North Carolina hosts Wake Forest in the fourth game of a stretch never seen before in the program’s ACC history.
In successive weeks, the Tar Heels have faced NC State, Virginia, Duke and now the Demon Deacons, Carolina’s four biggest rivals. Never before have the Heels faced all four, back-to-back.
The Heels are coming off a blowout win over Duke, and coach Mack Brown said it was important for the team to focus and come out with a strong effort. In recent weeks, the Heels have been more dialed in after losses than wins, leading to alternating wins and losses for the past five weeks.
To break through against Wake, the Heels will need to beat a team who does well where Carolina has struggled. Wake is second in the conference in fewest penalties, an area where UNC has struggled. Wake also has two strong running backs which help spur the dual threat of its run-pass option scheme. The Tar Heels have had trouble stopping the run this season. The Deacs also lead the country in turnover margin.
The Tar Heels will have to stop another sophomore quarterback named Sam. While Sam Howell has led UNC’s explosive offense, Wake’s Sam Hartman is off to a strong start for the Deacs. He has yet to throw an interception this season.
On defense, Carolina will need to find a way to slow down defensive end Carlos Basham, who is one of the top pass rush prospects in the conference. The Heels were able to control Duke’s pass rush last week and will need a similar effort against Basham.
Injury updates for UNC: WR Beau Corrales and DB Storm Duck are both out. No surprise since both have missed the last few games.
Center Brian Anderson is a game-time decision.
Fashion update: UNC will be wearing throwbacks today: light blue jerseys and helmets, white pants
Wake is all white with gold chrome helmets
Wake calls tails and wins. Deacs defer. UNC gets it first. Let's do this. Play ball
UNC goes for it on fourth-and-2 from the Wake 39. Javonte Williams pushed hard against the pile but was inches short. Wake ball.
Wake moved the ball downfield quickly. Didn't seem encumbered by UNC's defense. Walker takes a direct snap in from one yard out to put Wake on top 7-0.
That's Walker's 12th rushing touchdown on the year, tying him for fourth-most in Wake single-season history, with Ovie Mughelli (2002) and Chris Barclay (2003)
Some missed tackles for UNC on the drive, including one that set Wake up inside the 10, but for the most part, the Deacs found plenty of open field to run.
First snap of the drive, Howell to Newsome for 75 yards. Touchdown. Ref threw a flag for ineligible man downfield but picked it up after a conference. We're tied at seven.
Longest career reception for Dazz. Second longest TD pass of Howell's career.
Gemmel pressures Hartman, resulting in a pass picked off by Chris Collins. Tip of the ball may have hit the ground, though. They're reviewing it.
Good effort by Gemmel, who was knocked down but rolled toward the QB until he was able to get back to his feet.
Call gets reversed. Incomplete pass. Wake ball.
Howell to Dyami Brown for 54 yards, sets UNC up inside the 10.
Drive stalls and Atkins hits from 26 out to give UNC the lead, 10-7
Beal-Smith runs for 37 and Hartman to Roberson takes it the remaining 40. Wake quickly back on top, 14-10.
Don't blink. We have another score. Howell hits Dyami Brown who has an all-time juke to walk into the end zone. 23 yards. UNC back up 17-14.
Wake is moving again. Reaches the UNC 17 before the first quarter runs out.
First play of second quarter, Hartman to Green for a TD. 21-17 Wake
There have been three touchdowns and a field goal in the last 14 plays.
All that Dazz. Howell to Newsome for 44 yards. 24-21 Heels back on top. We are now up to 31 points in the last 19 snaps.
Taylor Morin with an incredible catch in double coverage to take Wake to the eight yard line. Sam Hartman holds onto a high snap and keeps it, fumbling at the goal line but getting in for the touchdown. Wake up 28-24.
Howell threw for 232 yards in the first quarter, most by an FBS quarterback in any quarter this season.
Newsome already has 164 yards in the game, most ever by a UNC receiver against Wake, breaking the record set by Tony Blanchard (149) in 1968
Having a linebacker on Greene is not working. He keeps getting open up the middle. Five catches for 136 so far.
