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LFSN 2014 Opponent Preview: North Carolina
Liberty opens the 2014 season on the road for the fourth year in a row, this time traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face the Tar Heels of North Carolina on Saturday, Aug. 30.
North Carolina enters the game ranked No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Poll. This marks the first time in Liberty's football program history the Flames have squared off against a ranked FBS opponent.
This is the first time the Tar Heels have been ranked since 2010. That year, North Carolina began the season No. 18 in the AP poll, but lost to No. 21 LSU in the season opener in Atlanta.
North Carolina had just six scholarship seniors on its 2014 training camp roster and just one senior starter on offense – tight end Jack Tabb.
North Carolina's offensive line has just 43 starts to its credit led by junior offensive guard Landon Turner with 17. Jon Heck started all 13 games last year at right tackle and Caleb Peterson started 12 at left guard. Offensive tackle Kiaro Holts started one game in 2012 vs. Idaho.
North Carolina looks to continue its outstanding special teams play from a year ago. In 2013, the Tar Heels ranked first in the country in punt returns, No. 10 in net punting and No. 19 in kickoff returns.
North Carolina opens its 124th college football season on Saturday, while it will mark the 42nd year of football for the Flames.
It's the season opener for a pair of teams looking to build off the momentum of strong finishes from a year ago. North Carolina won six of its last seven in 2013, including a 39-17 win over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl (7-6, 4-4 ACC), while the Flames reeled off five straight victories to end the year (8-4, 4-1 BSC).