This is what it's like to be on the other side of last week's Clemson-UNC game.
The Carolina secondary, justifiably maligned in recent weeks, feasted on Tanner Price and the Wake Forest offense. The Heels nabbed four interceptions (three from Price, the same number he'd thrown all season to this point one ) and one fumble. The offense, given that kind of advantage, could comfortably score with ease, as Bryn Renner had a record day and Giovanni Bernard was one yard shy of doing the same. UNC jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and then put it away with three straight touchdowns in the fourth. The end result was the biggest victory since the season opener, and hopefully the beginning of good things for this team.
The defense made their mark early, with Zach Brown forcing a fumble on Wake's opening series, setting up a short yardage touchdown. The Deacons looked to answer with some stung runs by Brandon Pendergrass, but Price soon threw his first interception; Renner soon found Dwight Jones for a 48-yard catch while being interfered with to set up a second TD. Wake would cut the lead to 14-10 on a scoring drive and a blocked punt, but UNC had a good drive with a short clock, to go into the half up by eleven.
The halftime lead left Wake with an interesting dilemma. Their running game was working a lot better than the passing attack; Brandon Pendergrass would cut the lead to four with a 30-yard touchdown run and would finish the game with 9 yards on only 13 carries. But after UNC responded with a touchdown of their own, the clock forced Wake to pass more, and that's when Carolina began to feast. Wake's next two drives both ended with interceptions on their own half of the field, first to Tydreke Powell and then to Brown. The Heels responded to both with quick touchdowns, and the rout was on. The teams would trade touchdowns in the final minutes after the outcome was assured.
On the offensive see, Bryn Renner had the best day of his career to date, completing 21 of 28 passes and tying T.J. Yates for second on the list of touchdown passes in a season. He looked much more composed in the pocket, even as it collapsed in the face of an underwhelming Wake pass rush, because the offensive line is still playing poorly. He threw no interceptions and connected with nine different receivers, favoring as always Jones and Erik Highsmith. If he can continue this type of play for the rest of the season, and the secondary also lives up to the standard the set today, this team can win out and secure a prominent bowl bid.It's early yet, but this team may just hold the attention of a fan base drifting off towards basketball season a little while longer.