Beal-Smith rips off 17 yards. He's over 100 yards rushing for the day
For UNC, Howell is over 300 passing. Dyami Brown joins Newsome over 100 receiving yards. Trying to get all the offensive milestones in before the next score
Walker reaches the end zone again. Wake now up 35-24 and will get the ball to start the second half. UNC in a bit of danger zone right here with 1:28 to go before half.
That was Walker's 13th touchdown run on the year, tying him for third on the Wake season list with John Polanski (1939)
Javonte Williams, on just his fifth carry of the half, converts a fourth and 2 just shy of midfield.
Long pass from Howell. Dyami Brown tries to make a one-handed catch, but Wake's Ja'Sir Taylor takes it away. Ruling is an interception. It's being reviewed.
Ruling stands. Wake gets the ball at the one with 24 seconds to half.
At the half, UNC is in a tough spot. Down 35-24. Wake gets the ball to start the second half, so UNC will need a stop to avoid a three-score deficit. Defense has not been able to stop the run or the pass over the middle. Offense drifted away from the run in the second half as points started flying.
UNC keeps Wake out of the end zone on the first possession after half. Sciba hits from 41 yards out to make it 38-24 Wake.
The puzzling lack of touches for Javonte Williams continues. Michael Carter has twice as many attempts, but fewer yards.
Two short Carter runs and an incompletion gives UNC a three and out. Since the scoring frenzy, UNC now has three punts and an interception on the last four drives.
Greene wide open. Touchdown Wake. Deacs now up 45-24. UNC following the script of FSU and Virginia losses...
Dyami Brown costs his brother a touchdown. As Khafri ran up the sidelie for a sure score, Dyami lit up a Wake defender with a blindside block. Pass officially goes for 65 yards. UNC in business at the Wake 25.
Howell now over 400 yards on the day, most by a Tar Heel against Wake. Previous record was Darian Durant (361) in 2001
Goal line fade never works ... except this time. Howell to Dyami for a touchdown, Dyami's second of the day. UNC cuts it to 45-31
Dyami Brown now has 21 receiving touchdowns, tying Hakeem Nicks for second on UNC career list. Sam Howell has 59 passing TDs moving past TJ Yates into fourth
Rushing attempts in this game:
1. Beal-Smith, Wake 14
2. Carter, UNC 12
3. Walker, Wake 11
4. Hartman, Wake, 9
5. Javonte Williams, UNC 7
No touches for Williams on that drive. UNC punting
First play of the fourth quarter: Howell to Carter for 46 yards. Touchdown. UNC now down seven, 45-38
Howell now has 495 yards, setting UNC's single-game record
Javonte Williams now has the fifth-highest number of carries in the game and second-highest yardage total. As Michael Carter gets the ball and loses two yards on first down.
Twelve-yard run by Williams gives UNC first and goal. Howell hits Walston for the touchdown. School record six TD passes in the game for Howell. We are tied at 45. 8:19 to play
Sam Howell cuts and runs on third and 10 from the 20, takes it to the house. UNC has erased a 21-point deficit, including a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Both would be school records if they hold up. Heels lead 52-45 with 4:11 left.
Howell has broken Kelvin Bryant's 1981 record for most touchdowns responsible for (passing and running) in a game with 7.
Wake goes for it on fourth and nine at its 26. Surratt sacks Hartman for 11 yards loss. Tar Heel ball at the Wake 15, up seven, 3:30 left.
Javonte Williams takes it 15 yards for the touchdown, his eighth straight game with a score. 59-45 Heels. 2:39 left.
Hartman leads Wake downfield and hits Roberson for a score. Goes for two and gets it. Cuts UNC's lead to 59-53 with 57 seconds left. Wake has no time outs left.
Javonte Williams gets the onside kick and that should do it. UNC has its biggest home comeback in history, ties the biggest overall comeback in history and ties the biggest fourth quarter comeback in history to win 59-53