Updated: Sep 23, 2019
For the first time in 2019, the Tar Heels failed to win the game in the 4th quarter. After a slow start in Winston-Salem, Sam Howell rallied the troops for the third straight week, but couldn't get the job done. A big part of that reason, was because the Heels didn't control the line of scrimmage. Here's the trench report for Wake Forest:
The Heels were without Nick Polino, who's sidelined with a injury for an extended period of time, and it clearly showed. Not to say that Brian Anderson was bad, but it was obvious the Heels missed their signal caller. The unit struggled early to set the tone at the line of scrimmage, and a run game that has been productive early in the season, had little succes early. Not only did the unit struggle in the run game, they allowed 6 sacks of true freshman quarterback, Sam Howell, who for the first time all season, looked like a young quarterback. I was somewhat surprised t see the line struggle, as they were better against better talent the first two weeks of the season. The good news? This unit is still fairly young, and will continue to improve as the season grows longer.
Just as the offensive line struggled to create a push up front, the defensive line struggled to get penetration into the Wake backfield. Carolina only recorded one sack, and registered 5 tackles for loss (not all by defensive lineman). That's simply not good enough to win on the road against a solid, sound opponent. Keep in mind that the group was without Jason Strowbridge, who was sidelined with an injury. Not that we're here to make excuses, but his absence was equal to the offensive line being without Nick Polino. Besides not producing many negative plays. Wake Forest managed to rush for over 200 yards. This is back to back weeks that the run defense has struggled, after holding its own against South Carolina in the season opener. It'll be interesting to see what they do against App State on Saturday, which Mack Brown believes has ACC talent.