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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Faces New Questions

Game and time:

Records: Wake Forest is 4-4, 2-4 in the ACC. North Carolina is 5-4, 4-2 in the ACC.

Series: North Carolina leads 65-30-2.

Injuries: Wake Forest -- QB Anthony Young is doubtful. North Carolina -- DT Jonas Seawright (left knee) is doubtful. OT Justin Barton is out. SS DeFonte Coleman (left shoulder), DT Will Chapman (left knee), and WR Isaiah Robinson (right knee) are out for the season.

The key matchup: North Carolina has enjoyed tremendous success with its two-quarterback system of Ronald Curry and Darian Durant, going 5-0.

Last week, with Curry nursing a sore hamstring, redshirt freshman Durant started for the first time in his career, completing 22 of 37 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Tech's ACC-leading defense. But the Tar Heels still lost, 28-21.

Now, because of personal tragedies, both members of that tag team might be unavailable for Saturday's game.

Durant returned to practice for the first time Thursday evening since Saturday, when he went to Florence, S.C. after the death of his stepmother. He shared time with redshirt freshman Aaron Leak in practice, taking about 60 percent of the snaps.

"Darian, especially coming from a tragic situation that's happened to him and his family, he did a good job of coming here and picking up on a lot of things," said UNC center Adam Metts. "I felt like he stepped right in without having to step off."

Curry, meanwhile, is still in Hampton, Va., where he will attend the funeral of his cousin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Bunting said earlier in the week that he would have no problem playing either Curry or Durant should they return in time for the game because both have had ample experience running the offense this season.

But he said Thursday that he had made no decision about the starter and that a choice could come as late as Saturday morning.

So the possibility remains that Leak, who has thrown only one pass this season, a 24-yard completion, could take his share of snaps against Wake Forest.

That makes the running game even more important for the Tar Heels.

They had a nightmarish showing on the ground against Tech, gaining a measly 13 yards on 17 rushes.

"This week, we've put a large emphasis on improving our running game," Metts said. "I think from the Georgia Tech game, it pretty much proved that you have to have a running game to be able to win."

Final Analysis/Prediction: With or without Durant under center, UNC should still be able to win this game, pending one thing -- that its front seven has gotten over the pounding it absorbed against the Yellow Jackets.

Tech tailback Joe Burns ran through the Tar Heels at will, rushing for a career-high 198 yards.

The Demon Deacons boast tailback Tarence Williams, who is coming off of a recent ankle injury. Williams is third in the conference with 98.7 rushing yards per game and has six touchdowns.

"Nobody's going to run like that on this team again," said UNC defensive tackle Julius Peppers. "I can almost guarantee that."

If he's right, the Demon Deacons should find points hard to come by because they'll be putting the conference's worst passing offense against the ACC's best pass defense.

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If Durant ends up playing, this game could be over early.

If Leak ends up playing, it could come down to the wire. Either way, the Tar Heels should impress the Peach Bowl representatives.

UNC 24, Wake Forest 10

-- Compiled by James Giza