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Wake Forest Many, UNC Few

Let me quote from my pregame thoughts:

4. What must Carolina do to win this game?

TH: Not turn the ball over and to not have the defense come out sluggish. UNC's defense has had to dig itself out of quite a few holes this season after slow starts and bad turnovers on the offensive end. It's hard to win these games when the other team has the clock on their side.

(Yes, this what passes for trenchant analysis around these parts. To win, UNC has to stop the other team from scoring and not give them the ball. It takes a deep insight into the game to suss that one out.)

Contrast that with Wake Forest's first quarter: An interception to set up a quick field goal, followed by a 73 yard touchdown drive and a record-tying kickoff return for another seven. A minute and a half into the second quarter and it's 17-3, Deacons. Defense kept it much like that until the fourth when a repeat performance made it a blowout.

How bad was it? UNC outgained Wake 313 to 269 yards. That's not a testament to the Heels' resiliency, as much as a strange quirk of football statistics. I'm not sure why Wake's 269 yards doesn't include the 98 Kevin Marion ran on his way to the endzone in the first, or the 83 he got in the fourth to set up a 14-yard touchdown one play later. I can sort of understand dropping the 77-yard interception TD return from the tally. Wake scored 24 points on a total of 38 offensive yards; the other 231 were just marking time until the game could end.

UNC now gets to regroup from the worst loss of the season to meet a Maryland team eager to end its own two game losing streak. And it's homecoming, too. Good times.