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BATTLE FOR N.C.: Wake wins the week

North Carolina Wake Forest football-5

Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman, bottom, yells as he is helped up by tight end Brandon Chapman after Newman scored his second touchdown against North Carolina, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)


The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 16, 2019

Week 3 of the college football season provided clarity in North Carolina.

Wake Forest, which is 3-0, has vaulted to the forefront after it cooled off UNC on Friday night. Also, the gap between Duke and East Carolina for No. 5 in the state grew as the Pirates looked overmatched in Annapolis, Md., in a familiar 42-10 defeat to Navy.

Here are updated rankings:

1. Wake Forest

Record: 3-0.

Why No. 1? It has been quite an in-state ride for the Demon Deacons lately. Friday’s 24-18 home win over North Carolina added to a 2017 victory over Appalachian State, wins over N.C. State the last two years and a 59-7 thrashing of Duke to close the 2018 regular season. This year’s Week 1 victory over Utah State also was a quality result.

2. Appalachian State

Record: 2-0.

Why No. 2? App. State moves up one spot for not playing. The bye could have been especially timely for the Mountaineers, who will look to claim a valuable win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent when they travel to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels on Saturday afternoon.

3. North Carolina

Record: 2-1.

Why No. 3? Any thought of a dream and very unlikely undefeated season in coach Mack Brown’s first year back in Chapel Hill came to an end in Winston-Salem. An important mid-season stretch awaits UNC, but the good news for the Heels is there is no taking away the wins they already have over Miami and South Carolina.

4. N.C. State

Record: 2-1.

Why No. 4? Because North Carolina’s two victories are better than N.C. State’s pair of wins. That part is simple. The Wolfpack was in control against weaker opponents Weeks 1 and 2, but favored N.C. State and its talented defense dropped a loss Saturday and struggled during the second half of a 44-27 defeat at West Virginia.

5. Duke

Record: 2-1.

Why No. 5? The Blue Devils produced their most telling game of the season yet in winning 41-18 at Middle Tennessee. Quarterback Quentin Harris was nearly perfect, completing 24-of-27 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns. He also was the game’s leading rusher with 107 yards.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


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