Chat: UNC falls to Mizzou 41-24 in Independence Bowl

Independence Bowl: UNC vs. Missouri (Dec. 26, 2011)

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By The Associated Press

North Carolina (7-5) vs. Missouri (7-5), 5 p.m. EST.

Line: Missouri by 5.

Series Record: Missouri leads 2-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Missouri is trying to win in its final appearance on the football field as a member of the Big 12 Conference and end the season on a four-game winning streak. The Tigers are moving to the Southeastern Conference next season. North Carolina is trying to win in the final game for interim coach Everett Withers, who will lead the Tar Heels for the final time before joining Urban Meyer's coaching staff at Ohio State. New UNC coach Larry Fedora was hired away from Southern Mississippi last week.

KEY MATCHUP

North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard against Missouri's defense: Bernard has had an outstanding freshman season, ranking third in the ACC with 1,222 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. The powerful 5-foot-10, 205-pounder will go against Missouri's defense, which ranked second in the Big 12 in total defense and fourth in rushing defense. Missouri's defense has been at its best during the recent three-game winning streak, giving up just 14 points per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

North Carolina: QB Bryn Renner. The sophomore leads the ACC in passing efficiency this season, completing 68.8 percent for 2,769 yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His favorite target is senior Dwight Jones, who has 1,119 yards receiving.

Missouri: QB James Franklin. The sophomore has been an effective dual threat, throwing for 2,733 yards and 20 touchdowns this season while also rushing for 839 yards and 13 touchdowns. He's thrown for at least 200 yards in six games in 2011.

FACTS & FIGURES

Bernard is the first 1,000-yard rusher at North Carolina since 1997. His 101.8 yards rushing per game ranks No. 1 in the country among freshman. He earned the starting job this season after sitting out last year with a torn ACL. ... North Carolina ranks second in the ACC and 14th in the country in rushing defense, allowing 106.2 yards per game. ... UNC defensive end Quinton Coples has 13 tackles for a loss, including 7 1-2 sacks. He ranks fourth in the NCAA among active players with 24 career tackles for a loss. ... Missouri is making a program-record seventh straight bowl appearance. ... The Tigers' offense averages 472.4 total yards per game, which ranks 12th in the NCAA. ... Missouri has just a 6-13 record against teams from the ACC, but hasn't played a team from the league since facing Clemson in 2000.

 

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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