Today, North Carolina plays Wake Forest in Winston Salem. The Deacons, at 5-2 and 3-1 in conference, are on pace to have a decent chance at defending their Cinderella run to the ACC Championship. Meanwhile, UNC is at 2-5, but are past the hardest part of their schedule. The UNC defense needs a big game today in order to win and keep the slim bowl hopes alive. More importantly, they cannot have ill-timed turnovers like in their four close losses.
12:11 pm: Brandon Tate returns the opening kickoff to the 29 yard line to start the game.
12:12 pm: On the very first play from scrimmage, Exactly what we needed not to happen…happened. Yates rushes a throw to the outside, but he doesn’t see linebacker Aaron Curry in the path of the ball, and suddenly Wake has the ball in field goal range.
12:13 pm: Kenny Moore takes the ball in Wake’s first play, and he runs the ball 20 yards on the right side to the 11 yard line.
12:14 pm: The Carolina defense holds on and prevents a touchdown. Sam Swank kicks the easy field goal, and Wake leads 3-0. The Tar Heels prevent the touchdown, but they show how not to score this game.
This has been one of the biggest problems for this team in 2007. We’ve had close games, but in all of our close losses we’ve started behind and had to play catch-up for nearly the entire game.
12:19 pm: UNC goes right back to the pass. This time Yates completes the screen to Bobby Rome, who runs for the first down.
12:20 pm: Greg Little takes the handoff on the end around, and he gets about seven yards to the right side. Johnny White’s next run, however, is stuffed behind the line of scrimmage.
12:21 pm: False start, right tackles. Exactly what we don;t need on 3rd and 5.
12:22 pm: Wake runs the blitz, no one blocks on the right side, and Yates had absolutely no chance to get the ball off. A sack, and UNC is forced to punt.
12:25 pm: Charles Brown is starting at cornerback in place of Jermain Strong, who has been suspended for undisclosed reasons. Like we really needed less depth in the secondary.
12:27 pm: Riley Skinner is given all kinds of time after the fake handoffs, and finds a wide open Kenny Moore on the sidelines for another Wake first down.
12:28 pm: SACK! UNC puts the pressure, and Charles Brown comes in for the sack to force a third and long.
12:29 pm: AHHHHHHHHH!!! Few things are more frustrating to watch than seeing your defense give up a first down…on third a long…off of a screen pass.
12:31 pm: The defense is starting to show its relative inexperience. Wake’s subterfuge on offense has led to quite a few open receivers. This time, Tereshinski (the Wake TE) is wide open 20 yards downfield as a result of the play-action rollout.
12:35 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Passing gets Wake into the red zone, but Josh Adams takes them the rest of the way, ending in a 6-yard walk into the endzone. Wake leads 10-0. and this game, 10 minutes in, is already starting to look bad.
12:39 pm: Another third down…another false start on our right tackle. This cannot happen if we want to win.
12:40 pm: Yates gets time in the pocket, and fires a pass down the middle to Zack Pianalto for a big first down.
12:41 pm: Johnny White takes the ball to the right side and get nine yards. He’s hit at the line of scrimmage on the next play, but he has enough for a first down.
12:42 pm: Tate takes the handoff, and he find a big hole to the right side. First down, and UNC is finally in Wake territory.
12:44 pm: Yates is flushed out of the pocket, but he finds a seam up the middle, and he scrambles for another UNC first down inside the 30.
12:45 pm: The first quarter ends. Wake Forest leads 10-0, but the Tar Heels are driving to get back into this game.
12:48 pm: Yates completes the pass to Richard Quinn, setting up a 3rd and short at the 20. Ryan Houston takes the handoff, but he’s stopped behind the line. UNC will have to settle for a field goal.
12:49 pm: The field goal is good. UNC gets on the board, and at 10-3 Wake, it’s a one possession game again.
12:52 pm: NO! UNC is feeling good, having just brought it back to a 7 point game, they kick the ball off…and Kevin Marion returns the kickoff 98 yards, untouched, for a touchdown. That was a huge special teams breakdown; there was no one to tackle the returner, and Wake suddenly leads 17-3 without their offense needing to take a snap.
12:55 pm: Great. Another false start penalty for Carolina.
12:56 pm: Anthony Elzy is trapped 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage, but he finds his way out of the pile, gets a huge run up the suddenly open middle, and he comes very close to a first down.
12:58 pm: Yates runs the QB draw, but he’s a yard short. I personally think the Heels are chicken to punt in this situation, but if they go for the first down, fail, and Wake scores, this game is over. UNC punts, and miraculously, they manage to down the ball inside the Wake Forest 1 yard line.
1:02 pm: UNC forces the three and out, and should get the defensive stop and good field position that they desperately need. After the punt, the Heels will start in Wake territory.
1:06 pm: SACK! Wake continues to put a lot of pressure on T.J. Yates. Even worse, the Tar Heels are called for their fourth false start penalty, and their third such penalty on third down.
1:08 pm: Nicks gets smoe decent yardage after the catch, but is stopped well short of the first down. 3 plays, one penalty, -7 yards. Not good.
1:10 pm: Wake is finally called for their first penalty of the game; they were caught holding Marvin Austin.
1:12 pm: UNC tackles the tailback on the swing pass, a loss of 2. Third and 19.
1:13 pm: The Tar Heels get another big defensive stop. Swank rugby kicks the punt to prevent a return.
