road for its first away game of the season. Inside ECU Sports has a first look at UNC.

Coming off of a its bye week with a 2-1 record, East Carolina football returns to action at Kenan Memorial Stadium Saturday against the UNC Tar Heels. This is the first of three-straight road games for the Pirates.

In the overall series between the schools, UNC has dominated. The Tar Heels currently lead 12-2-1. It's also important to note ECU hasn't won in Chapel Hill in nearly 40 years and the last meeting was a poor offensive showing for the Pirates.

Last year on this exact date (Sept. 22) ECU went into Chapel Hill and were shown the door by the Tar Heels in a game that UNC dominated 27-6.

It's safe to say both teams are familiar with each other.

Adding to the familiarity, UNC's head coach Larry Fedora has known what it takes to beat a Ruffin McNeill led football team since his days in Conference USA. Fedora led Southern Miss to the 2011 Conference USA championship – that same season the Golden Eagles beat ECU 48-28.

UNC and ECU are both are licking their wounds from recent losses in winnable games. The Tar Heels lost their ACC opener yesterday at Georgia Tech (28-20), while ECU lost to an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in Virginia Tech (15-10) a week ago.

Stagnant offenses from both ECU and UNC in those games were what ultimately decided it, both were shutout in the second half.

The Pirates at 2-1 are still looking for a statement win against an ACC team and the Tar Heels, at 1-2, are trying to get the season back on track at .500.

As good as ECU's defense looked against Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels are going to put up points at home. Turnovers and penalties, like the ones from the Virginia Tech game, will kill ECU's chances of a win.

The Pirates will have to protect the ball and keep it away from a potent UNC offense. Last game Tar Heel quarterback Bryn Renner passed, now Houston Texan backup T.J. Yates, for most touchdown passes in UNC history.

Coming off of a bye week should give ECU the edge as far as rest goes, but there's no question UNC will be the toughest opponent the Pirates have faced yet.

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