Unacceptable, awful and disastrous — all these words have been used by the UNC football coaching staff to characterize the team's defensive play in its 46-42 loss to Georgia Tech.
Regressive, however, might be the most appropriate word to describe the downward trajectory of the UNC football team.
The Tar Heels will have a chance to clean up their execution and return to playing quality football this weekend when they host the Campbell Fighting Camels, who are currently ranked eighth of the 15 teams in the Coastal Athletic Association. Here are two things UNC must address to get its season back on track:
Closing out games and winning the fourth
Football is not a three-quarter game. However, the past two weeks North Carolina has played like it is, with the fourth quarter being an Achilles' heel for the Tar Heels.
After the 31-27 loss to Virginia, head coach Mack Brown spoke about top teams that struggled that week but ultimately found a way to finish out close games – like USC and Texas – and expressed concern about UNC’s inability to do the same and close games, even when leading.
Against Georgia Tech, UNC struggled with more of the same. North Carolina entered the final quarter leading by 11 after holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless in a stout third quarter showing. But that’s when it all came crashing down.
At the beginning of the fourth, Georgia Tech tore down the field in nine plays to make it a one-score game. The Tar Heels answered with a touchdown. Then, the Yellow Jackets responded with two.
UNC has been outscored by opponents 56 to 33 in the fourth quarter this season. Brown is trying to figure out why — and how.