GAME RECAP: UNC 34, PITT 27

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Won their fifth consecutive game today against the Pittsburgh Panthers giving them a .500 record for the season.

The game opened up with the Pittsburgh Panthers receiving the kick off and Lafayette Pitt made a strong beginning.  Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage kept nailing his throws down the field making it to inside the 10 yard line.

Carolina defense stepped up the defense and didn’t give up the field, forcing Pittsburgh to take a 28 yard field goal. 0-3

UNC didn’t get the same momentum off the first drive as many people were expecting.  Their drive only gained 2 yards before the Tar Heels punted the ball back to the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s second drive once again showed the power of running back James Conner when mixed with Tom Savage.  The Panthers drove the ball 61 yards down the field until Kareem Martin came in with a sack forcing a fumble from Savage.

UNC’s Travis Hughes recovered the fumbled ball on the North Carolina 24.  This time the Tar Heels made some successful plays and continued to move the ball down field.  After 12 plays and 60 yards, Marquis Williams finished off the drive by rushing 16 yards into the in zone.

UNC’s touchdown closed out the first quarter leaving only 38 seconds for Pittsburgh. 7-3

The second quarter began in favor of the Tar Heels by pushing the Panthers back 12 yards and forcing a punt at the beginning.

UNC’s rushing game made for a big presence during their 53 yard drive down the field.  They didn’t make to the in-zone, but successfully got a 38 yard field goal giving them a nice lead over the Panthers. 10-3

UNC’s defense continued to be hard hitting, forcing Pittsburgh to make small plays and forcing them to punt the ball after only a 20-yard drive.

UNC kept up the momentum after the punt with an amazing pass to Eric Ebron, gaining 58 yards on the play and moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 32. The Tar Heels kept the pressure up and continued to move the ball down the field with short passes from Williams and a couple rushes from T.J. Logan.  Williams made his second touchdown with a 10-yard rush into the in-zone. 17-3

After kicking off the ball back to the Panthers, the Tar Heels defense continued to stop any progress down the field.  After a few small plays, Kareem Martin sacked Tom Savage for a 10-yard loss and making the Panthers punt the ball.

UNC finished off the half with a 65-yard kick-off return by Ryan Switzer to secure a lead for the Carolina Tar Heels. 24-3

The Tar Heels didn’t start off the second half with the same momentum and force that they ended with at the half.  After gaining a few yards, several incomplete passes forced the Tar Heels to punt the ball.

Carolina Defense again showed their strength by cutting out the Pittsburgh rushing game.  Kareem Martin got another great sack on Tom Savage forcing a fumble and recovering the ball at the 12.

Although Carolina got a hold of the ball close to the in-zone, Pittsburgh defense was stopping the Carolina fast-paced offense. After a loss on a rush and a short pass, the Tar Heels didn’t get the first down they needed and took a successful 27-yard field goal. 27-3

The Pittsburgh Panthers answered right back to the Carolina field goal with a powerful drive taking the ball down the field.  Several passes by quarterback Tom Savage led to the first downs that allowed the Panthers to continue momentum towards the in-zone.  The drive ended with a 33-yard pass to Devin Street for their first touchdown of the game. 27-10

In the fourth quarter the Pittsburgh Panthers stepped up the pressure and made several strong plays.  They started out with a 96 yard drive that took the Panthers all the way to the Carolina in-zone.  The final play of the drive was an 8 yard pass to Isaac Bennett for the touchdown. 27-17

On receiving the kick off, UNC slowly pushed the ball a few yards up the field until a holding penalty and fumble switched possession back to the Panthers on Carolina territory.

The Tar Heels kept up the defense again and Otis sacked Tom Savage to keep them from getting a first down.  The Pittsburgh Panthers made a successful field goal from 42 yards to bring them closer to the Tar Heels. 27-20

At the kick-off, the Tar Heels fumbled the ball at the North Carolina 13 and was recovered by Pitt Jason from Pittsburgh.  After a short rush, the Tar Heels got a call for pass interference, leaving the Panthers only 2-yards away from a touchdown.  Pittsburgh quickly launched James Conner over the line of scrimmage and into the in zone, tying up the game 27-27.

UNC didn’t have the momentum they needed for the next drive as they only made it 15-yards before needing to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh.  Fortunately the Carolina defense was ready for the Panthers and quickly shut them down before any big plays could be made.

The kickoff to UNC lead to the last touchdown of the game as Ryan Switzer ran 61 yards for a kick-off return touchdown, giving the Tar Heels the lead once again with 34-27.

With 5 minutes left in the fourth, the Tar Heels needed to guarantee the Panthers didn’t make it into the in zone again.  With one final drive, Savage threw a 21-yard pass to start.  After getting another first down and reaching behind the 40-yard line, the Panthers kept up momentum. The Carolina defense stepped up to the plate though and held off the Panthers from making it past the Carolina 25-yard line.

