Wake Forest takes on rival North Carolina tomorrow afternoon in one of the oldest rivalries in all of college football. The Deacs look for their fourth consecutive conference win and fifth consecutive overall win after defeating Syracuse 38-14 two weeks ago. The game is set for noon at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Here’s how the staff thinks the outcome of the game will be:
Cam (5 correct-Clemson, Campbell, Virginia, Virginia Tech, & Syracuse; 1 incorrect-NC State):
Wake Forest 30-North Carolina 24
I think this plays out very, very similar to the Wake-VT game and the UNC-BC game. This is without a doubt the best overall team UNC has played all year. They caught UVA with Armstrong back, but that team still has some major flaws on defense. They caught VT when Hooker wasn’t starting and by the time he came in, the defense that was down 10 people couldn’t hold on long enough to give that offense a fighting chance to come back. Taking a loss to the worst FSU team in 10 years is atrocious.
On the field, the gameplan is simple but needs to be executed well. On defense, Wake has to use their size and attack UNC where they’re weakest: LT, LG, and mainly C. Brian Anderson hasn’t played well by any single metric. Using Boogie, Rondell, and Miles Fox to attack this and force Sam Howell to be uncomfortable will be key. You’re not going to fully contain Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, but if you can hold them to what Herbert had, Wake will be feeling very good about themselves.
Offensively, whatever the Deacs worked on over the break, there has to have been an emphasis of working the short routes over the middle/empty side of the field. UNC brings a 5th and 6th rusher a considerable amount of time (Chazz Surratt blitzes on about 25% of pass plays, Jeremiah Gemmel 16.4%, Ja’Qurious Conley 14%) and a lot of the time they’re delayed blitzes, meaning Wake’s WRs can have a chance to run their routes and someone is bound to be open. This is going to be such a big ask on Michael Jurgens to pick these up, but I think using this time to get healthy he’s up for the task. Sam Hartman is going to have to not hold onto the ball for too long and be willing to scramble which is the best thing you can do against this defense.
Samurai (4 correct-Clemson, Campbell, Virginia, & Syracuse; 2 incorrect-NC State & Virginia Tech):
Wake Forest 24-North Carolina 21
I think we pull off a nail biter.
Adam (3 correct-Clemson, Campbell, & Syracuse; 3 incorrect-NC State, Virginia, & Virginia Tech):
North Carolina 42-Wake Forest 34
This one is tough. The UNC offense has more weapons and one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, but the Deacs have proven that they can score the ball pretty well too. I don’t really trust either defense to be able to get consistent stops, but I still feel like the Wake Forest offense is too reliant on big plays in the running game, and when they don’t get them, they tend to go through lulls where they fail to move the ball and put the defense right back on the field. For that reason, I think I give the edge to the Heels.
Bart (3 correct-Clemson, Campbell, & Syracuse; 3 incorrect-NC State, Virginia, & Virginia Tech)
North Carolina 37-Wake Forest 30
I think Wake is better than Vegas has them, but I still have some defensive questions and I do believe Howell is a solid QB. Should be a fun game and I think Wake is tight in the fourth quarter with a chance to win.
Edward (3 correct-Clemson, Campbell, & Syracuse; 3 incorrect-NC State, Virginia, & Virginia Tech):
Wake Forest 41-North Carolina 35
This one is going to be a shootout, with both teams having high-powered offenses and defenses who struggle at times to contain. Sam Howell will have a field day throwing on Wake’s young secondary, and Michael Carter and Javonte Williams will run all over Wake’s front four and linebackers, but UNC’s special teams will continue to struggle. Plus there’s no reason Sam Hartman can’t throw all over the Carolina defense and Kenneth Walker III and Christian Beal-Smith should both have productive days yet again. In the end I think the Deacs steal a close one in Chapel Hill, and cement their spot in the top four of the ACC.
North Carolina 31-Wake Forest 24
The Deacs look to use their extra time and continue their win streak. Though a double-digit dog, the Deacs will likely keep this competitive.
Look for the offense to continue to pace Wake, especially behind the strong running game. In the end, UNC is a bit too much and the Deacs fall in a close one.
How do you all think this game will turn out? Comment below.