Missouri averages 236.2 passing yards per game, which ranks 58th nationally. But don't be deceived by the middle-of-the pack statistics. The Tigers' spread offense is difficult to defend, and quarterback James Franklin has a lot of capable receivers. North Carolina has averaged 249.2 passing yards per game, and receiver Dwight Jones will be one of the best players on the field.
Look near the bottom of the NCAA rankings in pass defense, and you'll find North Carolina and Missouri next to each other. The Tar Heels rank 90th in pass defense, and are allowing an average of 246.8 passing yards per game. Missouri ranks 91st in pass defense (247.3 yards allowed). Neither team has defended the pass well, and North Carolina has one more interception (13) on the season than the Tigers.
The Tigers' rushing offense ranks 11th nationally (235.7 ypg), but their leading rusher, Henry Josey, suffered a season-ending knee injury and missed the final two games of the regular season. Without Josey, though, Missouri's ground game hasn't suffered. Franklin, the quarterback, averages just under 70 yards rushing a game. North Carolina's running game ranks 72nd nationally, though freshman running back Giovani Bernard ran for 1,222 yards and 13 touchdowns.
North Carolina has one of the best defensive fronts in the ACC, and the Tar Heels held opponents to an average of 106.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks 14th nationally. The Tar Heels held six of their opponents to less than 100 yards rushing but also gave up 312 rushing yards against Georgia Tech. Missouri's run defense had difficulty slowing the Tigers' better opponents.
EDGE: North Carolina
North Carolina has one of the worst kicking games in the country. The Tar Heels rank near the bottom of the national rankings in kickoff and punting average, as well as in field goal percentage. Missouri isn't much better in some of those categories, but the Tigers are 10th nationally in punting average and 13th in kickoff return defense.
Both teams are playing for their eighth victory, though a win would probably mean more to the Tar Heels. They're attempting to send out interim head coach Everett Withers with a victory. Returning players also want to impress Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels' new coach who will undoubtedly be watching.
EDGE: North Carolina