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UNC, Wake Forest to play non-conference football series

UNC’s A.J. Blue breaks for a gain of 28 yards in the first quarter against Wake Forest on Sept. 8, 2012, at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.
UNC’s A.J. Blue breaks for a gain of 28 yards in the first quarter against Wake Forest on Sept. 8, 2012, at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem. ROBERT WILLETT

North Carolina and Wake Forest will play two non-conference games in football in 2019 and 2021, the schools announced on Monday.

UNC and Wake Forest are original members of the ACC and they played annually in football from 1944 to 2004. The ACC in 2005 adopted a divisional format – with UNC in the Coastal Division and Wake in the Atlantic – and so the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons have played just four times since.

Given the ACC's expansion to 14 teams, UNC and Wake are scheduled to play conference games once every seven years. Their games in 2019 and 2021 will not count in the conference standings.

The 2019 game will be in Winston-Salem, and the teams will play at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill in 2021. UNC and Wake will play a previously-scheduled conference game next season in Chapel Hill.

This is the first time that teams from a major conference – the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – have agreed to schedule a non-conference game between each other.

“This is a unique opportunity to play a regional rival in years that fall outside the normal conference rotation,” Bubba Cunningham, the UNC athletic director, said in a statement. “We have a long history with Wake Forest that has historical value and will generate interest within our fans.”

The UNC-Wake series is the third-oldest in the ACC.

Andrew Carter is the UNC athletics beat reporter for The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewcarter .

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