Thursday, September 11, 2008

Starting the Weekend: Game Fourteen: UNC @ Rutgers

This is our second look at Rutgers, but just our first look at North Carolina. We're expecting a pretty good matchup in New Jersey tonight.

Fairly charged up crowd as they get started in the shadows of the former Trade Centers, seven years after the attack on America. A nice pregame ceremony from the folks at Rutgers to remember those we lost seven years ago today. We certainly remember them tonight and it puts everything here in perspective.

Other games I'm hoping to watch this weekend. South Florida and Kansas tommorrow night, and then five games on Saturday. The five I'm looking to see...

Penn State at Syracuse - I've waited a long, long time for this and now we stink

Wisconsin at Fresno State - There aren't too many Big 10 teams that go to the Valley, so this could be interesting.

Ohio State at USC - It's the big one in everyone else's living room

Auburn at Mississippi State - I haven't really had the chance to watch Auburn yet, and I think they are flying under the radar a bit.

SMU at Texas Tech - Big battle in Texas, that they might need to get a new scoreboard for.

I'd like to actually watch Rice and Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech but they aren't on in this area.

Rutgers looked good on its first drive. They did fail to get in the endzone again, but they did look good moving the football and they capped it with the field goal.

The first quarter has now come to an end and Rutgers has to feel a lot like they did last time out. From a feel standpoint, they seem to be in control of this football game. But then you look up at the scoreboard and they are only ahead 3-0. Although, the numbers do indicate that that Carolina has run more plays.

The more I see Mike Teel, the more I'm convinced he isn't the type of quarterback who can take you to another level. He just makes too many bad decisions and when things in front of him aren't ideal, his bad decisions lead to mistakes. That one there was an interception and now Carolina has the ball in Rutgers territory. But faces a key third down.

Jay Wooten boots a field goal through from 43 yards and we're tied at three.

The game is very physical. A good job there by the Rutgers defense to stymie the UNC offense and hold them to 3 points after the turnover. So often we hear about turnovers leading to points, and that one definitely did. But we don't compliment the defense enough for preventing points from a turnover, and that time the Knights defense kept UNC from tacking on anything more than the field goal.

How bad have things gotten for the Syracuse program? I'm guessing they are the answer to the AFLAC trivia question tonight. The question of course was UNC has lost 20 straight games outside of North Carolina, when was their last win? My guess is in the Carrier Dome about five years ago. But they might have had one since that season opening win.

The Rutgers defense has spent a lot of time of the field. It caught up with them on that drive. Carolina pounded out a good touchdown drive to take a 10-3 drive. The Quarterback Yates had a wide open tight end for the score on a third down play from about 15 yards out. Looks like they confused the Rutgers secondary with the formation.

The UNC secondary has been hitting hard all night. And on that catch Tiquan Underwood was waiting to get hit after the 17 yard reception instead of looking to run.

That was the first drive that Rutgers has had any time of success offensively since the first drive. But they've again got to settle for the field goal and they've drawn within 10-6. It's a good football game as we get towards the intermission.

Ok, so their last win wasn't in Syracuse, it was on a night of big plays in the dessert in Arizona when they beat the Sun Devils. But its starting to looking like it might be tonight, the next time the question is asked. Yates to Brandon Tate for 67 yards on the first play after the kick and the Heels are on top 17-6 that quickly.

The first half is over, it's 17-6 UNC and the Knights leave the field to a cascade of boos. Guess the folks in Jersey don't know what's it's like to play someone other than Norfolk State.

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