Running back Ty Chandler scored four touchdowns as North Carolina staged another comeback to beat No. 9 Wake Forest 58-55 on Saturday and end Wake's undefeated season.
Chandler sealed the game with a 50-yard TD run with 1:12 left. Wake Forest had all three of its timeouts and trailed 51-48 after turning the ball over on downs. Chandler broke multiple tackles on his way to the end zone and put the game out of reach.
Wake Forest (8-1) scored with 37 seconds left but needed to recover an onside kick to have a chance at the tie or the win. UNC knocked the kickoff out of bounds and then ran out the clock.
UNC (5-4) shut out Wake Forest for most of the fourth quarter after the Demon Deacons entered the final period with a 48-34 lead. Wake's offense was flying high through the first three quarters; QB Sam Hartman had thrown for four touchdowns and run for two.
But North Carolina flipped the game in the fourth. The Tar Heels rushed for 336 yards as Chandler and QB Sam Howell combined to rush for six touchdowns. Three of Chandler's four TDs came in the fourth quarter as he scored two touchdowns less than a minute apart thanks to a Hartman interception to tie the game at 48-48 with 10:29 to go.
North Carolina trailed by 18 at one point in the third quarter on Saturday. In 2020, the Tar Heels trailed the Demon Deacons by 21 in the third quarter before scoring 35 consecutive points in a 59-53 win.
Wake still unbeaten in the ACC
Saturday's game didn't count for anything in the ACC standings, however. Thanks to an unusual scheduling agreement, the game was the second leg of a non-conference home-and-home series between the two schools.
That means Wake Forest is still 5-0 and undefeated in the ACC. The Demon Deacons still have a one-game edge over NC State in the loss column in the Atlantic Division ahead of the teams' matchup next week. The winner of that game will likely advance to the ACC title game against the winner of the Coastal.
North Carolina is also still in the mix in the Coastal. The Tar Heels are two games back of Pitt and a game back of Virginia, though the Tar Heels beat the Cavaliers earlier in the season. Pitt still has Virginia on the schedule and plays UNC on Thursday night. If UNC beats Pitt and Virginia loses one more game and beats Pitt, UNC will have the tiebreaker advantage on everyone else at the top of the division.
5 unbeaten teams left
Wake’s loss means that Georgia, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, and Texas-San Antonio are the only remaining undefeated teams in the country. The Bulldogs beat Missouri on Saturday while everyone but Oklahoma plays later in the day. The Sooners are off after playing nine times in the first nine weeks of the season.