No. 20 North Carolina hosts Minnesota on Saturday in the first game between the schools
Minnesota (2-0) at No. 20 North Carolina (2-0), Saturday, 2:30 p.m. CT (ESPN)
Line: North Carolina by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Both teams are looking to stay unbeaten in a matchup for the Tar Heels from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Gophers from the Big Ten. UNC is coming off a double-overtime win against Appalachian State, while Minnesota beat Eastern Michigan.
Minnesota’s defense against UNC’s offense. The Tar Heels have a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Drake Maye and a running back coming off a 234-yard day in Omarion Hampton for the No. 2 total in any FBS game this season. UNC ranks ninth in the Bowl Subdivision ranks in rushing (243.5) and 24th in total offense (482.0) while ranking among the best at converting third downs. The Gophers are ranked eighth in FBS allowing 223.5 yards per game and tied for 10th by allowing just 16 points through two games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: RB Darius Taylor. The true freshman from Detroit rushed for 193 yards and a touchdown on 33 attempts last week in the win over Eastern Michigan after getting only one carry in the season opener. He overtook graduate transfer Sean Tyler, who’s in his first year after arriving from Western Michigan, in the pecking order.
UNC: WR Kobe Paysour. With Devontez Walker not able to play (NCAA transfer eligibility), Paysour has been the most productive receiver. He has 15 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown in two games.
FACTS & FIGURES
Minnesota has won four straight games going back to last season. … The Tar Heels are 52-22 as a ranked team under Mack Brown going back to his first tenure from 1988-97. … UNC’s defense had no sacks in the Appalachian State win after tallying nine to open the season against South Carolina. … The Tar Heels are fifth nationally in third-down conversion rate at 61.5% (16 of 26). … This is the fifth 2-0 start in seven years under P.J. Fleck for Minnesota, while it’s the fourth in the five years of Brown’s second tenure in Chapel Hill. … Minnesota has one passing touchdown and three total TDs through two games. … The Gophers are 19-1 in nonconference games since coach Fleck arrived in 2017, the third-best record in the FBS behind Alabama and Georgia during that span.
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