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Can UNC’s pass defense respond vs. Hokies?

Before a 30-27 loss to Florida State on Thursday, North Carolina’s pass defense was ranked first nationally. But after allowing 395 passing yards to the Seminoles, the unit will be looking to rebound.

It might not be easy against Virginia Tech. The Hokies passing offense has taken off in recent weeks, although it took a step backward in a 28-23 loss at Georgia Tech on Oct. 17, when it failed to perk up until the fourth quarter.

The Hokies’ aerial offense has provided balance to an offense that has been a one-dimensional ground attack. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, in particular, had shown flashes of his development as a passer and developed a nice connection with some receivers.

Entering the Georgia Tech game, Taylor had completed 80 consecutive passes. Virginia Tech’s offense experienced a dramatic turnaround after Taylor led the Hokies to a last-gasp 16-15 win over Nebraska on Sept. 19 with a scoring possession highlighted by an 81-yard bomb. Since the start of that drive, Taylor had completed 68 percent of his passes, throwing for six touchdowns and no interceptions before facing the Yellow Jackets.

Against Georgia Tech’s porous defense, Taylor threw for 159 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, completing 10 of 14 passes. But he threw for 77 yards on five passes in the fourth quarter, as the Hokies offense struggled to move the ball.

North Carolina’s defense struggled in its most recent outing. It could not slow Florida State’s offense, ranked first in the Atlantic Coast Conference entering the game. Seminoles quarterback Christian Ponder carved up the Tar Heels' secondary. He completed 33 of 40 passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions.

While the Seminoles have displayed a more high-powered attack than Virginia Tech, the Tar Heels could have another challenge if the Hokies’ offense displays some of the bursts it showed recently.

By Mark Viera  |  October 24, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
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"Entering the Georgia Tech game, Taylor had completed 80 consecutive passes."

hmmmm, that's gotta be some sort of record, no??? ;-)

Posted by: 3tripleiii | October 25, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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