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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. East Carolina Pirates Free Pick 9/28/13

East Carolina Pirates (2-1) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-2)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm (Kenan Stadium)

The Line: North Carolina Tar Heels -12 -- Over/Under: 59 See the Latest Odds

TV: Gameplan/ESPN 3

The East Carolina Pirates travel to Chapel Hill to play the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday.

The Pirates of East Carolina had the week off after losing at Virginia Tech 15-10 two weeks ago. East Carolina is 2-1 on the season after beating Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic, before losing on the road to the Hokies. East Carolina has an explosive offense led by QB Shane Carden who has thrown for 796 yards with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. WR Justin Hardy leads all receivers with 26 receptions for 258 yards, while WR Vintavious Cooper has 12 catches for 115 yards. The rushing attack is limited for the Pirates, as they have only rushed for 190 yards as a team so far this season. The East Carolina defense played great against Virginia Tech, holding the Hokies to 10 points in the loss. The Pirates held Virginia Tech to 311 total yards and only 51 rushing yards. The defense will be tested again against a solid North Carolina offensive unit. North Carolina likes to run the ball when they can but they mostly rely on the passing game, which may cause some problems for the Pirates secondary.

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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. East Carolina Pirates Free Pick 9/28/13

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels are 1-2 on the year after losing at Georgia Tech 28-20 on Saturday. The Tar Heels lost to South Carolina in their season opener and then beat Middle Tennessee in week two. Against Georgia Tech, the Tar Heels held a six point lead heading into halftime, but failed to score any points in the second half. North Carolina produced 319 total yards on offense. QB Renner completed 14 of 29 passes for 218 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. RB Morris carried the ball 11 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. TE Ebron led all receivers with 6 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown for the Tar Heels. The North Carolina defense allowed 428 total yards with 324 of them coming on the ground against the Yellow Jackets. North Carolina did not get off the field on 3rd down and only possessed the ball for a third of the game. North Carolina will not have to worry about East Carolina’s rushing attack this week, but they will have their hands full with their passing attack. Renner will have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball downfield in this matchup and he will need to take advantage of those opportunities if the Tar Heels are going to win the game.

North Carolina has won the last four meetings between these two schools, including a 21-point win at home last year. Both teams will be looking to throw the ball downfield and I think they will both have success. Renner is the better quarterback and he has a superior running game, so I give the Tar Heels the edge offensively. East Carolina will not only have home field advantage but they seem to always keep things close against the Tar Heels and other ACC teams. I think North Carolina will win this game but I’m not sure they will cover almost two touchdowns. I do think the over is a good play as both teams have the ability to break 30 points in this one.

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