There haven't been many bright spots for North Carolina's football team of late, but one exception has been Sylvester Williams.
Although the Tar Heels have lost two straight - 30-24 to Miami and 59-38 to Clemson - the 320-pounder is emerging as one of the top defensive tackles in the ACC.
Entering today's game against Wake Forest in Chapel Hill, Williams has been among North Carolina's leading tacklers in October and is pressuring quarterbacks as much as any player on the team.
Key UNC tackle takes rare path
The Charlotte Observer
North Carolina's defense has allowed three of the past four quarterbacks it has faced to set career passing marks.
So the last thing the Tar Heels secondary wanted was a season-ending injury to one of its starters.
But senior safety Matt Merletti tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee a week ago at Clemson, so that's the situation UNC's 101st-ranked pass defense is in today when the Tar Heels host Wake Forest (3:30 p.m., ESPNU).
UNC's defense needs to take the air out of the ball
The Durham Herald-Sun
Because while the long-term future of the program is finally in the process of being decided, the short-term fortunes of this year's team could also be in the balance when UNC takes on in-state rival Wake Forest at Kenan Stadium.
With a win, the Tar Heels would guarantee themselves of a bowl trip for the fourth straight season and regain some of their lost confidence for a difficult closing stretch to come.
Wake game represents a crossroads for reeling Tar Heels
The Wilmington Star-News
Whatever significance Wake Forest has put on winning the mythical college-football state championship by beating North Carolina today depends on who you ask.
Deacons have chance to sweep in-state rivals
The Winston-Salem Journal
Wake Forest is going for the state sweep today.
The Demon Deacons have defeated North Carolina State and Duke. Only North Carolina, which is waiting in Chapel Hill for the first Atlantic Coast Conference meeting between the teams since 2007, stands in the way.
Demon Deacons go for state sweep
The Burlington Times-News
The NCAA has seen the evidence, laid out the violations, read North Carolina's response and on Friday heard the defense.
Now, it's time for the governing body of college athletics to give us some kind of final verdict regarding the nine major violations it has levied against the Tar Heel football program.
UNC would benefit from quick verdict
The Fayetteville Observer