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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Wake Forest

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

A statistical look at UNC's match-up with Wake Forest.

When UNC has the ball

UNC(Offense) Wake Forest(Defense)
Points per game 38.6 17.0
Yards per game 471.0 296.0
Yards per play 7.3 4.8
Passing yards 251.2 142.7
Passing YPA 8.8 6.6
Rushing Yards 219.8 153.3
Rushing YPA 6.1 3.9
Turnovers 5 4
3rd Down Conv. 50.9% 27.9%
4th Down Conv. 50.0% 50.0%
Red Zone Conv. 81.8% 73.3%

When UNC is on defense

UNC(Defense) Wake Forest(Offense)
Points per game 18.0 19.7
Yards per game 357.2 368.7
Yards per play 5.0 5.0
Passing yards 123.2 254.0
Passing YPA 5.2 6.5
Rushing Yards 234.0 114.7
Rushing YPA 4.9 3.4
Turnovers 7 11
3rd Down Conv. 40.5% 34.7%
4th Down Conv. 57.1% 75.0%
Red Zone Conv. 73.3% 84.2%

Statistically speaking this will be a strength-on-strength battle when UNC is on offense facing Demon Deacon defense. Wake Forest is ranked 15th in yards per game allowed and 36th in yards per play allowed. The best defense UNC has seen to date is Illinois which is 32nd and 28th respectively. The Demon Deacons have held teams to less than four yards per rushing attempt and 6.6 yards per play through the air good enough for 52nd nationally in both.

The real "something has to give" stat is the points per game. UNC is rolling along at over 38 points per game and 45 points per game since the debacle in Charlotte versus South Carolina. After starting the season with gross ineptitude in the red zone, UNC has been ridiculously efficient. UNC has scored on 17 of 19 red zone possessions in the four games since the season opener with 13 of those 19 touchdowns.  Wake Forest is holding opponents to a red zone conversion rate of 73.3%(16th nationally) with six touchdowns(17th) on 11 total scores(21st). Given the nature of Wake's defense, UNC will be challenged to put up points.

On the other side of the ball, Wake has a fairly strong passing game with 254 yards per game through the air and facing a defense which will be missing two cornerbacks due to suspension. How UNC's top ten pass defense responds to the loss of M.J. Stewart and Mike Hughes, especially with a thin defensive line will be key to keeping the Demon Deacon offense in check. It also should be note Wake Forest is 114th in interceptions thrown with nine this season. John Wolford has five of this picks while Kendall Hinton owns the other four. Wake has more interceptions(9) than they do touchdown passes thrown(6).