Quick Analysis: UNC Completes Wild Comeback

Chapel Hill, NC – North Carolina needed Sam Howell to pull off one of the biggest quarterback appearances in ACC history to overcome a 21-point second-half loss and a 59-53 win over Wake Forest on Saturday Were necessary for

For the third time in five weeks, UNC (6-2) trailed by three touchdowns as a heavy favorite. It was the first time the Tar Heels were able to go to a deficit, breaking the school record for the biggest comeback in school history. It surpassed the largest fourth-quarter deficit in a win (East Carolina, 1973).

UNC led 24-21 in the second quarter before Wake Forest (4-3) and scored 24 unanswered points to take a 45-24 lead with 6:56 to play in the third quarter. It was all Carolina since the time the home team scored 35 unanswered points with 2:39 to go to lead 59–45. The Demon Finals scored a late touchdown and two-point conversion to finalize the scoring.

The Tar Heels set a school record for 742 total yards in an 8.9-yards-per-play clip. Dazz Newsome caught 10 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, while Javatte Williams rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown.

The rivalry has the highest total of 112 points so far, topping the previous record of 80 points scored in 1993.

(Photo: Jim Hawkins / Carolina inside)

Sam Howell’s Career Day
Howell became the first Tar Heel to throw for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns in one of the top performances by a quarterback in ACC history. The Sampore quarterback completed 45-of-32 passes for 550 yards, six touchdowns and an interception against Damon Deacons, averaging 12.2 yards per attempt.

Two of his biggest plays actually came on the field on the deciding drive of the game. Howell scrambled 3-and-7 to keep the game tied at 45-45 for first place in the one-on-one zone. After four plays, he once again scrambled for a third and long 20-yard touchdown run.

Howell’s 550 passing yards rank as the third most ranked by ACC quarterbacks in conference history. Deshawn Watson of Clemson set a record against Pittsburgh on November 12, 2016 with 580 passing yards.

Howell has five touchdowns, a quarterback sampled from a season away from tying the ACC record for touchdowns.

Defense holds late
Jay Bateman deserves credit for patching his unit’s wounds in the second half for as much blame for UNC’s defensive debacle in the first half. After allowing Wake Forrest to score on seven of his first nine possessions, the Tar Heels held Damon Deacon for eight points on their final six drives while allowing 104 yards.

Wake Forrest’s 606 total yards offense has allowed the most UNC in the second Mac Brown era. It is the 12th most allowed in the history of the school.

Brown near record
Dimy Brown caught two touchdown passes to extend his career total to 21, finishing Hakeem Nicks second in school history. The junior wide receiver finished with eight catches for 163 yards.

Defense optional in the first half
Howell completed 26 of 20 passes for 323 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, catching 12 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns as Newsom and Brown combined and UNC scored 9.2 yards per catch in the first match alone. Averageed the game. Nevertheless, the Tar Heels went ahead at a pace of 35–40.

As the UNC offense may have been in the opening half of the game, its defense was quite poor. Wake Forest scored touchdowns on five of his first seven possessions and averaged 8.6 yards per play on a mix of runs and passes. Hartman completed 19 of 14 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns, while Christian Beal-Smith ran for 112 yards in 12 carries.

782 combined yards of total offense in the first half is the most in any FBS game half of this season.

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After seven consecutive Saturdays of football, UNC will take a break with the exam at the dock next week. Tan Heels returned to black-action on 27 November. 3:30 pm kickoff against No. 2 Notre Dame at Kenan Stadium.

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