UNC gets the ball back with under 4 minutes left until halftime. A touchdown before halftime would make it a one-possession game again.
1:15 pm: Yates is flushed to the left side, but he fires the ball to Nicks on the sidelines for a first down.
1:16 pm: ANOTHER FALSE START! What on earth is going on inside these players’ heads today?
1:17 pm: Pianalto catches the pass tp the left side, but it’s still 3rd and 5.
SACK! Yates goes down for the third time today, as a linebacker goes untouched up the middle. Fourth down.
1:21 pm: Wake has good field position with about a minute left, But Hilee Taylor’s sack forces the Deacons to use a timeout.
1:24 pm: UNC puts the pressure on Riley Skinner again, and he’s forced to run out of bounds. The Heels defense have held in the last three possessions.
1:26 pm: Carolina runs the clock out to end the first half. Wake leads 17-3 at halftime. If UNC wants any hope of coming back, the defense needs to keep plying they way they did near the end of the half, and T.J. Yates needs to find holes in the Wake defense. Most importantly however–and I think I’ve said this for all of our close games–WE CANNOT MAKE STUPID MISTAKES.
1:55 pm: If you’re just re-joining us, you can clearly see the most important thing we must do is not make mistakes. Well, less than 4 minutes into the game, we stopped Wake’s initial drive and force a punt, but a UNC player touches the loose ball before it’s downed, and Wake recovers in the red zone. Granted, it a freakish bounce, and at best it grazed Richie Rich’s leg, but still…UNC has not been very lucky today.
1:59 pm: Wake appears to fumble the ball, and UNC recovers. However, the call is close, and Grobe asks for the play to go under review.
Nearly four minutes later, they still haven’t made an official ruling.
2:01 pm: The refs finally make a decision…and the call is reversed. UNC’s fumble recovery is nullified.
2:03 pm: UNC defense steps up again, preventing the touchdown. Swank kicks the field goal and Wake leads 20-3. Not to repeat what I’ve just said about mistakes, but without UNC’s big mistakes, the score would be, at worst, 7-3.
2:09 pm: 3 and out, North Carolina. The Tar Heels need big points in this game, but on that drive it looked like they weren’t even trying to get the ball downfield.
2:14 pm: Wake Forest’s running backs are having their way with the UNC defense on this drive, the latest a big run into the red zone by Micah Andrews. The Heels defense must be exhausted; they’ve been on the field for nearly the entire third quarter.
2:18 pm: About the first real break we’ve gotten in the second half. Wake has been called for two straight blocking penalties, and have played themselves out of field goal range.
2:22 pm: Micah Andrews gets a decent run on 3rd down, and it’s just enough to give Wake Forest another field goal. Wake’s lead is now 23-3, and only 16 minutes remain in this game.
2:25 pm: UNC finally gets a few big plays, and within two plays UNC has driven 51 yards and into Wake territory.
2:26 pm: The third quarter ends, and Wake leads 23-3. This game appears out of reach, but will UNC try to emotionally pull us back into the game in the fourth quarter?
2:29 pm: Hakeem Nicks gets the pass on third and short, and he gets to the 23 yard line.
2:30 pm: Johnny White gets the handoff, and good blocking leads to another first down. UNC is now in the red zone.
2:31 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Yates runs the playaction, and Bobby Rome was wide open on the right side, and he walked into the endzone. UNC’s deficit is now 23-10. A nice drive by the Tar Heels, but by now I know better than to get too excited at this point.
2:34 pm: NOOOO!!! NOT AGAIN! Kevin Marion takes the kickoff from the UNC score again, and he gets a huge return again. Wake will start inside the red zone, as a trip is the only thing that stops the touchdown.
2:35 pm: TOUCHDOWN. Josh Adams finds a seam and gets a touchdown on the very next play. Wake leads 30-10, and UNC is defeinitely not coming back from this one.
2;39 pm: One can reasonably expect UNC to make mistakes, but one of the few things that UNC could reliably do was make catches. Watching Hakeem Nicks drop that pass, even though it was high, might be his first drop of the season.
2:41 pm: Yates is throwing the ball well again, and UNC has two straight first down.
2:42 pm: Nicks gets the ball again, and Wake is called for a late hit penalty on top of that. UNC is within striking distance again.
2:44 pm: INTERCEPTION! Yates throws a pass to the outside, but again he doesn’t see LB Aaron Curry, he intercepts the ball in stride, and this time he takes it 77 yards back for a TOUCHDOWN. Wake leads, 37-10, as mistakes continue to haunt the Tar Heels.
2:49 pm: Within the carnage is a bright spot: T.J. Yates now holds the UNC freshman records for completions (144) and passing yards (1, 871), eclipsing Darian Durant in each category.
2:52 pm: Yates makes a truly insane pass play, but it’s called back because a lineman was downfield.
2:53 pm: UNC turns the ball over on downs.
3:04 pm: An interesting stat that re-assures UNC’s place as the “youngest” team in 1-A this year: more true freshman have played for UNC in this game (11) than have played for Wake Forest in six years (10).
3:06 pm: As the game is drawing to a close, next week’s game between Wake Forest and Virginia will now have big ACC implications.
3:07 pm: This blowout finally comes to a merciful end. Wake Forest wins, 37-10 despite having only one true touchdown drive. This was a pretty devastating loss, who needed this win, but never seemed to have given themselves much of a chance, literally, from the very first play.