The Tar Heels' highly anticipated home opener under the lights has arrived. And the match-up with the Badgers is one of those "winnable" games on what is for the most part a brutal 2005 slate of competition.
Carolina and Wisconsin are meeting for just the second time in school history on Saturday. UNC is 11-7-0 against teams in the Big Ten. The last time Carolina played a Big Ten opponent other than Wisconsin was in 1999 when UNC beat Indiana, 42-30, in Bloomington.
UNC quarterback Matt Baker and his deep and talented corps of receivers will look to take advantage of a questionable Badgers' secondary. However, running the ball may be another tough challenge for the Tar Heels as Wisconsin's run defense is allowing just 31.0 yards per game – fourth best in the country.
Much has been said about how the Tar Heels must try and slow down tailback Brian Calhoun, who is averaging 150 yards per game in two contests. Calhoun already has six rushing touchdowns to his credit.
If UNC can keep Calhoun and Wisconsin's offensive line from dictating the game tempo, then it may be able to force quarterback John Stocco into throwing passes he doesn't want to, and chip away at that lofty 193.3 passing rating he currently owns.
Carolina's improved special teams, especially its kick and punt coverage units will have to know where UW return specialist Brandon Williams is at all times. Williams is a big-play receiver as well.