With only a minute and some change left the Tar Heels held onto the ball to secure their win.

Overall Carolina had 173 passing yards, a149 rushing yards, with 17 first downs and 2 turnovers. The Pittsburgh Panthers showed up well on paper too with 313 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and 22 first downs.

North Carolina now has a .500 record for the season and made their fifth consecutive win for the regular season.

http://chapelboro.com/news/game-recap-unc-34-pitt-27/

Carolina Win Against Pittsburgh Makes For .500 Season Record

CHAPEL HILL – UNC won their fourth consecutive game against the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday, giving them a .500 record for the season.

The game opened up with the Pittsburgh Panthers receiving the kick off and Lafayette Pitt made a strong beginning.  Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage kept nailing his throws down the field making it to inside the 10 yard line.

Carolina defense stepped up the defense and didn’t give up the field, forcing Pittsburgh to take a 28 yard field goal. 0-3

UNC didn’t get the same momentum off the first drive as many people were expecting.  Their drive only gained 2 yards before the Tar Heels punted the ball back to the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s second drive once again showed the power of running back James Conner when mixed with Tom Savage.  The Panthers drove the ball 61 yards down the field until Kareem Martin came in with a sack forcing a fumble from Savage.

UNC’s Travis Hughes recovered the fumbled ball on the North Carolina 24.  This time the Tar Heels made some successful plays and continued to move the ball down field.  After 12 plays and 60 yards, Marquis Williams finished off the drive by rushing 16 yards into the in zone.

UNC’s touchdown closed out the first quarter leaving only 38 seconds for Pittsburgh. 7-3

The second quarter began in favor of the Tar Heels by pushing the Panthers back 12 yards and forcing a punt at the beginning.

UNC’s rushing game made for a big presence during their 53 yard drive down the field.  They didn’t make to the in-zone, but successfully got a 38 yard field goal giving them a nice lead over the Panthers. 10-3

UNC’s defense continued to be hard hitting, forcing Pittsburgh to make small plays and forcing them to punt the ball after only a 20-yard drive.

UNC kept up the momentum after the punt with an amazing pass to Eric Ebron, gaining 58 yards on the play and moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 32. The Tar Heels kept the pressure up and continued to move the ball down the field with short passes from Williams and a couple rushes from T.J. Logan.  Williams made his second touchdown with a 10-yard rush into the in-zone. 17-3

After kicking off the ball back to the Panthers, the Tar Heels defense continued to stop any progress down the field.  After a few small plays, Kareem Martin sacked Tom Savage for a 10-yard loss and making the Panthers punt the ball.

UNC finished off the half with a 65-yard kick-off return by Ryan Switzer to secure a lead for the Carolina Tar Heels. 24-3

The Tar Heels didn’t start off the second half with the same momentum and force that they ended with at the half.  After gaining a few yards, several incomplete passes forced the Tar Heels to punt the ball.

Carolina Defense again showed their strength by cutting out the Pittsburgh rushing game.  Kareem Martin got another great sack on Tom Savage forcing a fumble and recovering the ball at the 12.

Although Carolina got a hold of the ball close to the in-zone, Pittsburgh defense was stopping the Carolina fast-paced offense. After a loss on a rush and a short pass, the Tar Heels didn’t get the first down they needed and took a successful 27-yard field goal. 27-3

The Pittsburgh Panthers answered right back to the Carolina field goal with a powerful drive taking the ball down the field.  Several passes by quarterback Tom Savage led to the first downs that allowed the Panthers to continue momentum towards the in-zone.  The drive ended with a 33-yard pass to Devin Street for their first touchdown of the game. 27-10

In the fourth quarter the Pittsburgh Panthers stepped up the pressure and made several strong plays.  They started out with a 96 yard drive that took the Panthers all the way to the Carolina in-zone.  The final play of the drive was an 8 yard pass to Isaac Bennett for the touchdown. 27-17

On receiving the kick off, UNC slowly pushed the ball a few yards up the field until a holding penalty and fumble switched possession back to the Panthers on Carolina territory.

The Tar Heels kept up the defense again and Otis sacked Tom Savage to keep them from getting a first down.  The Pittsburgh Panthers made a successful field goal from 42 yards to bring them closer to the Tar Heels. 27-20

At the kick-off, the Tar Heels fumbled the ball at the North Carolina 13 and was recovered by Pitt Jason from Pittsburgh.  After a short rush, the Tar Heels got a call for pass interference, leaving the Panthers only 2-yards away from a touchdown.  Pittsburgh quickly launched James Conner over the line of scrimmage and into the in zone, tying up the game 27-27.

