CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina (1-2, 1-1 ACC) and Utah (3-1, 1-1 MWC) are set for a non-conference battle Saturday at 1:35 p.m. Stay tuned to Inside Carolina for a full post-game report from Kenan Stadium...
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IC's Game Week Coverage Recap
Tate Makes Haste
Edwards Named ACC Back of the Week
Tuesday: John Bunting PC Quotes + Audio
Davis: Less Is More
Mason: Whatever The Team Needs
Meet The Utes
The Quiet Corner
Bunting Post-Practice Quotes + Audio
Bunting Radio Show Quotes
Defensive team leader Tommy Richardson doesn't want to talk much about ‘payback.' But you can tell it's there. He just cringes a little bit and bites his lip when he's asked to remember a night last year in Salt Lake City when the UNC defense surrendered a school record 669 yards.
In a game of word association, Richardson described the Utah offense as "proficient."
"They do what they do and they do it well," he said. "Just like Wisconsin; they do what they do and they do it well. We grind with them and we grind with them…and we're going to grind with this team as well."
However, as hungry as the Tar Heels are to exact some home cooking on Utah this Saturday, Richardson says picking up another win is the team's chief motivating factor.
The Tar Heels haven't won back to back games since defeating Wake Forest and Duke in succession near the end of last season.
"We're starving for a string of victories here," Richardson said. "This defense knows it can play so much better. We gave up 300 yards to N.C. State when we probably could have kept them to about 200 yards or sub-200. We know we can play so much better. The coaches constantly strive for us to be better. But we get after each other as well."
QUOTABLE: John Bunting
"Utah is still scoring a ton of points and they're very talented on defense. They're offensive scheme is pretty unique, and quite frankly they took us apart last year after the middle of the second quarter. I'm hoping we compete a heck of a lot better this year or we'll have the same type of result. I expect us to be in the ballgame in the fourth quarter. We have to play much better on special teams. We're not going to beat anybody playing the way we played last week on special teams."
Utah leads the series 1-0-0. This is the first meeting between the two teams in Chapel Hill.
First-year Utes coach Kyle Whittingham is 3-1-0 as a head coach. John Bunting is 20-32-0 in his fifth season at UNC, and 58-46-2 overall.
The Tar Heels are 7-11-0 in non-conference games under John Bunting.
Last year in Salt Lake City, Utah defeated Carolina 46-16 in the first ever meeting between the two schools. Utes quarterback Alex Smith threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, tallying 341 yards passing. UNC's Madison Hedgecock rushed for a pair of touchdowns and Matt Baker was 6-for-13 for 54 yards and an interception in limited service.
Baker, who threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns in the Tar Heels' 31-24 win at N.C. State last Saturday, is ranked second in the ACC in total offense (246.7), passing yardage (246.0) and first in yards per completion (15.7).
Jarwarski Pollock is nine catches shy of becoming UNC's all-time receptions leader.
UNC's schedule is ranked as the nation's sixth-toughest by Sagarin this week. Carolina's next five opponents are a combined 13-4.
North Carolina allowed just 13 yards rushing to N.C. State last week and is giving up 100.3, while Utah is averaging 182.3 rushing yards per game.
The Tar Heels are ranked 50th in the nation this week in total defense allowing 349.7 yards per game. Their rushing defense is 31st. Utah is 31st in total offense (432.5) and 59th in total defense (362.5).