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North Carolina completes massive comeback to end Wake Forest’s CFP hopes

The Demon Deacons had an eighteen point lead in the second half before imploding.

Wake Forest v North Carolina
Sam Howell of the North Carolina Tar Heels scrambles against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on November 06, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It was a nice run while it lasted for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. After holding a 45-27 lead with 7:38 left in the third quarter, the Demons Deacons got outscored 21-10 by the North Carolina Tar Heels to suffer a 58-55 defeat. It was Wake Forest’s first loss of the season, and it almost certainly ends their College Football Playoff hopes.

North Carolina was matching Wake Forest for most the game in terms of scoring, and caught a lucky break when officials didn’t call them for jumping offsides. That play resulted in an interception, which turned the tide in the contest. Sam Howell, who was briefly down with an injury, had a solid day with 216 yards and a touchdown. He also had 104 rush yards and two rushing touchdowns. Running back Ty Chandler was the true star of the show for UNC. He tallied 213 yards on the ground with four rushing touchdowns.

Sam Hartman, a Heisman contender entering the game, threw for 398 yards and five touchdowns while also adding 78 rushing yards and two rushing scores. He did have two costly interceptions though, which ultimately did the team in.

Since this was technically a non-conference game due to wacky ACC scheduling rules, Wake Forest is still undefeated in conference play and will likely get to the ACC title game if it can defeat two of NC State, Clemson and Boston College. Unfortunately, the Demon Deacons needed to win out and have some top teams stumble to rise from No. 9 in the CFP rankings. This loss likely takes them out of the conversation entirely, even if they finish out the season with three wins and a win in the ACC title game.