At the end of the game the scoreboard certainly didn't reflect a good effort from the BC defense. If you watched the game though then you'd know that the 34 points scored by North Carolina wasn't nearly as ugly as it seemed.
The first series of the game was an omen of how the rest of the game was going to go for BC. The BC offense turned the ball over on the second play of the game, a rare fumble by Andre Williams. That turnover was quickly turned into points. On 3rd-and-6, UNC quarterback Bryn Renner found wide receiver Ryan Switzer, who beat Manny Asprilla on a post pattern in the left corner of the end zone for a 13 yard touchdown that put the Tar Heels up 6-0.
The BC defense settled down after the quick score by holding the Tar Heels to two straight 3-and-outs. The highlights came on the second of the two drives when Kaleb Ramsey made an inside rush move on the tackle and sacked Renner. That play was followed up by linebacker Steven Daniels absolutely lighting up UNC running back Khris Francis on third down.
The momentum of the game seemed to be in BC's favor. That was until the Tar Heels went on a back-breaking 15-play 81 yard drive. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the drive was that UNC rushed for 59 yards. The Tar Heels came in with the worst ranked rushing offense in the ACC averaging just a hair over 100 yards per game, but they were able to run it all over BC on that drive. The BC linebackers really struggled shaking off blocks on that drive which led to the go ahead 13-7 score.
"Screens and quarterback draws were big plays in that game," said Steve Addazio."Some of those big plays led to an in-balance in field position. The one time we had that good field position we gave away the points because we took a sack which we didn't need to take and we took it."
The screens Addazio referred to were exposed on the UNC's touchdown drive at the end of the first half. The biggest of them went for 35 yards on a 2nd-and-8 from the BC-45 line. It was a perfectly timed play call by UNC offensive coordinator Blake Anderson. BC sent KPL in on a blitz which took him out of play with three other defensive linemen who were rushing the quarterback. Speaking of the QB, Renner made a beautiful play by first looking to the left for future NFL tight end Eric Ebron, which sent BC linebacker Steele Divitto running to the far side of the field. After Renner looked off Ebron, the offensive line had moved into perfect position to lead the way for receiver Bug Howard, and Renner hit Howard with a perfect screen pass. BC linebacker Steven Daniels was out of position on the play, so Howard and his O-Line had easy access down the right sideline against the BC secondary. The drive ended with another pass to Bug Howard which saw Sean Sylvia get ejected for a targeting penalty.
"The rules were put in for the right reasons for player safety. They reviewed it that's what they saw. I'm not going to comment on it. Did it hurt us? Yes," said Addazio.
The loss of Sylvia certainly left BC shorthanded for the rest of the game. True freshman Matt Milano was forced into significant action.
The BC defense really hung tough after the loss of Sylvia, allowing 4.7 yards per play, which was less than the 5.7 yards per play allowed with Sylvia in the game. It's easy to forget that UNC was only able to muster 22 yards of offense on its first three series of the second half. The BC defense just ran out of gas though and eventually allowed a touchdown at the end of the third quarter. At that point it felt like the game was over.
"To be honest they got fatigued," said Addazio of his defense after the game.
Despite allowing 34 points, the BC staff can probably live with defensive effort that it got on the road on Saturday.