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UNC vs. Wake Forest Football Series History

The longtime rivals meet for their 107th game in the series.

Wake Forest V UNC Getty

Except for 1943, UNC and WF met every year in football from 1919 until 2004. Since 2004, the two teams have played just five times and the Demon Deacons hold a 3-2 series advantage. The defections of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College in 2004 and 2005 to the ACC started the cycle of league expansions across the collegiate landscape. There were victors and victims when the conference grew, and one of those casualties was the Carolina-Wake Forest rivalry.

The very first opponent the new North Carolina Tar Heels football team faced was Wake Forest in 1888. In the first collegiate football game in the state of North Carolina, the Old Gold and Black defeated the Tar Heels 6-4.

UNC was a charter member of the Southern Conference in 1921 and Wake Forest joined in 1936. Both the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons were charter members of the ACC in 1953.

For the first time since 1935, Carolina and Wake will play in a non-conference game. UNC holds a 25-7-1 record versus Wake in non-conference games:

North Carolina - Wake Forest Non-Conference Results

Year Score
Year Score
1888 L 4-6
1889 W 33-0
1889 L 8-18
1891 L Forfeit
1893 W 40-0
1908 W 17-0
1909 W 18-0
1910 W 37-0
1911 W 12-3
1912 W 9-2
1913 W 7-0
1913 W 29-0
1914 W 53-0
1914 W 12-7
1915 W 35-0
1916 W 20-0
1919 W 6-0
1920 W 6-0
1921 W 21-0
1922 W 62-3
1923 W 22-0
1924 L 6-7
1925 L 0-6
1926 L 0-13
1927 L 8-9
1928 W 65-0
1929 W 48-0
1930 W 13-7
1931 W 37-0
1932 T 0-0
1933 W 26-0
1934 W 21-0
1935 W 14-0
2019 ???

This year’s odd non-conference game against a conference opponent is only the second time this has happened in recent memory. The last time this happened was in a 2011 Cal-Colorado game.

Unfortunately for this historic rivalry, with NC State as a yearly foe and one rotating Atlantic Division opponent, this will likely to continue to occur.

The 106 all-time meetings between the two schools (UNC leads 69–35–2) have produced some memorable moments in ACC history.

  • One of the games in the best stretch of rushing by a UNC running back in program history occurred against Wake Forest in 1975. When Mike Voight went for 909 yards in five straight games that season, he tallied 148 yards on the ground versus the Deacs.
  • Mack Brown is 8-2 against Wake Forest. After dropping the first two in 1988 and 1989, he led the Heels to eight straight over WF. The biggest beatdown of that winning streak was the 50-0 slaughter in Winston-Salem:
  • Although Carolina lost in a heartbreaker in Chapel Hill, 32-31, Darian Durant had one of the best games for a freshman quarterback against Wake Forest that day. Durant still holds the UNC record for passing yards (361) and passing touchdowns (4) by a freshman in a single game.
  • In the 2003 victory over Wake, Ronnie McGill had 244 yards rushing, good for the 10th best single game accomplishment in program history. The amazing fact is he gained 224 of those yards in the second half, a UNC record for a single half rushing performance.
  • The last meeting was during Carolina’s magical 2015 season. That game was the last time a Tar Heel had three touchdown receptions, by Mack Hollins.

Will tonight’s game be another one for the books? Here’s looking forward to a memorable night in Winston-Salem.