“I knew that play had to be made, just to get the morale up,” Dorn said. “I felt the energy switch.”
It was enough to get UNC on the board with a 49-yard field goal from Noah Ruggles.
Although UNC’s defense was missing Patrice Rene and senior defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge, they held strong against Wake Forest’s offense in the fourth quarter. This gave room for the Tar Heel offense to come alive.
“We just feel like the fourth quarter is when most teams get tired, lay down,” Carter said. “We feel like this is where we take it to the next level instead. The fourth quarter means a lot to us because in the last two weeks, you see how the fourth quarter affects the entire game.”
It was Carter that scored the first touchdown of the night for UNC. After a 55-yard throw to sophomore wide receiver Dyami Brown, Howell found Carter for an 11-yard score to make it 21-10.
Not even two minutes later, the ball was back in UNC’s hands. At 6:09, another touchdown.
A 2-point conversion made it 21-18. All that separated the two rivals was a field goal.
“We just preachin, ‘We going to win the game. We going to win the game. We going to win the game,’” Carter said. “And, we really believed that. I don’t know if you call us crazy or not, but we really thought we were going to win the game.”
However, a five minute drive added a field goal to widen the Wake Forest lead to six. UNC had just a minute and change left to win the game.
The Tar Heels made made their way near midfield with just seconds left. Carter rushed out of bounds, and seemingly stepped out of bounds with one second left.
But the referees disagreed, and the Wake Forest bench had already stormed the field.
“I feel like I got out of bounds, but I’m not sure,” Carter said. “I know how college football works. If the team storms the field, the game is usually over."
A common theme emerged during postgame interviews — UNC simply ran out of time.
Brown said that a coach once told him, "‘If a team plays that hard in the second half, you don’t really lose. You run out of time.’
“That’s something we can build on,” Brown said.
Players echoed that sentiment, embracing the loss – although it stung.
“It hurts, but at the same time, I feel like this is something we can really build on going forward in the next few weeks,” Carter said. “I’m excited for the challenge of how we will respond because everybody knows what happens when we win games.
“We’re upbeat. We’re confident. So I want to see if we have that same confidence when we lose games.”
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