After the No. 21 North Carolina Tar Heels received a slight scare last week against the Liberty Flames, Larry Fedora‘s squad is struggling during the first half for the second straight week. This time it’s against the San Diego State Aztecs.
San Diego State moved the ball at will in the second quarter against North Carolina to build a 14-7 lead. Even when the Tar Heels scored, it was the product of the Aztecs moving the football.
It took the Aztecs a couple drives to acclimate themselves to playing on the East Coast. Late in the first quarter, San Diego State finally came to life. The Aztecs moved the ball 83 yards. Unfortunately, quarterback Quinn Kaehler threw a poorly placed ball at the goal line which resulted in an 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by the Tar Heels’ Brian Walker.
The mistake only seemed to wake up the Aztecs. San Diego State scored touchdowns on the following two drives.
Kaehler was able to find wide receiver Eric Judge open for a quick 56-yard strike. North Carolina’s secondary was clearly keying on the Aztecs’ running game, because Judge was wide open for an easy touchdown. The second touchdown came via the ground game. Donnel Pumphrey was able to slice through North Carolina’s defense for a 12-yard touchdown run.
In total, San Diego accumulated 244 total yards. North Carolina, meanwhile, couldn’t move the football. The Tar Heels countered with 108 yards.
San Diego State has been very aggressive on defense. North Carolina needs to take advantage with some misdirection or play action. The Tar Heels cannot be as stagnant on offense during the second half if they plan on retaining their national ranking for another week.