Friday, September 9, 2016

Trubisky looks to bounce back in primetime at Illinois

                   Photo Credit: UNC Athletic Communications

Act one for North Carolina Tar Heels junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky came to a screeching halt in a 33-24 loss to Georgia on Sept. 3.

Despite the defeat, Trubisky went a modest 24-of-40 for 156 yards and Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora expects more out of the junior in Saturday's game at Illinois.

"In game one, [Mitch] learned a lot and realized coming off the bench in relief is a little bit different than being the starter," Fedora said. "I think he will be a better player this week, than he was last week."

The storyline becomes a matter of Trubisky living up to the off-season hype in being able to respond under the lights in Champaign.

In an era, where most Power Five schools groom freshman or sophomores as starting quarterbacks, Trubisky is a rare case of a guy who waited patiently to become the guy under the center.

The opportunity came to fruition when Williams gradauted in the off-season, making way for Trubisky to win the starting job in the process.

Illinois coach Lovie Smith sees quality traits in Trubisky from the film watched in the early stages this season.

"There are some impressive things [Trubisky] has done such as protecting the ball and is an accurate thrower," Smith said. "When you have been in the program for awhile, you almost become a student of the game." 

"Mitch is a different [type] of quarterback from what they played with last year [Marquise Williams], but with the weapons they have on offense, he is the ideal guy to lead their attack."

Trubisky last season vs Illinois:

- In a 48-14 win at Chapel Hill, NC last season, Trubisky received playing time in the fourth quarter and made the most of the opportunity by completing both pass attempts for 14 yards.

With North Carolina away from campus for the second straight game, Trubisky's growth on offense will play a pivotal role in keeping faint hopes alive at making to the College Football Playoff semifinals on New Year's Eve.

North Carolina (0-1) at Illinois (1-0)

Site: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

Kickoff: 6:42 p.m. CT


Line: North Carolina (-7)

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.