Wake Forest rallies to ruin Fedora's ACC opener
Submitted by Andrew_Carter on 09/08/2012 - 17:58
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said last week that he wished his team had experienced more adversity during its dominant season-opening victory against Elon. The Tar Heels faced plenty here on Saturday against Wake Forest – and they also experienced their first loss of Larry Fedora’s coaching tenure.
Wake used an 11-play, 93-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to escape with a 28-27 victory. Tanner Price, the Wake quarterback who set a career high with 327 yards passing, capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Tar Heels (1-1) began their next drive with about two minutes to play, on their own 13-yard line. They gained just three yards before fourth down, and then quarterback Bryn Renner threw an interception to Wake linebacker Riley Haynes with 1:25 to play.
UNC got the ball back on its own 1-yard line with 17 seconds remaining and no timeouts. The Heels moved to their own 40-yard line before running out of time.
Renner completed 21 of his 36 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and the one interception. Price, meanwhile, was 27 for 38. He threw three interceptions in a loss against UNC a season ago, but Price was sharp on Saturday.
UNC, which played without starting running back Giovani Bernard, rallied from a 21-14 halftime deficit and used a strong third quarter to take a 24-21 lead into the final quarter.
But unlike last week, when the Heels executed as they pleased against Elon, few things came easily against the Demon Deacons (2-0). Wake Forest overcame early deficits of 7-0 and 14-7 to take a 21-14 lead into halftime.
Romar Morris’ 4-yard touchdown run tied the game at 21 with 4:45 to play in the third and then, on Wake’s next possession, Tar Heels cornerback Tim Scott intercepted Tanner Price’s pass.
The turnover gave UNC the ball on the Wake Forest 8-yard line, but after a holding penalty the Heels had to settle for Casey Barth’s 25-yard field goal, which game the Heels a 24-21 lead with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
After playing a clean game last week against Elon, penalties and sloppy play plagued UNC on Saturday. The Heels suffered from several defensive lapses during the first half, and penalties either helped stall the Heels own drives or helped the Demon Deacons extend theirs.
UNC twice held leads in the first half but the game turned a little more than halfway through the second quarter when Wake defensive end Hasan Hazime sacked Bryn Renner and forced him to fumble. Hazime recovered the fumble, giving the Demon Deacons possession on the Heels’ 20-yard line.
Three plays later, Wake running back Josh Harris scored on a 6-yard run that gave Wake its first lead of the game.
UNC briefly lost Renner earlier in the second quarter when he attempted to cross the goal line on a short run. Demon Deacons safety Duran Lowe stopped Renner short of the end zone, and Renner remained on the ground for a few moments before walking slowly off the field.
One play later, on 4th-and-goal, A.J. Blue scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give UNC a 14-7 lead.
Wake Forest tied the game at 14 on its next possession when Deandre Martin’s 4-yard touchdown run capped a 9-play drive. Then Hazime forced Renner’s fumble on the next drive.
Renner completed 11 of his 16 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown during the first half, while Wake’s Tanner Price is 16-for-20 for 194 yards. Wake has outgained UNC 271 yards to 192 during the first half.
Wake receiver Michael Campanero, who was instrumental on the Deacons’ go-ahead drive late in the fourth, was the benefactor of many of Price’s passes. Campanero caught 13 passes for 164 yards.
After UNC went ahead 24-21 in the third quarter, Barth added another field goal, from 30 yards out, to put UNC ahead 27-21. Wake stalled on its next two drives, but forced the Heels to punt and got the ball back on its own 7-yard line with 6:36 to play.
That’s when the Deacs embarked on that 11-play, 93-yard drive. Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe improved to 13-2 against in-state ACC schools, and the Tar Heels lost their conference opener for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons.
Bernard, meanwhile, watched the game from the sideline. UNC did not announce a reason for his absence.