October 2011
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The Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: Wake Forest

The reports of UNC’s demise were apparently premature.

After three weeks of mostly substandard football that led to questions about what the rest of the season would hold, Carolina played arguably its best game since the season opener and blitzed a pretty good Wake Forest team, 49-24.

For the first time in weeks, UNC looked well-prepared and plugged in from the opening kickoff. The offense was fairly crisp (generating 562 yards) and held onto the football while the defense actually played pretty well in spots. The Deacons were generous in their own right with the ball coughing it up five times and the Heels capitalized, leading to the first comfortable win in a long time.

With that in mind, here is the bowl-eligible version of the GBU:


Bryn Renner: Welcome back to the good Bryn Renner. Renner was 21-28 for a career-high 338 yards and three TDs. He made much better decisions in the pocket and while he is still underthrowing the ball a little bit, he took a big step forward on Saturday and shook off last week’s disastrous performance.

Gio Bernard: Another amazing day for the freshman, who rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns, with a receiving touchdown added on for good measure. Bernard has rushed for 965 yards on the season.

Dwight Jones/Erik Highsmith: Carolina’s big-play receivers played like big-play receivers. Jones had six catches for 138 yards, and Highsmith had four grabs and two touchdowns.

Zach Brown: Brown followed up last week’s solid performance with nine tackles, including 2 1/2 tackles for loss, an interception, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Expect an increase in “What can Brown do for you?” jokes this week.

Defensive strategy: No, this is not a mistake. Defense play calling is actually going into the “good” category. UNC mixed up the defenses, actually blitzed some, which forced Wake QB Tanner Price into some bad decisions. Also, UNC’s secondary was not torched as they kept Wake’s receivers underneath and therefore prevented the deep ball. It was refreshing to see some actual strategizing from the defensive staff for a change.



Offensive line: Their performance actually improved into the “bad” category instead of the “ugly” this week. They must receive some credit for generating over 500 yards of total offense but still gave up two sacks and seven other tackles for loss while generally getting outplayed by a much smaller D-line.

ESPNU: Watching a game called by Pam Ward and Dan Hawkins is always an adventure, and the mistakes in graphics are fun. Thankfully I watched most of the game on the DVR, so I minimized my Ward exposure.



Kicking game: Thomas Hibbard had a punt blocked and another one should have been, and Thomas Moore missed a field goal, although it was a 47-yarder. These things will come back to hurt the team at some point.


Now the pressure of bowl-eligibility is removed and UNC is past the Committee on Infractions circus, the team can focus on the last three games, starting with the 800-lb. gorilla on its back known as the losing streak to NC State. Still, the performance today goes a long way towards reestablishing some confidence in the team going forward.

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13 comments to The Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: Wake Forest

  • plibt

    re: what can brown do for you

    edit: I just watched highlights from the game and it seemed that on at least half of the big receiving plays, (at least two of Jones’ big catches and one of Highsmith’s) they made spectacular catches AND the refs flagged pass interference. That to me is way more impressive than just making an athletic catch, to jump up AND fight off somebody in the air (and to do it consistently) is really high caliber talent.

  • notoriousii

    Maybe Coach Withers let the players pick the defensive schemes this week…

  • Andy In Omaha

    I’m glad the Heels were able to win yesterday; it’s rough being a Dolphins fan, and if the Heels lose also then my weekends just suck all around.

  • Silent Sam

    I was in Kenan Stadium for the Homecoming game and was pretty happy except when the Deacs cut UNC’s lead to 21-17. But, that didn’t last long as the Heels scored the next 28 points. Sunday, I rewatched the game on TV, thanks to DVR; it seems to me Hawkins was worse, and more obnoxious, than Pammy. I sort of think the same two bozos announced the UVA @ Miami game Thursday night — I may have to start “muting” the sound and just watching the game and not listening to this annoying duo.

  • teddyjackeddy

    Every time Wake got close , Heels answered the bell with a score and they showed killer instinct and put them away when the opportunity was there. A similar performance At State will end the dreaded streak , especially with State’s lack of playmakers.

  • TarheelCuz

    I thought it was a decent crowd and we were rewarded with a solid effort at Homecoming.

    Good time!

  • gregrustin

    BLITZ Glennon ad infinitum………yes thats latin.

  • Heel To The End

    i took Latin!

    we are MORE than capable of losing to State. and there’s significantly less reason to lose to them this year. so if we DO lose to them…they are dead to me.

  • gregrustin

    Heel To The End
    October 31, 2011 at 10:04 am
    i took Latin!

    we are MORE than capable of losing to State. and there’s significantly less reason to lose to them this year. so if we DO lose to them…they are dead to me.

    ergo blitzum Glennon ad infinitum!!!

  • Heel To The End

    this is amusing…the N&O website routinely puts tailgating galleries on triangle.com, and for dook/VT there are 70 images, about 12 or 13 have actual dook fans in the pictures and the rest are all VT fans.
    AND, they put the images of the 12ish in there twice, so there are really more like 6 photos of dook fans. ha!

  • Heels Perspective

    Great job DOC. 2 things I saw that Heels fans have been wanting to see:

    * AJ Blue on the field with Gio Bernard/Ryan Houston. The opposing LB’s have to respect the “double threat”. This setup allows Gio to get outside for screens/dump passes.

    * UNC LB’s putting pressure on the QB. Amazing how much better the secondary is if they don’t have to cover recievers for 10 seconds!

    Kicking game is terrible. Punts, kickoffs and FG’s.

    I think the punter is ok, but the formation allows the opposition a free run into the trio of blockers. Wonder if we’ll see a different formation and/or CJ Feagles? UNC simply doesn’t have a FG kicker outside of 25 yards.

    Can we call the soccer coach?

  • gregrustin

    no turnovers = Carolina win.

  • makeitWayne22

    Good: 26 Gio Bernard!