When and where: September 13, 2019, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC, 6:00 PM ET
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will host the North Carolina Tar Heels in a rare non-conference game between these teams. Both teams have opened up with strong starts to the season with the Tar Heels knocking off South Carolina and Miami, while the Demon Deacons have back-to-back wins over Utah State and Rice.
North Carolina only won two football games last season and three in the previous year, which adds hope in them potentially getting back to bowl game eligibility in 2019. Wake Forest, on the other hand, has won three consecutive bowl games and will come into Friday’s game looking to shut down the premature hype surrounding the Tar Heels.
These teams have not met since 2015 and will resume their 131-year old rivalry with just their sixth meeting in the last 16 seasons.
“What’s weird about it is just our lack of familiarity with them,” Coach Dave Clawson said. “Because of conferences and things like that — traditionally, a rival you play every year. That’s why it’s a rivalry.
“We know more about Utah State and Rice and Notre Dame than we really know about Carolina. And it’s just because we’ve played those teams more often.”
Can the Tar Heels pull off another upset?
The upset war wagon has been rolling for North Carolina ahead of their Week 3 road game with Wake Forest. It has already rolled over South Carolina and Miami in a pair of impressive back-to-back victories. If it rolls over Wake Forest on Friday, it would be one of the team’s best starts in years.
Of course, everything will come down to the ability of their defensive backfield to hold up against Wake Forest’s high-flying aerial attack. The Tar Heels defense can’t afford to allow this game to turn into an offensive shootout. While they showed offensive life in their first couple games, they’ll be dealing with a completely different monster in the Demon Deacons.
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell has yet to throw an interception this season, and it will be imperative that he continues to play clean football against Wake Forest’s defense. The Tar Heels can’t afford to give the Demon Deacons’ prolific offense extra opportunities on a shortened field. That’s a good way to get knocked out of the heavyweight bout long before the final bell rings.
Size kills for Wake Forest
It hasn’t been a pretty sight watching opposing defensive backs try to man-up with Wake Forest’s receivers on the outside. Senior wideout Scotty Washington, 6-foot-5, has looked like a man amongst boys snatching passes out of the air and making game-breaking plays. In only two games into the season, he has already accumulated 204 yards and three touchdowns off 11 receptions.
Any plan to double Washington will surely leave you vulnerable to getting the same treatment from Sage Surratt (6-foot-3). You can believe Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman is having the time of his life exploiting defensive backfields with a pair of explosive receiving weapons. He has thrown for 703 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions so far this season.
Look at what he did to Utah State in the season-opening game—34-of-47 passing for 401 yards and three touchdowns. This is the kind of offense that can ruin a defensive coordinator’s night really fast if they get into a rhythm. In Week 2, they blew Rice off the map in their first road game of the season with a 41-21 victory.
- Tar Heels are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in the previous game.
- Tar Heels are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games in September.
- Home team is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
- Demon Deacons are 4-0 straight up in last 4 games.