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Wake Forest takes ACC reunion over North Carolina

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Wake Forest started fast, then hung on for dear life to score a 24-18 win over North Carolina on Friday night, an important win over an ACC opponent for the Deacons as they prepare for their conference schedule, in the ACC.

If that doesn’t make sense, it shouldn’t. These Tar Heel State neighbors and ACC bunk mates, who played on an annual basis from 1919 through 2004, scheduled a non-conference series for tonight and 2021 in Chapel Hill to circumvent a bloated ACC schedule that saw them play just twice between 2015 and 2024 and only six times in the 20 seasons between 2005 and ’24.

As for the actual game, it started slow for both squads and even slower for UNC.

After seven punts to open the game, North Carolina (2-1, 0-0 ACC) saw its first successful offensive play of the game — a 17-yard Javonte Williams run — end in disaster, as he fumbled it away at his own 20, setting up a 2-play touchdown drive for the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest (3-0, 0-0 ACC) didn’t need UNC’s help adding to the lead. The Deacons went 78 yards in five plays to push the lead to 14-0 to open the second quarter on Deacons quarterback Jamie Newman‘s second rushing touchdown, then increased the margin to 21 points through a 5-play, 85-yard march punctuated by a 51-yard bomb from Newman to Sage Surratt.

The lead could have been 28-0 or 24-0 at the half but, facing a 4th-and-1 from the UNC 6 with 5:56 left in the first half, Dave Clawson elected to go for it and paid the price when Kenneth Walker III was stuffed for no gain.

North Carolina finally got off the mat midway through the third quarter, converting its first third down on its 12th try, but its 56-yard march was halted when Sam Howell, who threw for 15 yards in the first half and was temporarily pulled for back up Jace Ruder in the second quarter, took a third down sack and the Tar Heels were forced to settle for a 49-yard Noah Ruggles boot.

Howell, pulled for a drive in the second quarter, dusted off that drive-killing sack and started to heat up for the Heels, finding Dyami Brown for 55 yards, taking the ball from the UNC 33 to the Wake 14. An 11-yard swing pass to Michael Carter put North Carolina in the end zone for the first time of the game at the 9:21 mark of the fourth quarter and put UNC officially on the comeback trail for the third time in as many games.

Needing a drive for the first time in the second half, a dormant Wake Forest offense could not deliver; the Deacons got an 11-yard run from Walker on the first snap, but then went three-and-out after. After the punt, a red-hot UNC offense needed only five plays to go 80 yards, most of them coming on a 50-yard Carter run. Howell, by this point fully channeling the fourth quarter energy he used to lead comebacks over South Carolina and Miami, fired a 17-yard touchdown pass to Brown, then hit tight end Garrett Walston for a 2-point conversion to pull the Tar Heels within 21-18 with 6:09 remaining.

Now desperately needing offense, this time Wake got it. Newman and running back Christian Beal-Smith carried the offense down the field for a 12-play, 61-yard drive that culminated in a 34-yard Nick Sciba field goal and killed all but the final 69 seconds.

North Carolina started its potential game-winning drive with a 10-yard completion to the sideline, but then the fourth quarter magic ran out for the Tar Heels. Out of timeouts after trying to stop Wake Forest’s previous drive, Howell used 30 seconds on a 6-yard run to the UNC 42 then, with the clock running, threw a 3-yard completion to himself on a deflected pass that saw him tackled in bounds and short of the sticks with the clock running at 15 seconds and, crucially, with the sticks showing 4th-and-1. Unable to spike it, Howell handed off to Carter, who failed to get out of bounds before the clock expired, ending the game.

The win is Wake Forest’s first over the Tar Heels since 2012, but its third straight over UNC in Winston-Salem.

Kellen Mond and Texas A&M teasing classic uniform look for Aggies?

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Texas A&M has had a number of uniforms over the years, mostly with slight variations from one another during the course of the season. And while there have been some really good looks and some truly awful ones, it never hurts any program to go back to the basics. And unless Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond and athletics director Ross Bjork are just pulling our chains, it seems the Aggies could be bringing back a classic design this upcoming season.

The fire was lit on the wild speculation when Mond retweeted a message on Twitter from the Barstool Sports Texas A&M account reflecting on the classic uniform design of the Aggies.

When someone else on Twitter directed this response from Mond to Bjork, Bjork seemed to play along.

The hope is Texas A&M will make their main home uniform look closer to the look used in the 1990s, with a slightly larger “Texas A&M” block lettering across the front of the jersey and the removal of the bezel numbering. And, of course, making sure there are no stripes on the shoulders. The throwback look did make a return to the Aggies last season, so hopefully those designs get promoted to more regular use whenever college football is played in College Station.

