Time: 12:30 p.m., Kenan Stadium Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.
TV/Radio: SNY, 710-WOR, 1450-AM, 97.5 FM, 88.7 WRSU
Series: Rutgers leads 3-2
Last meeting: Sept. 25, 2010: UNC won, 17-13
Coaches: Rutgers – Greg Schiano (11th season, 60-63); North Carolina – Everett Withers (1-0, as interim head coach)
- The Last Time in Chapel Hill. The theme among Rutgers plays is that "this game will define us." In 2006, the season-opening victory over the Tar Heels spearheaded a great season for the Scarlet Knights. A win over the Heels likely makes Rutgers undefeated before the start of Big East play. A loss going into a bye week could send the team in the opposite direction.
- Huggins vs. UNC.Rutgers fans and Carolina fans alike remember what five-star recruit Savon Huggins pulled in the St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) library last January. Revealing a Rutgers hat beneath a UNC hat, Huggins brought joy to Piscataway, but also sent a message to Chapel Hill, N.C. In his second college game, Huggins can expect a significant workload against the team that finished second for his services.
- Non-conference Challenge The Scarlet Knights face their toughest non-conference opponent today in the form of the Tar Heels. Schiano remarked that the UNC offensive line is as tough as the team will face all season and gave the Tar Heels glowing reviews all week leading up to the game.
On offense, North Carolina has tremendous size in the trenches and play-makers at each skill position.
The challenges begin with a hulking offensive line. The Tar Heels have three 6-foot-7 starters and have an average weight of 319 pounds, to just 261 for the starting defensive linemen at Rutgers.
Sophomore 6-foot-3 quarterback Bryn Renner turned heads across the country when he went 22-for-23 passing last week. With his one incompletion going for an interception, Renner did not have the ball hit the ground once against James Madison. The Rutgers defense is craftier and more talented than JMU, which makes it unlikely for Renner to replicate is week 1 performance.
UNC's receivers are not as tough as Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate, who torched Rutgers in 2008, but still present problems. Behind an experienced offensive line, stopping the double-headed attack of Ryan Houston and Giovani Bernard will be tough for the Scarlet Knights.
Houston is the power back and Bernard has speed and quickness. At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Houston is the kind of hard runner that defenders do not look forward to tackling.
|Quarterback Bryn Renner|
Linebacker Kevin Riddick has 21 career starts. He and linebacker Zack Brown combined for 10 tackles and three TFLs in week 1.
2. Special teams excellence. Losing Mason Robinson hurts, but it does not have to be devastating. Whether it ends up being Sanu, or some combination of receivers, punt return and punt block are game-changers for the Scarlet Knights. If the opportunity arises, Rutgers cannot miss two clear paths to the punter like it did against N.C. Central.
3. Let Frank be Frank. It is time to see what Frank Cignetti can do. There can be no holding back in the play-calling against a defense as experienced and athletic as UNC. Spread the ball, draw up plays to protect Dodd and keep the Heels on their toes.
2. Protect Renner. The Rutgers defense, especially with Schiano calling plays, is a different animal from James Madison. Renner has not faced a defense like Rutgers.
3. Score early. UNC let Rutgers get on top last season and it took a lot of fighting to re-take the lead. If the Tar Heels can score first, it will be tough for Rutgers to battle back on the road.
A delayed blitz is executed exactly how it sounds. Instead of instantly sending a defender at/around the offensive line to get to the quarterback, he waits for blocks to develop and then finds a hole to get through for a sack.
Against N.C. Central, middle linebacker David Milewski executed a delayed blitz. By first sending Steve Beauharnais and Wayne Warren at the right side of the offensive line, no one was left to block Milewski, who stripped the quarterback and allowed Scott Vallone to recover the fumble in the end zone.