Every writer on the Blogger So Dear staff predicted a North Carolina victory, but no one anticipated this much of a lopsided contest. The Vegas oddsmakers finished with a betting line of 17-points, which was less than half of the final differential. I questioned the betting line, but that's why they are still building tall buildings in Las Vegas. What went wrong for the Demon Deacons?
Wake Forest started off this game very strong. They continued last week's momentum by intercepting Marquise Williams on the first two drives. Mike Weaver missed a long field goal on the first drive, but the Deacs capitalized after the second interception. Wolford connected with Cam Serigne, and the Deacs went up 7-0. In general, I thought Wolford played a solid game tonight. He had a high completion percentage, and didn't turn the ball over. He had a significantly better performance against Carolina than he did against Boston College. He got hit late, however, and that was a damn shame.
The first four minutes of the second quarter were the difference in the game. The Tar Heels scored 22 points in 3:34. The two-point conversion came as a result of the Wake Forest defense not having appropriate numbers. That's an alignment issue, and that should never happen.
I give credit to the Wake Forest offense for responding with a 12-play, 75 yard drive to make it 22-14. Tabari Hines had a heck of a reception on the touchdown catch. Carolina quickly responded, however, with a 12-play, 76 yard drive that took just 1:46. Chunk yardage was absolutely the story in this one. Wake Forest's offense is getting better, but they are still too dependent on having to have sustained drives. Explosiveness should come with time, but that time is not here yet.
Wake Forest also played reasonably well in the third quarter, but then Carolina went on a massive run. The Heels finished the third quarter with a 7-play, 77 yard touchdown drive that took just 2:37. At the start of the fourth, Wake had a three-and-out that was followed by Carolina scoring a touchdown just two plays later. They went 75 yards on just 2 plays on that drive. On the next Wake Forest drive, Alex Kinal had to catch the ball near the ground, which resulted in a knee, and essentially a 14-yard sack on 4th down. Have no fear, for the Heels scored a touchdown 3 plays later to make it 50-14, and that ended up being the final score.
This game was essentially decided during the first five minutes of the 2nd quarter and the first five minutes of the 4th quarter. Those minutes are proof of just how important explosiveness is in an offense. North Carolina had just six more first downs than the Wake Forest offense, but 228 more yards!
The Wake Forest offense really didn't perform that poorly. They had possession for 37 minutes, and converted 8 of 18 third downs. Mike Weaver missed two field goals that were makeable. It's tough to be too critical of Wake's offensive performance this evening.
The defense, however, was a completely different story. The Wake Forest defense had held its opponents scoreless over the past 5 1/2 quarters. They actually extended that streak into the first play of the second quarter of this contest, but then the wheels fell off. The defense allowed Carolina to accumulate 538 total yards in just 23 minutes of play. Marquise Williams averaged 14.1 per pass attempt, and running back Elijah Hood averaged 12.6 yards/carry. There was little pressure on Williams, and receivers were consistently WIDE OPEN.
Wake Forest must now rebound against North Carolina State. State is coming off of a bye week, so that will be a challenge, but State does not have nearly the amount of talent that the Heels do. This is another huge opportunity for the Wake Forest football program. They failed the test tonight. With a strong week of preparation, they can pass next week's.