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Game Recap: Deacs Top Heels in Legendary 28-27 Thriller


Now, before you guys strain your eyes from rolling them at the title of this recap, let's just go over some basic pieces of this game:

First, our already paper thin offensive line experienced more injuries. Second, Tanner Price would not find the end zone with his arm even a single time in this game. Nikita Whitlock would go down with an injury. Tanner would throw an interception on the first play back on offense after a UNC touchdown that tied the game. Wake would need to go 93 yards in order to score the winning touchdown, when the offense hadn't gone that far in all of their previous second half drives combined. The rushing game would average an absurdly sad 1.9 YPC, which was nearly doubled up by the Tar Heels.

Yet somehow, despite all these dire truths on paper, the Deacs managed to somehow rally together and scrape a win against their immensely talented in-state rivals.

To read exactly how, read more after the jump...

  • Offense was sporadic in this game. There were some great things. Tanner Price had a career day with 327 yards on 27-38. Oddly, Tanner didn't have any passing touchdowns but had two rushing, including one that was the very definition of "I'd rather be lucky than good," wherein Tanner bobbled the snap, picked it up and scrambled through a massive hole for the easy touchdown. The other touchdown was a gutsy rush that ended up being the game winner . Michael Campanaro continued to be an absolute stud, but there were also key grabs from Brandon Terry, Sherman Ragland III, Terrence Davis and Tommy Bohanon. As much as the offense struggled, they came through when it mattered, going 93 yards in a high pressure situation. Our rushing game was terrible overall, but Josh Harris had a couple of good carries including a nice touchdown, and DeAndre Martin, the freshman who had a huge showing last week, had some nice carries and a beautiful pass on a trickeration play.
  • Defense, how I love thee, let me count the ways. The defense was tremendous in this game. Nikita Whitlock (and other defensive players, for that matter) went down to injury much to the chagrin of the Deacon faithful, but the D came together and found a way to win. Special props go to Hasan Hazime, who came up huge up front when Nikita got injured. Even when Tanner threw an interception the first play from scrimmage after UNC's tying touchdown, the defense battled hard and managed to hold the Heels to a field goal. I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention here that UNC got chippy a lot, particularly on offense, but our boys kept their heads and avoided any penalties. UNC had a more balanced attack than Wake, getting big rushing games from A.J. Blue and Romar Morris in the absence of Giovanni Bernard, but it ultimately wasn't enough. The other play I wanted to mention was a positively crushing hit that the defense laid on UNC QB Bryn Renner that actually appeared to knock him out momentarily. A couple years ago, I'd have loved a hit like that, but after all we know about concussions, it just made me cringe. Best wishes to Mr. Renner, hopefully he wasn't injured.
  • Our kicking game remained fantastic. Jimmy Newman missed a field goal (twice, actually) but was great on kickoffs and reliable on extra points, and Alexander Kinal was tremendous on punts, including a clutch punt in the waning moments of the game to pin the Heels inside their own 1 yard line. Our coverage was also great. If we could just get better in the return game, then we would really be in business on special teams.
  • I fully expect us to get beat by FSU, but the team certainly looked worlds better than the team that played against Liberty. They made huge plays when it mattered, won the turnover battle again, didn't panic, and had short memories when it was important: after mistakes. The team showed talent, heart, grit, and tremendous team spirit that genuinely reminded me of the 2006 year (not that I'm predicting anything). I was honestly amazed that they pulled this out. Our guys need to get healthy, though. We've had the injury bug enough already. 2-0, eh? I'll take that, that;s for sure. I'd rather be an ugly winner than a pretty loser.

    As always, leave comments below, thanks for reading, and Go Deacs.