UNC Ready to Rebound Against Louisville
By Stuart Barefoot
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North Carolina (1-1) is hoping to rebound from last week's one-point loss.
The good news for North Carolina is that Bryn Renner didn’t have a concussion last week. According to both Renner and Larry Fedora, he just got the wind knocked out of him. Now that that issue is cleared up, UNC has to go to Louisville to take on the 19th-ranked Cardinals. The Tar Heels are coming off a disappointing 28-27 loss to Wake Forest last week, falling to 1-1 on the year, while Louisville downed Missouri State 35-7 to improve their record to 2-0.
With Renner’s alleged concussion seemingly in the clear, the other main concern for UNC still remains: Will Gio Bernard play? Carolina fans will just have to be patient, since Fedora does not release injury reports. However, according to a story from the Durham Herald-Sun, Bernard did practice this past week, unlike the week before the Wake game. Maybe that will provide some hope for the Tar Heel faithful.
When the two teams met last year, the Heels won 14-7, in a game that saw little offense from either team. That is not expected to be the case this year. By now, you hopefully are aware of the UNC offense and the havoc they can cause. Provided that they are healthy, the chance of any team holding them to 14 points is pretty slim. A year ago, Teddy Bridgewater was making just his second start of his career. Now he has more than 2,000 yards, 12 starts and a Big East Rookie of the Year Award under his belt. This season, he’s completed 81 percent of his passes (49-60) and has two touchdowns and no interceptions, while amassing 576 yards.
Bridgewater has a whole fleet of receivers at his disposal. While no single Cardinal has more than 92 receiving yards, 11 different players have caught at least one pass this year. Louisville uses two primary players in their backfield. Jeremy Wright has rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns, and Senorise Perry has 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Louisville has been tough on the two teams they’ve played thus far. They held Kentucky to 14 points in their season opener, and Missouri State to seven last week. Safety Calvin Pryor leads the team with 17 tackles, and fellow safety Hakeem Smith is a close second with 16.
North Carolina can find redemption in a big way on Saturday. When firing on all cylinders, they are one of the toughest teams to beat. Defensively, they will have to stop the Cardinal running game and keep track of the army of receivers that Louisville uses. On the offensive side of the ball, if Renner and Bernard are healthy and ready to go, it won’t be a fun day for Louisville’s defense.