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Quick Hitters - North Carolina vs. Wake Forest

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 58-55 home win over Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon in Kenan Stadium.

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 58-55 home win over Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon in Kenan Stadium.

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

  • What a comeback for Carolina, and for the second year in a row, against Wake Forest. The biggest deficit this time around was 18 (45-27), achieved when Wake scored with 7:38 left in the third quarter.
  • The best part of this victory is that it all but assures Carolina will make a bowl game. The Tar Heels still need one victory to secure bowl eligibility status, but even if they lost to their two remaining ACC foes, they should be able to handle Wofford in two weeks.
  • Carolina is now 4-0 following a loss this season. Mack Brown often talks about the importance of not letting one loss turn into two and his team has done exactly that throughout the 2021 season.
  • Another week, another entry in the UNC record for Sam Howell. Today he passed Marquise Williams’ record for most career total offense (10,423). Passing for 216 yards and adding another 104 on the ground, Howell has 10,505 yards of total offense. Howell’s 11-yard third quarter pass to Kamari Morales was the play during which Howell actually passed Williams. Here's video of all of Howell's exploits from the game:
  • Howell’s third quarter touchdown pass to Antoine Green also kept alive his streak of having thrown at least one touchdown in every game of his college career (34).
  • Something to keep an eye on, especially on a short week: Sam Howell took a lot of big hits today, including one that him down on the field injured with 4:00 left in the game. After sitting out the requisite one play, he was right back in. Will Howell be at full strength come Thursday night in Pittsburgh?
  • On the first play from scrimmage, Ty Chandler rushed for 13 yards, and fumbled. It was a great run, with a frustrating result (not to mention that replay seemed to indicate that Chandler’s knee was down before the ball was out, but the play was not overturned). That misstep might have led to a poor performance for Chandler. Instead he added 200 more rushing yards and four touchdowns to his daily tally. Not to mention hauling in one catch for 50 yards. This was his first career game with 200-plus rushing yards (at Tennessee or Carolina), eclipsing his previous high of 198 earlier this year against Virginia. Watch highlights of Chandler's big day:
  • It really is hard to believe that in back-to-back years the Tar Heels have overcome 21- and 18-point second half deficits against Wake Forest.
  • Breaking news: for the first time all season, Josh Downs did not lead the team in receptions. That title goes to Antoine Green who had six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
  • In fact, it was the first time all season that Downs didn’t have a first quarter reception. His first catch happened with 11:05 left in the second quarter and importantly helped Carolina pick up a first down on a 4th-&-7 play.
  • On the topic of receptions, Justin Olson only had one, but it was an absolute beauty in the third quarter. Here's video of the play:
  • In the first quarter, the Tar Heel offense was oddly unbalanced in play selection - 13 runs and just two passes. This play calling tells me two things: Carolina believes they can run well against Wake and they’re trying to keep the Wake offense off the field.
  • Jeremiah Gemmel was ejected for targeting on the final play of the first quarter. The Tar Heel defense that had already been struggling was put in an even more precarious scenario with their leader out for the final three quarters.
  • One of the defenders to step up was Cam Kelly, who had two interceptions, both on third down. Had he dropped either pass, Carolina still would have received the ball on the next play via a punt, but his good hands work gave his offense great field position.
  • The much-maligned defensive unit unfortunately had another rough day, but did what they needed to in the final quarter. After allowing Wake to score on each of the three previous drives, their first three drives of the quarter resulted in an interception and two turnovers-on-downs.
  • The crucial play (& decision) of the game for my money’s worth: Wake had the ball at the Carolina 28 on 4th-&-2 in the series immediately following the Tar Heels knotting things up at 48. Wake has arguably the best kicker in the country, but elected to go for it on fourth down rather than taking an almost certain three points and the lead. Sam Hartman dropped back to pass, but his throw never made it past the line of scrimmage because Ray Vohasek knocked the ball down. Carolina got the ball, went down and got a field goal of their own to take a 51-48 lead and never looked back.
  • Sam Howell wasn’t going to allow Chandler to have the only successful ground game. The Tar Heel quarterback recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season and third in the last four games (it should be sixth total game and fourth in a row, but as a reminder the NCAA inexplicably counts lost sack yardage against a player’s rushing totals, unlike the NFL).
  • Howell had several impressive runs, including a run less than five minutes into the game where he somehow slipped out of shoestring tackle, didn't go down, and ran for a first down on 3rd-&-8. He also added two touchdown runs, both of which were equally as impressive. Watch all three of these ridiculous runs:
  • Howell’s first touchdown run was his 35th run this season of 10 or more yards, the most of any player in FBS, regardless of position. He added two more such runs for a current total of 37.
  • With the way both Ty Chandler and Sam Howell were blowing up would-be tacklers today, you could almost say they each resembled Javonte Williams.
  • While the Wake Forest onside kick at the end of the game probably should never have happened (multiple silly unsportsmanlike penalties on Carolina gave the Demon Deacons great field position in the last minute), Garrett Walston made a great football play by simply batting the ball out of bounds rather than trying to corral it. Carolina ball. Victory formation.
  • Let’s stay with the penalties for a minute. UNC now has nine or more penalties in four straight games. They also set their season high in penalty yards with 118. The frustrating thing is that several of the flags were self-inflicted such as the two penalties referenced above. Within the final 90 seconds, Carolina racked up two unsportsmanlike penalties for a player taking his helmet off before leaving the field. Perhaps it’s a silly rule, but it is a rule, and one that players have to abide by.
  • A potentially overlooked important 61 seconds in the game: Just before halftime Wake scored to go up 10 (31-21), the first time either team established a two-score lead. Howell was able to lead his team down to the Wake 14 and although they weren’t able to score a touchdown, they got an Atkins field goal to close the gap back down to one possession at the half.

Box Score

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Read More

Mack Brown postgame press conference

Players postgame press conference

Ty Chandler 

Sam Howell 

Power Echols 

Cedric Gray 

Cam Kelly

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. Next up is a road game against Pittsburgh on Thursday, November 11. Kickoff is at 7:30pm ET on ESPN.

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