Sometimes less is more. In the case of Texas A&M football uniforms, that should be the guiding principle in the design process.

Toledo head coach Jason Candle treats first responders to free lunches

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Times are tough for local businesses around the country right now, which is why Toledo head coach Jason Candle chose to do some goodwill in his local community.

After hearing about the economic struggles of Ed Beczynski, a local restaurant owner who has provided catered meals for Toledo football, Candle stepped in to help him out while providing some free meals for police and firefighters in Toledo. Candle bought lunch from Buczynski’s deli for the Toledo Police department and four local fire stations in Toledo.

“First and foremost, I wanted to help the people out on the frontlines,” Candle said in a phone interview last week, according to Yahoo! Sports. “But I really wanted to use it as a way to spark other people to get involved, too. These are tough times, uncertain times. I thought it was a way to try and make a small difference.”

The act certainly inspired others to do the same. Beczynski says orders have been flying in since Candle’s act of kindness, both for standard food orders and for similar orders to provide to first responders and those in the medical field fighting the coronavirus pandemic firsthand.

FAU TE John Raine enters transfer portal

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One of FAU’s top receiving targets from 2019 could be on the move. Owls tight end John Raine has reportedly entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal database. Adam Rittenberg of ESPN was among the first to report the transfer portal update, via Twitter.

As a graduate transfer, Raines will be eligible to play this fall for whatever team he ends up joining. Last season, Raines caught 38 passes for 343 yards and six touchdowns, the second-most touchdown receptions on the team last fall.

FAU will certainly be a program in transition in 2020 with a new head coach and coaching staff. FAU is now losing four of its top five receivers from last season due to graduation or transfer. One of those leading receivers from last season was tight end Harrison Bryant, who is considered among the top tight end prospects in the NFL draft. No other tight ends caught a pass for the Owls in 2019.

 

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 5, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2018

THE HEADLINE: Bear Bryant’s great-grandson commits to play for Alabama
THE SYNOPSIS: Paul Tyson was rated as a four-star 2019 recruit on the 247Sports.com composite.  The Alabama coaching legend’s kin took a redshirt for his true freshman season after appearing in one game.  He’ll be a part of the competition to replace Tua Tagovailoa under center.  If when prep work for the 2020 campaign restarts, of course.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Ohio State committee approves two-year extension for Urban Meyer
THE SYNOPSIS: The extension would’ve kept Meyer in Columbus through the 2022 season.  Instead, eight months later, Meyer announced he was retiring at the end of the 2018 season.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Penn State trustee who was “running out of sympathy” for “so-called victims” of Jerry Sandusky not seeking second term
THE SYNOPSIS: For once, the shipdit made the right call.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Oklahoma football player accused of pimping out former Sooner cheerleader
THE SYNOPSIS: There’s a headline you don’t see every day.  Lawrence Moore was a 2013 signee.  The cornerback played in two games as a true freshman for Oklahoma before leaving the program.  Micah Madison Parker was a member of OU’s cheerleading squad during Moore’s lone season with the Sooners.

2015

THE HEADLINE: UGA’s three-man QB battle whittled down to two?
THE SYNOPSIS: Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park entered the spring as part of the under-center competition.  Exiting, it was down to Bauta and Ramsey.  In the end, neither started the opener.  That honor instead went to Greyson Lambert, who transferred in from Virginia in June.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Updated: Bobby Petrino placed on administrative leave
THE SYNOPSIS: Earlier in the day, the then-Arkansas head coach claimed he was alone on his motorcycle when he wrecked earlier in the month.  As it turned out, a female who wasn’t his wife was on the bike with him.  Jessica Dorrell became the student-athlete development coordinator for football the previous month.  Five days later, Petrino, who admitted to an affair with Dorrell, was fired.

2012

THE HEADLINE: USC it is: top ’13 QB tabs Trojans over Sooners, Tide, Huskies
THE SYNOPSIS: Max Browne chose USC over Oklahoma, Alabama and home-state Washington.  Redshirting as a true freshman, Browne spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as Cody Kessler’s primary backup. After winning the starting job in 2016, Browne lost his job to Sam Darnold following a 1-2 start.  A few months later, Browne transferred to Pitt.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Big Ten ‘super conference’ talk gaining momentum?
THE SYNOPSIS: The rumor du jour was that the Big Ten would move to 16 teams.  11 teams at the time, the Midwestern conference would instead add just three additional schools.  Nebraska in 2011, and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.