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  North Carolina coach Mack Brown listed the pass rush as one of his big concerns entering this season. He wanted the defensive front to get pressure without needing to blitz. Frankly, after they totaled 31 sacks last year as a defense, Brown needed the blitzes to work, too. In the No. 18 Tar Heels' 31-6 victory over Syracuse on Saturday, Brown got both. The pass rush spearheaded arguably the most complete defensive effort of Brown's reboot in Chapel Hill. Yes, it's only a snapshot against a Syracuse team that has its own questions to answer offensively. But Carolina's defense showed it won't need the offense to carry the team this season. The Tar Heels can win on defense. "We kind of took a chip on our shoulder going in knowing the kind of guys we got playing on the defensive side of the ball," linebacker Chazz Surratt said in a postgame video conference. "I'm just really glad we played the way how we're supposed to play, and I think we can be really good on defense. We got a lot of really good guys up front in the back, and I think the sky's the limit of our defense."

UNC recorded seven sacks, its most in a single-game since doing the same against Pittsburgh in 2013. The six points allowed were the fewest against an ACC opponent since holding Duke to the same on Nov. 7, 2009. Five different players got in on the sacks including Surratt and Fox, who had two apiece. Surratt gave part of the credit to the Heels' secondary, whose coverage often made Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito hold the ball longer. DeVito finished with just 112 passing yards and his 22-yard completion to receiver Taj Harris was the only play Carolina allowed of more than 20 yards. "Our secondary is really, really good," Surratt said. "They kind of bide time for us to get back there and make plays on the quarterback." - Raleigh News Observer

rSr/2021 ILB Chazz SurrattNorth Carolina
News Source: Raleigh News Observer

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