Tar Heels fall on road to Demon Deacons, 28-27
WINSTON-SALEM — Tanner Price scored on a 1-yard sneak with 2:09 left to help Wake Forest rally past North Carolina 28-27 on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Price threw for a career-high 327 yards for the Demon Deacons (2-0, 1-0), who struggled to generate much offense throughout the second half until the decisive drive. Starting from Wake Forest's own 7-yard line, Price calmly directed an 11-play, 93-yard scoring drive that ended when he pushed his way through the right side of the line for the go-ahead score.
Bryn Renner had two final chances to bring back the Tar Heels (1-1, 0-1), but he threw a fourth-down interception with 1:25 left that let the Demon Deacons melt most of the clock. He got the ball back at his own 1 with 17 seconds and no timeouts, but reached only the 40 before his final desperation heave was knocked away.
While Price was steady in the clutch, his top target — receiver Michael Campanaro — had his way with the Tar Heels' secondary all afternoon. Campanaro finished with career-best totals of 13 catches for 164 yards, including a 15-yarder on the drive to the go-ahead score.
For much of the second half, the Tar Heels looked like they would earn their first road and ACC win under new coach Larry Fedora. With starting tailback Gio Bernard out with a knee injury, North Carolina got plenty of production from fill-in starter A.J. Blue (106 yards and a touchdown) and Romar Morris (70 yards and a TD) while getting more pressure on Price up front.
After trailing 21-14 at halftime, UNC tied the game on Morris' 4-yard run with 4:45 left in the third quarter, but the Tar Heels blew two chances to really take control. First, they settled for a short field goal from Casey Barth after Tim Scott's interception gave the Tar Heels a first-and-goal from the 8. Then they settled for another kick from Barth after driving all the way to the Wake Forest 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Then came two ineffective drives, setting up the Demon Deacons' final push.
The game was delayed for 75 minutes due to lightning during a storm that rolled in about 30 minutes before kickoff, forcing both teams to return to the locker room and sending fans back to their cars.