WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Jamie Newman and Wake Forest had gone from dominant to hanging on, with North Carolina on the verge of yet another fourth-quarter comeback in a suddenly tense finish.
Yet these Demon Deacons have proven they can come up with big late-game plays, too.
Newman directed a clock-draining fourth-quarter drive, then watched as the Tar Heels ran out of time on their desperate final possession in Wake Forest’s 24-18 win Friday night in an unusual nonconference matchup between same-state Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
“Making those first downs and driving the ball, that drive was the game-saver,” Demon Deacons coach Dave Clawson said. “Because if they get the ball back at midfield or on their 30 with 4½ minutes left and three timeouts, I wasn’t feeling real good about it.”
Newman and the Demon Deacons (3-0) took care of that.
The Tar Heels (2-1) had just closed a 21-0 deficit to 21-18 on Sam Howell’s second fourth-quarter touchdown pass with 6:09 left, and the pressure increased when Newman took a sack to set up a second-and-16.
But Newman hit Scotty Washington for a 27-yard gain over the middle, then followed three plays later with a 4-yard scramble on third down to keep possession. That drive ultimately forced the Tar Heels to use all three of their timeouts, though not before Wake Forest had burned 5 minutes and tacked on a field goal.
That 12-play, 61-yard drive wasn’t as dramatic as the one Newman led in the opener, ending with winning fourth-down touchdown throw with 1:08 left to beat Utah State.
It was a winner all the same.
“We stayed calm on the sideline,” Newman said. “We didn’t panic. We’ve been in those situations before.”
UNC had a final drive, but the game ended when Michael Carter didn’t get out of bounds in time on a run to set up a final desperation heave from just across midfield.
“The first half, we didn’t feel like ourselves,” Howell said. “Most of that is because of me. I didn’t play very well in the first half. We just fought as hard as we could in the second half and ended up running out of time.”
UNC: The Tar Heels return home to host Appalachian State on Sept. 21.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host Elon on Sept. 21.