I think the biggest key to this game has to be attacking North Carolina quarterback Mike Paulus. Paulus will be making his first start against the Hurricanes after starting quarterback T.J. Yates went down with a serious leg injury. The Hurricanes must put constant pressure on Paulus and give him fits in order to put the offense in a good position and to put the burden off of Robert Marve and co. Paulus was a highly touted recruit out of high school, but he has limited experience and didn't look particularly strong last week when he replaced Yates. If the Hurricanes are going to pressure Paulus, they must be able to do so with their front four. While the ‘Canes have been putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they have had to blitz quite often to do so, leaving the defensive backs in soft coverage and resulting in somewhat of a break down in pass defense at times. If the ‘Canes can get some more production out of their d-line and limit the amount of times they need to aggressively blitz, then they should be in good shape.
1- Pressure the UNC quarterback.
North Carolina's offense is simply not the same without starting quarterback T.J. Yates, especially if the fourth quarter of last week's Virginia Tech game is any indication. The Tar Heels do, however, have some very talented wide receivers who are over 6-feet. The UM secondary has struggled in the last two games with a couple big receivers in Florida's Louis Murphy and Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller. They struggled when the front seven wasn't getting pressure on the quarterback. If UNC's new quarterback has time, he'll look a lot better than he should thanks to having two receivers like Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks. If the Canes can apply constant pressure, it could be a very long afternoon for the UNC offense.
2- Establish the running game.
From the very first play of last Saturday's game when Graig Cooper went for eight yards right up the middle, the Canes were able to control the line of scrimmage by running the football well. In doing so, it opened up some big play opportunities in the passing game. That won't be any different in this game. If the Canes can get the running game going early, it'll open up big play opportunities. If they cant get the run going, Robert Marve might have a hard time finding open receivers against a UNC defense that has seven interceptions already in its first three games.