The 23rd-ranked Tar Heels feel they have the defense to turn the tables in 2009.
North Carolina's fifth-ranked defense will be out for revenge Saturday in Raleigh as the Tar Heels face the rival Wolfpack looking to win a fifth consecutive game for the first time in more than eight years.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made
The loss to the Wolfpack was the Tar Heels' most lopsided in the series since falling 40-6 in 1989.
"It just baffles me how bad we played, as a team, as a whole," Tar Heels quarterback T.J. Yates said after finishing 10 of 22 for 116 yards and an interception. "They came in today on a mission, came to take us out as soon as possible."
The Wolfpack, meanwhile, totaled a season-high 466 yards of offense, with quarterback Russell Wilson going 17 of 28 for 279 yards an two touchdowns.
"What it speaks to is we're the best football program in the state,"
That certainly hasn't been the case this season, as the Wolfpack have turned into arguably the ACC's worst team.
Junior safety Deunta Williams had three of the five interceptions for
"(Our defense knows) that they're obviously carrying us an extreme amount, because they're getting turnovers and scoring touchdowns for us,'' said Yates, the ACC's lowest-rated passer (108.4). "I really respect the defense and everything they do. When we're struggling, they're out there getting us points and when we're sputtering on offense, they're not ones to point fingers.''
"Defense is the one thing that can be consistent,'' coach Butch Davis said. "You may not catch the ball or throw the ball as well. There's a lot of variables that may happen, and you can't control the weather."
Yates' offense may find moving the ball easier against a Wolfpack team that's allowed 41.4 points per game in losing six of seven.
In addition to trying to figure out the tough Tar Heels defense, the Wolfpack's offense will close the regular season with heavy hearts.
"It's a big blow to us,'' offensive guard Julian Williams said. "He has other things he has to take care of right now and we'll take care of the football.''
O'Brien will bring back former graduate assistant Jay Civetti to help against the Tar Heels. Civetti has spent the past two years as offensive coordinator at Division III Tufts, which has concluded its season.
Posted: 11/24/09 7:33PM ET