The UNC football program heads to Wake Forest looking to continue its five-game winning streak.
Earlier this week, the 8-1 Tar Heels moved up two spots in the College Football Playoff rankings to No. 15.
Wake Forest welcomes in the UNC at 6-3 but have lost two in a row coming into this matchup.
The Demon Deacons hold one of the top offenses in the ACC, but struggle to keep opponents offenses out of the end zone.
North Carolina will look to continue its offensive dominance and will need to accomplish a few things in order to do so.
Here are the offensive keys to the game for the UNC football program.
Build on last week's performance from Elijah Green
Nov 5, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Elijah Green (21) runs for a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Last week was just the second time in the last six games that the UNC offense had a leading runner not named Drake Maye… and that was because of the breakout performance of Elijah Green.
Green had a career-high 22 carries for 91 yards, a rushing touchdown and added a receiving touchdown as well.
It was evident that after the last few games with a lack of a true rushing attack, there was a priority put on the run, especially when the Heels had the lead in the fourth quarter.
Green has shown this season that he can be a real explosive playmaker out of the backfield.
He now has five touchdowns in the last three games and has really emerged as someone that UNC can lean on in the rushing game.
Look for UNC to lean on Green again on Saturday.
Feed Josh Downs
Nov 5, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Josh Downs (11) catches a pass for a touchdown against Virginia Cavaliers defensive back Jonas Sanker (20) during the second half at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
After a bit of a slow start, mainly due to injury, Downs has emerged as the wide receiver a lot of people expected around the country heading into this year.
In the last three games, Downs has combined for 35 catches for 393 yards and three touchdowns. He has three straight 100+ yard games and four in the last five.
Last week, Downs was unstoppable, grabbing 15 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. Every team knows he’s going to get the ball but, up to this point, nobody has been able to really slow him down.
The manner in which UNC uses Downs — whether it’s in the slot, on the outside or in motion catching a swing pass even behind the line of scrimmage, is exceptional.
There should be no change this week… just keep feeding Downs and good things will happen.
This needs to be the offensive line's best game this year
Nov 5, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; A general view as North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) attempts a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
The offensive line has played much better the past few weeks and that needs to continue this weekend.
Wake Forest has three very talented defensive lineman who have combined for nine sacks this year and 20.5 tackles for loss — Jasheen Davis, Rondell Bothroyd and Kobie Turner.
All three are some of the top lineman in the ACC and do a terrific job playing off of each other in order to get into the backfield.
The Tar Heels should try to establish the rushing attack with Elijah Green but if they can’t, it’ll put even more pressure on Drake Maye to create with his legs, something Mack Brown wants to be careful with.
Have a fast start
Nov 5, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Elijah Green (21) celebrates with wide receiver Josh Downs (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
The UNC offense has obviously proven to be one of the top and explosive in the country but in the last two games, it hasn’t been able to start as strong as it should.
Against Pitt and Virginia, the Tar Heels punted six times in the first halves combined combined to just five times in the previous three games’ first halves.
Because of the powerful offensive unit that Wake Forest puts on the field, UNC needs to come out hot in order to keep any sort of unneeded early pressure off of its defense.
This may be the biggest key to the game and if North Carolina can get off to a good start, it’ll make things a bit easier as the game goes on.