Elon Phoenix at North Carolina Tar Heels
Kickoff: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
Spread: No line
Watchability: It's the birth of the Larry Fedora era at UNC. The Tar Heels will unveil their new up-tempo offense and 4-3-5 defense … Give it a half hour.
Shining stars: Elon: WR Aaron Mellette has 207 career catches and 26 touchdowns. “He's an All American wide receiver who could play anywhere in the country,” Fedora said. “He's 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, can run, make you miss and catch the ball in traffic. That's a problem.”
North Carolina: QB Bryn Renner's last game against an FCS team was James Madison in last season's opener. In his first career start, Renner set a school record for accuracy, completing 22 of 23 passes.
Who could steal the show: Elon: LB Blake Thompson played CB for his first three years at Elon and has eight career interceptions. The team moved him to linebacker for his senior season, and he'll be looking to get involved in more plays by moving closer to the line of scrimmage. North Carolina: RB Giovani Bernard rushed for a UNC freshman-record 1,253 yards last season. In addition to leading the ground attack, Bernard may return punts for the Tar Heels. “We want to see how many ways we can get the ball in his hands, instead of just the typical turn around and hand it to him,” Fedora said.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Be in your seats early, because UNC promises a new colorful band entrance, fireworks, and half-price hot dogs and soda until 30 minutes before kickoff. Or you can take a quick trip southeast of Kenan Stadium and take a look at Ehringhaus dorm. Lawrence Taylor stayed there as a student, and legend has it he scaled the side of the building and into the window of his sixth-floor room to avoid being caught out after curfew.
Magic number for Elon: 10. In Elon's last 20 games, half of them have decided by seven points or fewer. The Phoenix won six.
Magic number for North Carolina: 74. Under Fedora, Southern Mississippi had more than 1,040 plays last season, an average of 74 a game. Fedora brings his fast-break offense to the Tar Heels, who ran 17 fewer plays per game last season.
The game comes down to: Can Carolina avoid serious injury, especially at the already depleted wide receiver position? The game should be little more than a tune-up for the Tar Heels and a coming-out party for Fedora's schemes.
Our Prediction: North Carolina 38, Elon 9
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from ACC bloggers Shawn Krest and Sean Bielawski, follow @CBSSportsACC.