CHARLOTTE -- Saturday's game between North Carolina and Pittsburgh marks the second straight year that UNC has played its bowl game in Charlotte and the Mieneke Car Care Bowl.
But it will be a completely different team and matchup.
The Tar Heels bring a stiffling defense (ranked sixth nationally in total defense) and a pounding running game behind bruising tailback Ryan Houston. Gone is the high-flying Hakeem Nicks who almost took UNC to victory in 2008. It's a more physical team, and UNC will need to be physical.
The opponent is Pittsburgh, the third-place team from the Big East. The Panthers faltered down the stretch of their season, losing to both West Virginia and Cincinnati, the two teams ahead of them in the final conference standings.
But Pittsburgh brings a unique set of challenges, namely Dion Lewis. The freshman tailback is third in the nation in rushing yards per game with 136. He is the best single back UNC faces this season -- and Saturday Quan Sturdivant, Bruce Carter and Marvin Austin will have their swan song in attempting to stop or slow Lewis down.