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Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: Duke

This is a prime example of why games are played on the field and not on the stat sheet.

UNC dominated Duke in nearly every statistic - total offense, turnovers, first downs, time of possession - and yet had to sweat out a final possession by the Blue Devils to secure its 20th win in the last 21 tries in this series.

For the most part, UNC’s effort was sloppy but was good enough to beat a Duke team that would finish 3-9. Carolina was plagued by penalties and the kind of mental miscues that have followed them most of the season. Still Carolina eked out a win and a third-straight winning season.

Thus follows this week’s GBU report:


T.J. Yates: The senior ended his regular-season with a flourish, an efficient 28-35 effort for 264 yards and a touchdown. Duke essentially took away his deep looks and he wasn’t able to connect on the few looks he did get, but he did pass for over 3,000 yards this season and over 9,000 in his career.

Anthony Elzy: The story of UNC’s running backs is very impressive, considering the season Johnny White had in place of Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn, and then what Elzy has done in relief of the injured White. Elzy had a career-high 116 yards on the ground and caught another four balls for 21 yards.

Dwight Jones: Yates was finally able to hook up with his top receiver, to the tune of 11 catches for 121 yards.

Casey Barth: Though he missed a 41-yard field goal, a shout-out goes to Barth as he set a school record for most consecutive extra points made.

Third downs and turnovers: Two of the key stats between UNC’s wins and losses this season, Carolina converted 11 of 17 third downs and had two takeaways while not turning the ball over themselves.


Kick coverage: This continues to be UNC’s worst area of special teams. Carolina gave up 13 yards on one punt return, which is crucial when C.J. Feagles is only averaging about 38 yards per punt; the Heels also gave up 36 yards on a kick return. I guess this is an improvement given that a punt return for a touchdown turned last week’s game.

ESPNU: OK, I get that ESPNU is the Worldwide Leader’s C-team at best, but the incorrect graphics, listing Bruce Carter as an impact player when he wasn’t even playing, and the general Pam Ward/Danny Kannell experience made me glad I watched most of the game on my DVR.


Penalties: UNC was flagged 10 times for 74 yards, but that was not a real measure of the damage done because a number of those penalties were inside the 20-yard line and were half-the-distance types. For some reason, UNC-Duke games are hardly crisp, efficient affairs but the lack of focus and discipline, especially from experienced players, is troubling.

Safeties: For the second-straight game, UNC gives up a 4th-quarter safety. Really? Lots of teams don’t give up two safeties all season, if that.


So, to borrow a line from Nuke LaLoosh in “Bull Durham”, winning is in fact better than losing, and the significance of three straight winning seasons cannot be discounted, given that it has only happened three times since the Choo Choo Justice era. The Heels will now await a bowl selection and hopefully have four weeks of practice to get healthy and polish the issues that have plagued them through most of November.

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8 comments to Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: Duke

  • Andy In Omaha

    Another Ugly: Kendric Burney. I thought the camera shots of him talking trash to the Dook receiver while they were discussing his potential pass interference penalty (which was ruled an uncatchable pass) were disgusting. I also thought as a SENIOR he should know better than to pick off a pass on fourth down when all he should have done was knock it down to give the offense the ball on the 45 yard line.

    Deunta Williams. Seriously? You have to clip a Dook receiver after Burney’s said stupid decision to pick off a pass that was unecessary to give us the ball 44 1/2 yards further back than it should have been? You’re a senior too, right?

    Blitz Packages. I can appreciate the fact that, in our 11th and 12th games, Withers finally understands that more players than the defensive line are allowed to go after the QB, but the SAME blitzes when we bring pressure? Had Dook not been an awful team, a competent QB and offensive coordinator would have picked this team apart running the same things over and over again. See NC State, Virginia Tech, and Miami for examples.

    I’m kind of glad we won, but we should have dug our cleats in Dook so bad they’re still trying to get them out this morning. Leave it to this coaching crew to make this a close game.

  • Heels Perspective

    Andy, I had the exact thoughts about Burney’s boneheaded play. I would not tend to blame the kid but he is a Senior. I would hope that maybe, just maybe that somebody on the coaching staff, at some point, would have talked about that type of situation….. If Duke had won that game due to the sequence of events that started with Burney, I would have been happy to tell this coaching staff to join Randy Shannon in the unemployment line.

    Doc, you mentioned TJ wasn’t able to connect, well, J Boyd dropped one yesterday in the end zone. Yea, I know from all the highlights from Saturday that dropping passes seemed to be contagious.

    7 and 5, sigh. Heels let the GT and NC State games literally slip out of their fingers.

  • Andy In Omaha

    HP, I understand it’s been a frustrating year for Burney, but as a senior, he should damn well know better. Same for Williams. Why try to lay a block on someone if you can’t see their face?
    Butch has completely worn out his welcome. He needs to be held accountable for a lot of the stupid play on the field. Teams that are coached well don’t do a lot of the dumb things that the Heels have been doing for the past 13 years now, which coincidentally, was the last time we had a good coach.

  • 40yrheel

    we either are a very poorly coached team or a very stupid, undisciplined team. i’m still not sold on butch and his staff.

  • scl11

    Butch beat Duke again in a close one, time for another raise, right?

  • Silent Sam

    I’m certainly not endorsing Coach Davis, but it’s true he’s a not very good 27-23 as head coach, but that’s certainly a lot better than the 27-45 racked up by the coach not to be named. And, I’m guessing Mack Brown is on the hot seat in Austin — and the rest of Texas.

  • scl11

    ^Good Point, was the previous coach making $2M+ a year too.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Option 1 - Being the ACC’s laughing stock because you are 27-45

    Option 2 - Being the ACC’s laughing stock because you are in deep trouble with the NCAA and have had a very embarrassing academic scandal. Oh, and in exchange for all of that your football program is still average at best.

    Not sure which is worse. (But I’m certain that its not worth paying $2M a year to be a laughing stock)