UNC didn’t have the momentum they needed for the next drive as they only made it 15-yards before needing to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh.  Fortunately the Carolina defense was ready for the Panthers and quickly shut them down before any big plays could be made.

The kickoff to UNC lead to the last touchdown of the game as Ryan Switzer ran 61 yards for a kick-off return touchdown, giving the Tar Heels the lead once again with 34-27.

With 5 minutes left in the fourth, the Tar Heels needed to guarantee the Panthers didn’t make it into the in zone again.  With one final drive, Savage threw a 21-yard pass to start.  After getting another first down and reaching behind the 40-yard line, the Panthers kept up momentum. The Carolina defense stepped up to the plate though and held off the Panthers from making it past the Carolina 25-yard line.

With only a minute and some change left the Tar Heels held onto the ball to secure their win.

Overall Carolina had 173 passing yards, a149 rushing yards, with 17 first downs and 2 turnovers. The Pittsburgh Panthers showed up well on paper too with 313 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and 22 first downs.

North Carolina now has a .500 record for the season and made their fourth consecutive win for the regular season.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-win-against-pittsburgh-makes-for-500-season-record/

Save the Drama for your Mama: Fantasy Football in Week 7

If there is a common theme in the NFL so far this year, it definitely includes a flare for the dramatic. This past weekend’s “handshake debacle” between ‘Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and the Lions’ Jim Schwartz is just the most recent episode in a series of highly publicized, yet soon-to-be completely irrelevant side show acts in the NFL. Remember the heated debate surrounding the Giants’ blatantly faking injuries to slow down the Rams’ drive on Monday Night Football less than 4 short weeks ago? Yeah, the league didn’t fine them either.  And now that we have formerly significant players coming out of left field with pregame instigations (who was talking to you anyway, Brandon Marshall?!), Sexy Rexy isn’t the only one with something to say.  What’s next? Carson Palmer wants a piece of Ray Lewis? I don’t think so. Let’s leave the theatrics to actors and professional wrestlers.
 
As you have learned during the first few bye weeks, roster spots are precious and you must use care in discerning who is worthy of them.  Back up players aren’t always necessary and can hamper your ability to grab new talent. Auxiliary Tight Ends are a waste of a roster spot with few exceptions, one of which is having Antonio Gates. However, if you have an OP (offensive player) position on your roster, you can always stick a tight end there if they are the best available player. Another roster adjustment to consider is dropping your back up Quarterback once your regular starter has had their bye week. This way you can make room for an emerging (or potentially emerging) star running back or wide receiver.
 
You should also remember which positions have the greatest impact on your scores each week and make sure you have your bases covered there.  The positions that will be hardest to fill are usually the ones that have the most roster spots allocated to them each week. For example, if your league has 3 spots for Receivers, 2 for Running Backs, and 1 for a Tight End, quality Wide Receivers will be in highest demand, followed by Running Backs, with a good number of Tight Ends left over (available). In these scenarios, you need to be that much more on the ball when someone does emerge as a standout player so you can be first to jump on attractive prospects for that position.
For those of you facing roster difficulties this week, allow me to emphathize by sharing my biggest Week 7 obstacle. In my deepest league, my Quarterback options this week are sketchy to say the least.  Last year I scooped up Vick off waivers, and since it is a keeper league, I got him as my last round draft pick this year.  Given Vick’s susceptibility to injury, I drafted Eli Manning later on as my back up in the event that Vick gets taken out for a significant amount of time. But both the Eagles and Giants have byes this week, so I need to pick up another Quarterback. This is also the most competitive league I’m in as far as my rival Fanagers and their Fantasy prowess are concerned (most of them anyway…..).
 
I am wincing as I am about to share the available QB prospects this week in descending order of projected points according to my league settings on ESPN’s website: Curtis Painter at New Orleans, John Beck at Carolina, Christian Ponder vs. Green Bay, Sam Bradford at Dallas, Charlie Whitehurst at Cleveland, or Kevin Kolb vs. Pittsburgh.  Pretty slim pickin’s, huh?  Not even Carson Palmer remains, much less Tim Tebow, but I am not all that upset about the latter.   
 
So now that we have established that I am working with the bottom of the barrel, there are some  encouraging arguments that can be made (though they might not be very strong ones). Curtis Painter has the most impressive supporting cast with the Indianapolis Colts receiving core, plus the Saints allow a lot of Fantasy points to opposing Quarterbacks (5th most by ESPN rankings; 3rd most by Yahoo), and Dallas Clark and Painter started to get something going last week. 
 
