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UNC at Duke

Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
When: Saturday, November 27, 3:30 PM
Records: UNC 6-5, 3-4 ACC; Duke 3-8, 1-6

This ought to be fun.

Although UNC has claimed the Victory Bell 19 times out of the last 20 meetings with Duke, the games tend to be close. And given the propensity the Devils have shown to score points - and give up points - the scoreboard operator at Wallace Wade may get a workout on Saturday.

Though Duke has only posted three wins this season, they are no longer an easy out (not that they ever were for the Tar Heels regardless of record). David Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils playing competitive football and they have been slinging the ball all over the field on the arm of sophomore QB Sean Renfree, who threw for 334 yards in a 30-20 loss to Georgia Tech last week. Renfree has five games of over 300 yards this season. Renfree’s favorite target has been tight end Cooper Helfet, and the Devils also have a capable kicker in Will Snyderwine, who booted a career-long 52-yarder last week.

The problem for Duke is that they haven’t really been able to stop anyone this season. The Devils are giving up nearly 450 yards of total offense and over 36 points per game. Duke was up on GT 13-6 at halftime last week before the Jackets. without injured QB Joshua Nesbitt, exploded for 24 second-half points.

Meanwhile for the Tar Heels, this game would certainly have to be anticlimactic after last week’s heartbreaking loss to NC State. Carolina has already clinched a postseason berth and has little to play for other than pride and bowl positioning. Senior quarterback T.J. Yates has rewritten the UNC record books for passing yards, completions, and attempts, but unless Yates has a prolific day against Duke and in the bowl game, the one career record he has not taken from Darian Durant, career touchdown passes, will not be broken.

Anthony Elzy continues to serve admirably in relief of injured starting Johnny White, but the injury list continues for the Tar Heels. Tight end Ed Barham joins defensive lineman Tim Jackson on the doubtful list, and senior linebacker Bruce Carter is listed as questionable after being hurt against NC State.

UNC has faced two major issues in its two-game losing streak and over the past month of the season. First is turnovers - UNC only has six turnovers in its six wins, but has 15 turnovers in the five losses. The other issue the Heels have struggled with recently is 3rd down conversions, on both sides of the ball. Carolina has only converted 31% of its 3rd downs in the last three games, and in its five losses, UNC’s opponents are converting nearly 43% of their 3rd downs.

In the end, UNC has not had much of a problem scoring and should not against a porous Duke defense. The question is, can the Heels avoid a letdown versus a Duke team hoping to be a spoiler? A win guarantees a 3rd-straight winning season for Carolina for only the 4th time in the past 60 years.

Oh, and by the way, Pam Ward and Danny Kannell are calling the game on ESPNU. Consider yourself warned.

UNC 42, Duke 27

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8 comments to UNC at Duke

  • Andy In Omaha

    Considering this may be the only time we get to stomp a hole in Dook this winter, I’m hoping the final score turns out to be at least 42-27. Because with the way basketball season is starting out, I’m not optimistic we can score 42 points with out basketball team.

  • Heel To The End

    this is why i shouldnt have bothered even checking in on the game.
    4th down for dook and you, Burney, SENIOR, intercept when you should just knock it down, while Williams, SENIOR, commits a pointless block in the back ten yds behind the play.
    next up, a safety and a TD.

    so instead of our ball up 14 with decent field position, you have this needlessly tight game.


  • rathskellar68

    Were the game commenters saying something about the “Military Bowl?” What the heck is the “Military Bowl?”

  • 52bgJ

    probably going to be the Music City Bowl rath. Tenn/Ga or Fla

  • Is this our 3rd straight bowl appearance that Duke will be watching? Let’s start a football streak with our rival that rivals the UNC/Clemson basketball deal.

  • Andy In Omaha

    This game should NOT have even been close. UNC decimated Dook’s defense and nearly doubles time of possession. Should have been way more TD’s however our poorly coached, undisciplined team set us back with 10 penalties.
    Get us to the bowl game and get this freaking season over with, then get us a good coach that will teach the players how to not shoot yourselves in the foot by playing like fools and letting teams back into games.

  • OldSchool

    I was at the game today. It should not have been close. Our penalties were maddening. I hate to say it, but I didn’t the type of discipline needed to grow a serious program.

  • GregBlackwell

    The pick should have been knocked down. Very bad play as far as smarts goes. Played well, just too many penalties, unforced plays, and poor decision making. But, 3rd straight bowl game is not bad considering where we’ve been over the past 9 years. Butch needs to stay, and Yates has been great this year!!