Key Stats for UNC: Everything revolves around Heisman Trophy candidate QB Sam Howell. The North Carolina native threw for over 3,500 yards with 30 TDs last season. Howell engineered an offense that led the ACC, averaging 537 yards per game. In two seasons, he has thrown nearly 70 touchdowns with only 14 interceptions in 770 attempts.
On defense, the Tarheels ranked fifth in the league last year giving up just north of 400 yards per outing. LB Tomon Fox is the leader of that unit for the Tarheels. The Lawrenceville, Georgia native is taking advantage of the NCAA rule granting players an additional year of eligibility as he returns for his sixth season in Chapel Hill. That extra year should afford Fox the opportunity to move past UNC legend Lawrence Taylor for sacks in a career. Right now, Fox is tied for fifth with Taylor on the all-time list for career sacks with 21. Greg Ellis has the UNC school record with 32.5 sacks.
North Carolina has a challenge to open the season as the Tarheels will travel to Coastal Division rival Virginia Tech on Friday, September 3rd.