Sam Bradford is another candidate, especially with the addition of Brandon Lloyd in a trade from the Broncos last week; however, he is working with that high ankle sprain and, although said to be doing better than expected, there is no guarantee he will be giving it a go on Sunday. Bradford and his Rams are also facing a talented Cowboys’ defense on the road in the wake of the ‘Boys loss to the Patriots.
 
Kevin Kolb has fallen short of the Cardinals’ (and Fanagers’) expectations this year, especially in the turnover department.  He has scored less than 10 Fantasy points each of the past two weeks, and this weekend doesn’t look any better with their matchup against the top-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The only thing working in Kolb’s favor is that he does have an extraordinary receiver in Larry Fitzgerald.
 
As for the rest, well, who knows? To be completely honest, sometimes it works out simply because you get lucky rolling the dice on an underachieving player, which is what I am hoping for this week!  And just in case you ever wind up playing in the NFL, here’s a tip: unless you are very literally in a position to win the game for your team, no one cares what you have to say. Thanks!

http://chapelboro.com/columns/miss-fantasy-football/save-the-drama-for-your-mama-fantasy-football-in-week-7/

The Uncertainty of Fantasy Football in the 2011-2012 NFL Season

As we enter the second week of byes, it is interesting to note how much has changed in the NFL and thus in Fantasy Football since this time last year.  An inordinate number of early Fantasy draft picks have, so far this season, fallen short of their projected performances.  And some of these players are not likely to turn it around anytime soon either.  There are Fantasy follies in every season, but with the unpredictability of the early NFL season, having a few on your roster is nearly unavoidable. 
 
When comparing the expectations held before 9/8/2011 with how the 2011-12 season has played out, one of the most shocking mismatches is undoubtedly the Tennessee Titans and their 32nd ranked rushing offense –that’s right, DEAD LAST in rushing in the NFL.  Chris Johnson was projected to be one of the top running backs in the league, if not the very top depending on where you projected Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster.  Johnson was within the first 5 players selected in almost every single Fantasy Football draft this year.  While some did postulate that his hold out for contract negotations would influence his early season production, no one could have foreseen the Titans with Chris Johnson active and actually playing to be last in the league when it comes to carrying the rock.  If someone had walked up to you before the season started and said, “I bet you 20 bucks that 5 weeks into the season Tennessee will have the worst-ranked rushing offense,” wouldn’t you have taken it?  I know I would have. 
 
And I will keep it rolling with the preseason hypotheticals: if I had asked you to pick which team offense would be ranked 5th and which would be ranked 30th between the Panthers and the Colts entering Week 6, what do you think you would have said?  The Colts’ glitch of a Peyton Manning-less season is not as much of an enigma as the Panthers and their record-breaking beast of a rookie quarterback, Cam Newton, but this just goes to show how important quarterbacks have become in this pass-happy league. 
 
Other anomalies of this season include both the Bills’ and Lions’ winning records (the latter more impressive by a game), the Packers shoddy pass defense, and the Texans’ complete 180 on both defensive fronts (kudos to Mr. Phillips). Whether these are just prolonged deviations from the norm or long-term transformations must be proven on the gridiron, but the clock is ticking faster for some than others.  
 
One of the most publicized stories throughout the offseason, and perhaps the best example of the volatility of this year, was the Eagles’ acquisition of several top-notch players to work alongside Michael Vick and the Vince Young coined “Dream Team.” As we all know, and 800 sports analysts have so uncleverly remarked, the dream is over (make that 801). But what I think is interesting is to consider where the Eagles stand now as compared to last season heading into their match up Sunday with the (my) Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, and what is widely thought of as a “make or break the season” game.  
 
As all Fanagers who owned Michael Vick last season remember (myself included), his performance at FedEx against the ‘Skins was that of Fantasy legend, ultimately setting the record for the most points scored by a quarterback in Fantasy Football history! This year, well, it is not looking so good.  To give my guys some credit, the Redskins have significantly improved in multiple areas, but their defense is looking especially impressive.  They have allowed only the 27th most points to opposing QBs and haven’t allowed more than 10 fantasy points to any opposing quarterback since week 2.  Not only are the Redskins playing well, but they are also well-rested. Last week they had a bye and undoubtedly put some extra emphasis into preparing for the division rival who absolutely humiliated them in their own house last year. 
 
With all of these factors working in the Redskins’ favor, there is one thing to remember, this is not just a “make or break” game for the Eagles.  The Redskins have just as much to prove or, as in recent decades, disprove.  
 
The time to define the season is here and some teams have already taken the reins (glad to see you finally showed up, Pittsburgh). As the formidable separate themselves from the flukes, some players will step up and others will inevitably fall behind, but the successful Fanager is prepared for both. 

http://chapelboro.com/columns/miss-fantasy-football/the-uncertainty-of-fantasy-football-in-the-2011-2012-nfl-season/