Sports

No. 18 Tar Heels open season against Syracuse in ACC matchup


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Mack Brown hasn't tried to dismiss the high expectations that are following his 18th-ranked Tar Heels entering Saturday's season-opening visit from Syracuse.The Tar Heels closed last season with three straight blowout wins, including in the Military Bowl against Temple.


Among the changes for fifth-year coach Dino Babers is the arrival of defensive coordinator Tony White, who installed a 3-3-5 scheme that will lean on preseason Associated Press All-America first-team pick Andre Cisco as a playmaking rover.


The Orange surrendered an average of 4.17 sacks per game last year, with only Old Dominion (4.33) and Akron (4.83) worse in the 130-team FBS ranks.


Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard, the leading returning rushers on the team, opted out of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Also missing from the depth chart was redshirt junior LB Tyrell Richards, who has the most experience on the team at the position.


Syracuse's up-tempo spread has sparked at least one wideout to big numbers each year, though coach Dino Babers isn't sure who will be the next.Junior Taj Harris (77 catches, 1,124 yards, five TDs in two seasons), senior Nykeim Johnson, and redshirt sophomores Anthony Queeley and Ed Hendrix are candidates.






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