Monday, January 30, 2023

No. 10 Demon Deacon visits the Tar Heels in a non-convention game

Wake Forest has the highest NWN Top 25 ranking, the best start in the program’s history and is in the running to reach the college football playoffs.

Getting there requires 10th-ranked Damon Deacon to win through November’s demand – starting with Saturday’s unusual match against fellow Atlantic Coast Conference team North Carolina that will not count in the league standings.

This marked the second non-conference game between Damon Deacon (8–0, No. 9 CFP). ) and the Tar Heels (4-4) in three seasons. This stemmed from a 2015 agreement to play home and home series outside of ACC play as they do not meet frequently among the scheduling rotation of the expanded league.

The game won’t affect Wake Forest’s push for their first ACC title since 2006, but could affect just about everything else in a particular season.

“Definitely the temptation is there,” tight end Brandon Chapman said of being caught at the historic start. “We keep reminding each other, putting on the blind. … it’s all about what we believe in and what we think we can do.”

The Tar Heels started the year at number 10, but tried to bowl qualified entering November. They are coming out losing to No. 8 Notre Dame.

“When you’re playing the No. 10 team in the country, very rarely the No. 10 team comes in your place,” UNC coach Mack Brown said. “So what a wonderful opportunity for us.”

Some other things to know about Saturday’s Wake Forest-UNC game:

soccer flight

Expect to see the ball flying frequently.

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman is 10th in the bowl subdivision in passing (309.4 yards) and passing touchdowns (22). He has made 11 touchdowns in the last two weeks against Senna and duke.

“He’s in a little groove right now,” said UNC defensive back Cam Kelly.

UNC’s Sam Howell has seen the Precision Heisman Trophy hype fade, but he is still 13th in FBS with TD passes (19) and 16th in passing (274.0). He has conceded 98 or more yards in five matches with six quick scores.

Wake Forest coach Dave Clausen said, “Anyone who criticizes Sam Howell, and how he played, hasn’t seen a movie on him.”

top target

Wake Forest’s Etsy Perry and North Carolina’s Josh Downs are ranked seventh nationally with eight touchdown catches, while Downs is ranked in the top five in both receiving yards (122.4) and receptions (8.8) per game .

UNC said Downs is the first player nationally with at least eight catches and touchdowns in eight straight games since Fresno State’s Davante Adams — now a pro bowler with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers — had nine straight in 2013. .

key areas

Wake Forest thrives in a pair of key areas. There is a turnover margin, with Damon Deacon ranking fourth in FBS in turnover margin (plus-10). Second is the third-down percentage, where Wake Forest ranks fifth (51.2%).

The Tar Heels are right there in rocking the chains (tied in seventh place at 49.5%), but have also been broken on turnover this season.


The series began in 1888, and teams met every year from 1944 to 2004, before expansion of the league beyond nine teams made those meets less frequently. The non-conference series came because the teams were not scheduled to meet in league play for six seasons (2016–21).

Wake Forest wins first non-conference game at home in 2019 in a game that ended with a substitute mistake, then teams got an additional ACC matchup last year when the league reshuffled its scheduling model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UNC gave him a 59-53 . won550 yards and six TDs as well as a speedy score, rallying from 21 in the third quarter behind Howell setting program records.

roster change

UNC has seen several players enter the transfer portal in recent weeks to change their depth charts, most recently this week with receiver Emery Simmons and defensive lineman Christian Warner. Simmons started six games with 11 catches for 243 yards so far, but did not play against Notre Dame, while Warner appeared in 10 games through the two-plus season.

The school said Khafre Brown on receiver, Clyde Pinder Jr. on defensive lineman and Josh Henderson had entered Portal in the past two weeks.


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