Wake Forest defeats North Carolina 24-18 in an unconventional non-conference game.
In a non-conference matchup of ACC foes, Wake Forest junior quarterback, Jamie Newman accounted for three total touchdowns to take down in-state rival North Carolina, 24-18. The contest pushed the Demon Deacons to 3-0 on the season, while the Tar Heels fell just short of making its third-straight fourth quarter comeback.
Newman’s big night leads Wake past North Carolina
Following an unimpressive start to the game for both offenses, the Demon Deacons finally broke the seal towards the end of the first quarter. Thanks to a UNC fumble on the Carolina 20-yard line, it took Wake only two plays to find the end zone. Newman’s second rushing score of the year gave the Deacs an early 7-0 lead as the North Carolina offense sputtered through most of the first half. On their ensuing drive, Newman led a five-play, 78-yard drive to set up his second rushing score of the night.
By the time the first quarter came to a close, the Tar Heels had only 19 yards of offense without picking up a single first down. Carolina’s offensive struggles continued into the second quarter as highly-touted freshman quarterback, Sam Howell, played so poorly that head coach Mack Brown benched him in favor of backup, Jace Ruder. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, the Demon Deacons had already built up a 21-0 lead following a 51-yard strike from Newman to sophomore receiver, Sage Surratt. At the break, Wake led 21-0 while limiting the UNC offense to only 69 first-half yards.
The third quarter was uneventful for both sides, with the exception of a Noah Ruggles field goal to cut the UNC deficit to 18. However, in the fourth quarter, things would begin to get interesting.
On Carolina’s first drive of the final quarter, Howell led a commanding six-play, 80-yard drive to score the team’s first touchdown of the night on an 11-yard pass to Michael Carter. Earlier in the drive, Howell had connected with Charlotte-native, Dyami Brown on a 55-yard bomb to put the Heels in enemy territory. On the following Tar Heel possession, Carter broke loose for a 50-yard gain to set up Howell’s second passing score of the quarter, a 17-yarder to the aforementioned Brown. The Heels would succeed in converting the two-point conversion, narrowing the score to 21-18 with just over six minutes to play.
Once Wake got the ball back, the Demon Deacons were determined to put the game away on offense. Following what could have been a disastrous sack, Newman completed a 27-yard pass to move the Deacs into UNC territory and keep the drive alive. Wake failed to run out the clock, however, it did force the Tar Heels to burn all three timeouts and resulted in a field goal to put the Demon Deacons up, 24-18. Carolina could have had a shot at a last-second Hail Mary attempt, however, Carter failed to get out of bounds in time to stop the clock, resulting in the clock rolling to all zeros and securing Wake Forest’s fifth-straight win dating back to last year.
Wake Forest head coach, Dave Clawson, had this say to say in response to his team’s late 12-play drive to seal the game:
“Making those first downs and driving the ball, that drive was the game-saver. Because if they get the ball back at midfield or on their 30 with 4½ minutes left and three timeouts, I wasn’t feeling real good about it.”
Howell finished the game 17 for 28 passing with 182 yards and two touchdowns, while Carter ran for 96 yards on 13 carries. On the other sideline, Jamie Newman finished the game with three total touchdowns, one in the air and two on the ground. Surratt finished with a career-high 169 yards on 9 receptions and a touchdown for the Demon Deacons. It’s also worth noting that Wake Forest ran for 222 yards as a team. Perhaps the deciding factor in the game was the fact that UNC managed to convert only two of its 16 third downs, despite going three for three on fourth down.
Wake Forest will play its first Saturday game of the season next weekend when it hosts Elon for another non-conference matchup. North Carolina will return home to host undefeated Appalachian State next Saturday afternoon.