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Duke's offensive line will need to rebound and protect quarterback Daniel Jones.

Third and goal: Duke football vs. North Carolina



After an up-and-down performance against Baylor in a 34-20 win, Duke will travel to Chapel Hill to take on their archrival, the North Carolina Tar Heels. North Carolina will be looking for redemption after getting upset 28-27 at Wallace Wade Stadium last year. Here are three keys to Saturday's contest: 

Limit Chazz Surratt

A former 2015 Duke commit who ultimately elected to go to North Carolina, Surratt is a redshirt freshman who has excelled for the Tar Heels this season. Surratt has thrown for 586 yards and completed 46 of 66 throws, including four passing touchdowns, in the past three games he’s played. In the Tar Heels’ 53-23 win against Old Dominion last week, the dual-threat Denver, N.C. native also contributed two rushing touchdowns. The Blue Devil defense was a shining point last week again Baylor, giving the offense plenty of opportunities to pull away. With linebacker Ben Humphrey leading the team on defense alongside Joe Giles-Harris, who leads the team with 13 solo tackles and 13 assisted tackles, the Blue Devils look strong defensively against an up-and-coming quarterback like Surratt, but still face a difficult task in slowing him. 

Strong Blue Devil offense

The Duke offense needs to step up and bounce back from last week’s performance to be able to compete with an effective North Carolina offense. The undefeated Blue Devils have been led by redshirt sophomore Daniel Jones, who has had an incredible start to the season and has been a vital asset to the offense. Against Northwestern, the  signal-caller passed for over 300 years and ran for over 100, with two rushing touchdowns after a strong performance against North Carolina Central. But the second-year starer had an off week against Baylor, throwing for a season-low 186 yards and a red-zone interception. The offensive line struggled against Baylor as well, letting Jones get sacked five times. Although the Tar Heels' defense isn't stellar, the offensive line will have to regain its form to help Jones and Duke keep up with North Carolina's high-flying offense. 

Maintain a positive attitude

As with any game against their arch rival, Duke has to be mentally prepared to take on North Carolina, as the intense rivalry can sometimes become a mental block and affect play. Not only does Surratt’s image as “the one who got away” from Duke make the matchup more intense, but Duke’s desire to hold onto the Victory Bell weighs on the mind of a football team that is constantly overshadowed. With Duke besting North Carolina only four times since 1990, and three of those wins coming in the last five years, Duke’s want to hold onto the Bell after a thrilling 28-7 victory over the Tar Heels at home is stronger than ever. However, if the pressure of playing their rivals, along with keeping the Bell in Durham, overcomes Duke they could be in trouble on Tar Heels turf.


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