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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC must exploit QB inconsistency

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The Tar Heel defense and secondary will have to step up for Boston College quarterback Chris Crane as they did against Notre Dame earlier this month.

More than most teams Boston College comes and goes with its quarterback.

The consistency of junior signalcaller Chris Crane — or lack thereof — could very well be the story of Saturday's matchup.

From game to game it's uncertain which version of Crane will show up to play — the one who has thrown multiple interceptions on three separate occasions" or the one who has accounted for 12 total touchdowns.

UNC is preparing for the latter.

""This kid's playing really well"" coach Butch Davis said of Crane. They throw the ball well; they know what they're doing.""

Crane has five passing scores" but most of his production comes from his feet where the junior has found paydirt seven times to lead BC in rushing touchdowns.

Crane and his hulking 6-foot-4-inch 239-lb. frame provide the Eagles' offense with another dimension in the red zone an area where UNC showed vulnerability against Virginia.

But that's assuming Crane can lead the Eagles there despite his propensity for throwing picks. In BC's victory against Virginia Tech last week" Crane threw three interceptions — part of five total turnovers by BC.

""I don't know how they did it with five turnovers" UNC quarterback Cameron Sexton said. It's difficult to win with turnovers" and we feel like that's a key to a game.""

The Tar Heel defense must be licking its chops in watching tape of the strong" but sometimes inaccurate arm of Crane.

For the season Crane has thrown nine picks in six games.

Compare that even to Sexton's stat line in 2006 when he played in only seven games and still only threw eight picks.

One thing that has hampered Crane more than most is pressure from opposing defenses. VT brought pressure all night last week and Crane couldn't get comfortable.

But pressure is one thing UNC has struggled to create all season. Even against pass-happy Notre Dame UNC only brought blitzes in the second half.

With or without the pressure Crane's stats still do not stack up well against North Carolina's secondary. The Tar Heels lead the nation in interceptions and ball-hawking safety Trimane Goddard has four himself.

The UNC secondary will be looking for some balls to snatch especially after not corralling any picks last week against Virginia.

While Boston College is a strong team overall UNC has an ideal defense to strike at the Eagles' Achilles' heel.



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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