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Recap In Brief: Wake Forest Squanders 21 Point Lead, Loses To UNC 59-53

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I have got very little nice to say right now, so I’m gonna keep it short.

Wake Forest v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Wake Forest went up 45-24 with 6:56 left in the third quarter. At that point, according to ESPN, they had a 97.6% chance of winning the game. What followed was one of the worst collective performances I think I’ve seen in some time, with the defense giving up 75 yards in less than two and a half minutes, the offense stalling, and then the defense giving up another 74 yards in 4 plays, 1:03, and, after more offensive futility, a nine play, 81 yard drive to tie the game, at which point it was all over but the shouting. I’m not saying there’s not plenty of blame to go around, but for any defense to give up 742 yards of offense and 59 points is atrocious. Absolutely atrocious. The offense didn’t necessarily do the defense many favors given how impotent they were after that point in their own right, though. Three drives with a combined 11 plays and a little over four minutes of game time isn’t going to do it. Offensively, near as I can tell, the biggest problem was that some outside speed runs worked well early for big plays, as did launching it deep down the field, so that was all they were going to do at that point. When you’re up 21, why on Earth wouldn’t you at least try to grind down some clock with inside runs? You probably won’t get huge chunks, but at that point it literally doesn’t matter. Blame could go everywhere, and frankly it probably needs to when you blow a game that you only had a 2.4% chance of losing. Dropped passes, bad throws, impotent runs, terrible tackling, baffling play calls, this game had it all. Of course, when the team WAS playing well, they looked very good. But style points mean nothing if the outcome doesn’t go your way and involves letting the other team set records all over the place.

I really don’t even know what else to say right now. This is one of the more feast or famine Wake teams I’ve seen in a while. You can’t say they’re bad. They’re not. You also, however, can’t emphatically say they’re good. They’re a baffling enigma capable of both spectacular success and dismal failure. That’s definitely better than being outright bad, but boy howdy does it make for some infuriating viewing. I’d go over individual stats, but after that game I really don’t see the point. There were some pretty incredible stats that leap off the page, but when you realize they were accompanied by an implosion, it doesn’t really mean much. The Deacs have some amazing assets, but it’s hard to call them cohesive, at least on a consistent basis. I should probably shout out Sam Howell though, who accounted for SEVEN TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS, a record tying 6 through the air and another on the ground. I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t point that out, regardless of which team the kid plays for.

I just want to put this one past me. On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF