After a loss to ECU, it's time to take a look at UNC Football, by the numbers

After a loss to ECU, it's time to take a look at UNC Football, by the numbers

It wasn't pretty on the field in Greenville, N.C. Anyone who watched the three-and-half hour blowout could see that.

While there were moments of brilliance in UNC's 41-19 loss to East Carolina on Saturday, with long runs from Jordon Brown and Antonio Williams and great coverage from the defensive backs, but they were few and far between compared to the failures. 

From Tyler Powell's late hit on 3rd and forever late in the second quarter to give ECU a fresh set of downs, which led to the go-ahead touchdown, to Nathan Elliott alternating between overthrowing and underthrowing deep routes, to the missed assignments and tackles leading to huge touchdown runs from the Pirates, the Tar Heels made mistake after mistake to fall to 0-2 and lost to a team that paid NC A&T $330,000 to beat them a week prior that's now 7-19 under Scottie Montgomery. 

But the saddest part of watching such an embarrassing game is that one didn't even have to watch it to see that's something seriously wrong with the Tar Heel Football program.

All you'd have to is look at the numbers. 

From the box score at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:

ECU outgained UNC 290-234 in the air, and 220-161 on the ground.

The Tar Heels committed seven penalties for 65 yards, compared to four Pirate penalties for 40 yards.

UNC lost the first down battle 26-19. Lost the time of possession battle 35:04-24:56. Went 5-16 on third down. About the only positive stat for the Tar Heels was that they committed zero turnovers, but UNC also forced zero takeaways, so that's basically awash. 

Then you step back, and look at the trends surround the program's past two seasons, and things get even worse.

UNC has lost 14 of their last 16 games to FBS opponents. In the past 12 games, UNC committed 101 penalties for 961 yards. Their opponents only committed 58 penalties for 544 yards.

The team hasn't had a quarterback pass for 300 yards in a game since Mitchell Trubisky. They haven't beaten an in-state FBS opponent since Marquise Williams started at quarterback. 

In fact, if you go back even farther and look at the overall numbers from Larry Fedora's tenure in Chapel Hill, and things seem near impossible for him to keep his job without a major turnaround in these next few games.

His team has finished in the Top 100 in penalty yardage just once in his 11 years as a head coach at Southern Mississippi and UNC, finishing 66th in 2015.

Fedora is 2-8 against non-conference Power 5 opponents and Notre Dame at UNC, with both of his wins coming against Illinois. 

UNC is a combined 7-11 under Fedora against in-state FBS opponents, going 1-1 against Wake Forest, 3-3 against NC State, 2-4 against Duke and now 1-3 against ECU. The Tar Heels are 4-11 against those schools if you take out the 2015 season. 

Then you look ahead to the upcoming schedule, and the numbers don't get any better. 

No. 19 Central Florida next week for the home opener, coming off an "national championship season." A breather against a strong, but unranked, Pitt team, followed by a trip to No. 22 Miami on a Thursday night, and home contest with No. 12 Virginia Tech the next week. All that while working through the nine players that will be suspended at various points during that run. 

Will anyone be at Kenan Stadium to look at this year's team next week? Time will tell. The home opener usually draws well when it's not an FCS team, and UCF is a big time opponent this early in the year. But if people choose to turn their back on an 0-2 team, they won't have to look far to see how they're doing. 

Just check the numbers.


Cover photo by Smith Hardy