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NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: Russell Athletic Bowl

Game 2 of the day is the first Bowl game of the year in which we, the fans, are treated to two ranked teams going head-to-head. The (10) Nor


Game 2 of the day is the first Bowl game of the year in which we, the fans, are treated to two ranked teams going head-to-head. The (10) North Carolina Tar Heels and the (17) Baylor Bears are set to give us an offensive explosion. The Tar Heels have had quite the year. Since an opening day loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Tar Heels won 11 straight to finish the regular season 11-1 – 8-0 in the ACC – and find themselves in the ACC Championship game. Though they lost, they gave #1 Clemson a handful. Their success has been predicated on a very explosive offense. In terms of yards, they are very balanced, they average 264 passing yards per game (PYG) and another 222.9 rushing yards per game (RYG) which make them the 34th and 21st in the FBS respectively. They also average 40.9 points per game (PPG), which is 10th in the FBS. On defense, they rank 79th in total defense (411 YPG), 26th in passing (194.5 PYG), 110th in rushing (216.8 RYG) and 35th in scoring (22.6 PPG). Senior guard, Landon Turner, has been a force for the Tar Heels and has been a big reason why they have been so successful on offense. Turner really stands out in the ground game. He has an uncanny ability to move the line of scrimmage up the field, and once he latches on to defenders he can just drive them back. Furthermore, his feet aren’t too heavy and his is patient and disciplined, so he doesn’t get beat too much. North Carolina’s other top seniors are; WR Quinshad Davis, QB Marquise Williams, DT Justin Thomason, LB Jeff Schoettmer, and LB Shakeel Rashad. Baylor’s season started like almost every Baylor season in the last few years – scoring points at will with a red hot QB. However, the injury bug hit the Bears, bit time, particularly at the QB position. Their starter was lost for the year early, the backup has missed multiple games and will miss the bowl game, so 3rd string QB Chris Johnson will have to lead the Bears to victory. Despite the injuries, the Bears offense has been unbelievably good. They rank 1st in total yards (605 YPG), 20th in passing (304.4 PYG), 4th in rushing (300.2 RYG) and 1st in scoring (48 PPG), though this production may go down with Chris Johnson at QB. Defensively, they’re fairly average, they rank 59th in total defense (389 1st in scoring (48 PPG), though this production may go down with Chris Johnson at QB. Defensively, they’re fairly average, they rank 59th in total defense (389 YPG), 77th in passing (232.7 YPG), 52nd in rushing (156.3 RYG) and 72nd in scoring (27.5 PPG). The Bears have a plethora of talent who will be entering the draft. Andrew Billings is the 3rd ranked DT in the draft (if he declares) and you can see why. He is so powerful and he completely disrupts the pass and run game. Corey Coleman, another junior, has declared for the draft and is the 2nd ranked receiver, though he is missing this game through injury. Shawn Oakman (DE) and Spencer Drango (OG) are two monsters for this team. These 4 alone are good bets to go in the top 2 rounds in this year’s draft. TE/OL LaQuan McGowan, DT Beau Blackshear, WR Jay Lee, OT Pat Colbert, OG Jarell Broxton, TE Gus Penning, CB Terrell Burt, DE Jamal Palmer and OG Blake Muir are also looking to make big impacts for the Bears.   If you want to watch this game, or any of the other Bowl games, the complete Bowl schedule can be found here, where you’ll be able to see how and when you can watch every game.  

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Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: Russell Athletic Bowl

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