Wake upends the Tar Heels, 32-31

CHAPEL HILL, NC--It was a perfect football day. The weather was warm and sunny, it was UNC's homecoming game, and Carolina was leading 24-0 over Wake Forest at the half. Then the Deacons spoiled the afternoon with a 32-7 scoring advantage in the second half to nip the Heels 32-31.

Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4 ACC) scored 32 second-half points to defeat North Carolina (5-5, 4-3 ACC), 32-31 in a remarkable comeback at Kenan Stadium. 

In the first half, the Tar Heels took a 24-0 lead into the locker room, behind a strong performance by freshman quarterback Darian Durant.  Durant threw three touchdown passes in the first half alone, and through for 361 yards for the day, completing 24 of 32 passes and four touchdown passes..  Though Durant now owns virtually every passing record for a freshman at North Carolina, it was not enough to beat a determined Wake Forest team.  

North Carolina scored first on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Darian Durant to Bosley Allen.  Quincy Monk gave the Tar Heels field position at their own 26-yard line when he intercepted a James MacPherson pass tipped by David Thornton.

Wake Forest's next possession stalled at midfield, and the Tar Heels took over the ball at the 11-yard line, and drove the ball 89-yards, their longest of the year, to take a two touchdown lead in the first quarter.  Durant completed another 21-yard touchdown pass, this time to Kory Bailey.

North Carolina held Wake Forest to a three-and-out possession, and a 27-yard punt gave the Heels the ball at the 48-yard line.  The Tar Heels drove to the eight, but Wake Forest intercepted a Durant pass at the one-yard line.

Wake Forest drove the ball to the 21-yard line, but Tyler Ashe missed a 37-yard field goal with 7:43 left in the first half and the Deacons came up empty.

Durant then connected with Sam Aiken two plays later, his third touchdown pass of the first half and the longest pass, and longest touchdown pass by a UNC freshman.  Aiken caught the ball on the sideline, turned the corner and tight-roped his way to the endzone ahead of the Wake Forest defenders. 

North Carolina would extend its lead to 24-0 by the end of the first half on a 38-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.

The Demon Deacons didn't fold, and surged in the second half, aided by some Tar Heel turnovers and critical mistakes.  

Wake Forest began its comeback with 9:19 left in the third quarter on a reverse by John Stone from the eleven-yard line, to make the score 24-7.  Wake's score was set up by a fumble by Sam Aiken that turned the ball over to the Deacons at the North Carolina 38-yard line.

The Deacons closed to with 10-points with 4:01 left in the third quarter, this time on a reverse by Fabian Davis from the five-yard line.

On their next possession, the Tar Heels drove 80-yards on 12 plays capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Darian Durant to tight end Zach Hilton.  On that drive, Durant set the single game passing yardage record for a UNC freshman, previously held by Ronald Curry (304 versus Stanford in 1998) and touchdown passes by a freshman (four).

The Deacons refused to fold, and running back Tarence Williams closed the score again for Wake Forest on a touchdown run, bringing the Deacons to within ten points again with 11:01 left in the fourth quarter.  The Tar Heels jumped off sides on second and goal from the seven-yard line, and after the penalty Williams ran it in from the three-yard line.

The Tar Heels were unable to move the ball on their next possession, and Wake Forest closed to within a touchdown with 5:56 left in the game on a Tyler Ashe 42-yard field goal, bringing the score to 31-24. 

Again the Tar Heels could get nothing going offensively, and a bad snap on a punt went over the head of punter John Lafferty, and the Deacons could take the lead with a touchdown.

James MacPherson and the Deacons did exactly that, driving the ball over from the one-yard line with 1:17 left to go in the game. 

The Tar Heels attempted a comeback of their own, driving from their own twenty-yard line to the 48-yard line.  On first-and-ten with 51 seconds remaining, Darian Durant had the ball stripped from his grasp as he dropped back to pass, and the Deacons fell on the fumble, effectively ending the contest.

MacPherson completed 14 of 23 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown, but more importantly maintained his poise throughout the second half.

The Tar Heels were unable to mount any type of running game, rushing the ball 34 times for only 54 yards. 

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