The Deacs are still undefeated, but now they enter what many consider to be the most difficult stretch of the season. The first game up in the stretch is a rematch of last years 53-59 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. The Heels are 4-4 this season despite a preseason top 10 ranking, which we probably should have seen coming given the amount of talent they lost to the NFL in the offseason. To date, no one has picked the Deacs to lose a game this season—with the Deacs being underdogs in a tough road matchup, let’s see if that changes.
- Opponent: North Carolina Tar Heels
- Spread: Wake +2.5
- Over/Under: 76.5
Adam: Wake 45—UNC 42 | Wake +2.5 | Over
Oh man, this one is tough. The Heels have not been great this season, but they still have a solid offense that is averaging over 480 yards and 36 points per game. Also, they have the advantage of playing this game at home, where they have only lost once so far this season.
The North Carolina offense has obviously missed the production of guys like Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown, and Dazz Newsome, but they still have an NFL caliber quarterback in Sam Howell. While Howell’s passing numbers have dipped slightly this season, he has made up for it with his legs. Howell is the 2nd leading rusher for the Heels this season with 595 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns and ranks 2nd in the NCAA in rushes of 10+ yards with 31—that’s 1 more than former Wake Forest running back and Heisman hopeful Kenneth Walker. That means QB contain will once again be extremely important for the Wake Forest defense. In the passing game, Howell has seemingly locked in on throwing almost exclusively to sophomore Josh Downs—Downs has 70 receptions this season, the next closest Tar Heel is Kamari Morales with 17. Taking away Howell’s favorite target will likely be the key to slowing down the Heels’ offense.
On the other side, I’m still not worried about the Wake Forest offense. The Deacs are putting up over 43 points a game and are top 10 in both total offense and scoring offense. In comparison, the North Carolina defense is bottom 75 in the NCAA is both yards allowed and points allowed, so the Deacs should be able to continue scoring plenty of points. If this game comes down to a shootout, much like the last meeting of these two teams, I think the Deacs have the better offense and will ultimately come out on top.
Elijah: Wake 45—UNC 41 | Wake +2.5 | Over
The Deacs used the Duke game to regroup and came out in dominating fashion. After eliminating one instate rival, the better one is up next with a short trip to Chapel Hill. Wake Forest enters as a top 10 team, along with an undefeated record while UNC has had a disappointing season.
Rivalry games lead to the unexpected and perhaps this is the game where UNC puts all their “potential” together to spoil the Deacs amazing run.
While the talent level has definitely improved in Chapel Hill, the results this season have been lackluster. The Deacs enter as a cohesive team, battling injury adversity, overcoming surprising transfer portal activity (miss you Kenneth), and taking care of business.
My prediction, the good vibes keep rolling in a close back and forth game. Wake Forest hangs on, 45-41.
Cam: Wake 52—UNC 35 | Wake +2.5 | Over
Why are we worried about the Wake defense and not talking about how worried the UNC defense should be?
Here’s the list of defensive statistics UNC is better in: YPG(unc is 76th, Wake is 99th), EPA per pass allowed(UNC is 96th, Wake is 98tg)
Here’s the list of defensive statistics Wake is better in: PPG(Wake is 55th, unc is 99th), red zone defense(Wake is T-18th, UNC is T-60th), 3rd down defense(Wake is 85th, UNC 91st), EPA per rush allowed(Wake is 76th, unc js 89th), Stuff Rate(Wake is 46th, UNC is 105th), points per drive allowed(wake is 47th, UNC is 95th), yards per play allowed scrubbing out garbage time(Wake is 70th, UNC is 95th), FEI defensive rating(Wake is 51st, unc is 89th), SP+(Wake is 61st, UNC is 72nd)
Unc’s defense is just largely worse than Wake’s. Couple that with Wake offense being better this year and more efficient than last year, as long as the team just doesn’t show up or suffer a rash of injuries mid game like last year I don’t see this being some last possession game. The defense should get a couple of stops and we know UNC’s defense can’t
SF: Wake 42—UNC 27| Wake +2.5 | Under
Wake 42, UNC 27. Cam said it better than I could. The fact that people are acting like UNC is better than Wake just because they played ND kinda sorta close is a joke. I’m not saying we’ll coast or that a win is guaranteed, but at this point UNC having advantage in FPI is down to recruiting and preseason rankings, which is laughable. I could see it going either way but I can’t understand Wake not having the edge.
Average: Wake 46—UNC 37 | Wake +2.5 | Over
It looks like everyone is taking the Deacs to stay perfect and move to 9-0 with a win over UNC. Go Deacs!