One team is playing for nothing more but pride and the other is hoping to keep its slim bowl hopes alive.
North Carolina (1-8, 0-6 ACC) and Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-3) meet Thursday night in Chapel Hill as we enter the final quarter of the 2017 regular season. Stay here for live updates, scores and analysis.
North Carolina-Pitt live updates, score
North Carolina-Pitt game time, information
Date: Thursday, November 9
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Weather: Cloudy, high of 56 degrees
Odds: Pittsburgh -9.5
North Carolina-Pitt preview
Both programs have seen better days.
This time two years ago, North Carolina was 8-1 and on the verge of appearing in the ACC Championship Game for a destined battle with Coastal winner Clemson. The Tar Heels would go on to finish 11-3 — their best season in nearly two decades — and then won another eight games in 2016.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, posted back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time since 2009-10, claiming a victory over No. 2 Clemson (the eventual national champion) at home last year. The Panthers have not missed the postseason since 2007.
Fast-forward to Week 11 of the 2017 season, and things are a little different.
Much in thanks to an injury-ridden roster that was at least due for some regression anyway, UNC is on track for its first double-digit loss season since it went 2-10 in 2003. And with losses to three top 25 opponents, Pitt needs a win on Thursday to improve to .500 and keep its bowl aspirations on life alert, as it ends the campaign with a road trip to Virginia Tech and then a finale vs. undefeated Miami.
That doesn’t mean UNC can’t play spoiler; it just needs to put together a clean 60-minute performance. The Tar Heels rank dead last in the ACC in penalties (71.9 ypg), 13th in scoring offense (21.3 ppg), 13th in opponent plays of 40-plus yards (17), 12th in rushing defense (205.11 yards allowed), and are toward the bottom in many other categories. The Panthers don’t do anything particularly well, but they have had an explosion of production from junior running back Darrin Hall over the last two games — he received 49 carries in the wins against Duke and Virginia, totaling 365 yards and four touchdowns. Pitt is 3-0 when he gets 10-plus carries.
For North Carolina, the game plan is painfully simple: limit big plays from the backfield, force sophomore quarterback Ben Dinucci into as many third-down situations as possible, win the turnover battle and finish on the good side of the time of possession. If it can check all four of those tasks off the list, it will have a very good chance of avoiding a goose egg in the ACC win column while improving to 2-8 one week before hosting FCS Western Carolina.
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