North Carolina Tarheels at North Carolina State Wolfpack
Carter Finley Stadium – Raleigh, North Carolina
Score: North Carolina (21), NC State (33)
Nyheim Hines is explosive
North Carolina held a 2-point lead for a large portion of the game but Hines proved to be a game-changer with back-to-back explosive runs of 54 and 48 yards – both for touchdown in the second half. A track star, Hines is developing nicely as a running back and his breakaway speed is evident. While he’s still developing nuance in terms of seeing holes develop between the tackles and setting up tacklers in tight quarters, Hines has considerable twitch and juice that enable him to hit big plays.
Finishing the game with 196 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns, Hines went over 1,000 rushing yards on the season. After making his mark as a receiver last season, Hines is also a quality return man. Hines is a capable of helping a team in a variety of ways which is important given his lack of bulk to be an every down workhorse back in the NFL.
Jakobi Meyers keeps impressing
He’s only a redshirt sophomore so put a star by Meyers’ name for next year. A converted quarterback, Meyers has been impressive as a receiver this season with consistent wins at the catch point. His ability to play the ball in the air is obvious and he does well to adjust his frame to position himself to haul in catches. Meyers grip strength in his hands to bring in and control passes through contact has really caught my eye in the five games I’ve seen him play this season.
Against UNC, Meyers had 101 receiving yards on seven catches. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, Meyers is slapped together well and his pairing with sophomore-sensation Kelvin Harmon gives NC State an exciting pair of receivers returning to Raleigh next season.
Ryan Finley finishes the season poorly
NC State QB Ryan Finley started the year hot and was a buzzy name among this years quarterback prospects. He didn’t throw an interception in his first seven games while completing nearly 70 percent of his throws. The last five games told a different story where he threw six interceptions over the last five games with two games where he completed less than 50 percent of his throws.
I think Finley is a rosterable developmental quarterback but he has a lot to prove if he is going to dress on Sundays. There is also no guarantee that Finley is part of the this years draft. A graduate transfer from Boise State and fifth-year junior, Finley has another year of eligibility remaining if he wants it.
Finley has a knack for finding space against zone coverage to hit throws and throwing with anticipation. His ability to move within the pocket is sound and he has fairly good accuracy. With that said, finding consistency is a must, given his modest physical traits.
Bentley Spain leaves me anxious to see more
North Carolina senior offensive tackle Bentley Spain is an experience and long-levered left tackle for North Carolina that has NFL ability. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Spain does well to square up his frame in front of pass rushers and leverage his hips. There were several reps when lined up against Bradley Chubb that he did well to land his punch and anchor to keep his quarterback clean.
I’m looking forward to taking a deep dive into his film soon to see more.
Bradley Chubb’s motor shines
With no sacks or quarterback hurries to his credit, Chubb was held in check as a pass rusher on account of UNC consistently chipping and committing extra blockers to slow him down. Chubb was still a high-effort pass rusher but his impressive moments came chasing down plays against the Tarheels. There were several occasions where Chubb executed an aggressive pursuit angle to bring down a ball carrier on the opposite side or middle of the field. He made an outstanding tackle moving laterally to the sideline on an outside run to his side and he drew a critical holding penalty late in the game to take UNC out of field goal range.
Chubb can affect football games even when teams scheme for him not to which speaks to his ability as a player.