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The Daily Tar Heel

Wake Offense Follows Tech's Lead, Tramples Tar Heels

And it also left the North Carolina defense searching, yet again, for answers.

"I thought last week (after the Georgia Tech loss) it would shake a lot of guys up, but obviously it didn't," said UNC defensive tackle Ryan Sims.

Burns ran straight through the Tar Heel defense on Nov. 1, gaining 198 yards in the Yellow Jackets' 28-21 victory against the Tar Heels in Atlanta.

But unlike Georgia Tech, the Demon Deacons' offense used some trickery to spark their come-from-behind 32-31 win.

Wake, which boasts the ACC's second best rushing offense, completed two end around runs in the third quarter for touchdowns, the first to John Stone and the second to Fabian Davis.

"They had run them previously but were handing them to the back," said North Carolina linebacker Merceda Perry. "We just bit down to the back too many times, and then they handed it off to the receiver coming around, and we didn't have outside containment. That was basically it."

The Demon Deacons finished the game with four rushing touchdowns. Touchdown scampers in the fourth quarter by tailback Tarence Williams and quarterback James MacPherson sealed the Tar Heels' fate.

Sims said a total breakdown of defensive assignments in the second half led to the defense's inability to stop the run for a second-straight week.

"The coaches put us in a position to make tackles, but we had people missing them," Sims said. "And it all falls upon us. The guys need to take responsibility and make the plays."

But as the second half wore on, few plays were made by the UNC defensive unit.

Wake converted on six of eight third-down conversions in the final 30 minutes of play and rushed for 143 of its final 212 yards on the ground.

"We're supposed to have a good defense, and we weren't able to find a way to stop the run," said UNC linebacker Quincy Monk. "They were able to find gaps in the defense and find holes. They executed well in the second half."

Wake Forest free safety Quintin Williams said the offensive line was ready for the challenge of making up a 31-7 deficit.

"It was like we suited up 11 different guys," Williams said. "They came out rejuvenated, and they were just driving the defensive line back off the ball."

And they gave Williams and MacPherson plenty of opportunities to maintain scoring drives.

Williams rushed for two first downs early in the fourth and completed the drive himself with a run up the middle for a three-yard TD and 31-21 game.

On the winning score, MacPherson found a crease and scrambled for 15 yards. With a defensive holding call on UNC, it put the ball deep in Tar Heel territory. MacPherson later scored on a QB sneak with 1:17 left.

"In the second half, we kind of relaxed to where we said 'We're better than this,'" MacPherson said. "We can run the ball and we can move the ball against this team and score some touchdowns."

Now the Tar Heels must curb their defensive woes against another potent rushing attack next Saturday in Duke's Chris Douglas.

Douglas, the league's fifth-best rusher, has been a bright spot for the 0-9 Blue Devils, rushing for 756 yards this season.

"We've got to study and prepare for him," UNC outside linebacker David Thornton said. "Whatever the coaches design, we have to go out there and do it. Football is simple: know your alignment and know your responsibility."

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The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.