Daniel Jones could not get any offense going after the first quarter, throwing for fewer than 200 ...

Making the Grade: Duke football vs. North Carolina

The Blue Devils moved to 4-0 thanks to a strong defensive performance and some clutch offensive plays. Despite the defense's relative dominance against a good North Carolina offense, Duke continued to struggle in the red zone on offense, settling for field goals multiple times.

Offense: B

Pass: Daniel Jones had another uneven performance behind center coming off last week’s win over Baylor. The redshirt sophomore threw for 202 yards and a touchdown, but only completed 52.9% of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the year. His touchdown pass came on a 28 yard pass to a wide open Davis Koppenhaver who strolled into the end zone easily. The North Carolina defensive backs did a good job blanketing Duke’s receivers, often leaving Jones to fit the ball into tight angles. 

Rush: The Blue Devil rushers had another strong game, posting 186 yards in 45 carries. Brittain Brown was the main threat, running for 90 yards including a 38-yard burst on Duke’s first touchdown drive. Brown was injured though late in the first half and although he later returned, Shaun Wilson took over as the workhorse back. The senior ground out just 56 yards, but scored the crucial go ahead touchdown with six minutes left.

X’s and O’s: The Blue Devils put up 388 yards of total offense, but had multiple drives stall out in the red zone and were forced to kick short field goals. Red zone offense has been an issue for Duke all year long and one that will need to be addressed by the time Miami comes to town on Friday.

Defense: A-

Pass: Tar Heel starting quarterback Chazz Surratt threw for 259 yards and a touchdown as well as an interception. The Blue Devils struggled to contain receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams who finished with 125 yards receiving and a touchdown on just five receptions. Byron Fields Jr.’s interception return for a touchdown though quashed North Carolina’s comeback attempt and sealed the win for Duke.

Rush: The Blue Devil rush defense was on point for most of the afternoon except for one 56-yard touchdown run by Surratt when he escaped the pocket. The Tar Heel running backs found little room all day as the defensive line did a great job getting penetration into the backfield and closing running lanes. 

X’s and O’s: Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles dialed up a heavy amount of pressure and it paid off with four sacks and heavy pressure on the game sealing interception.

Special Teams: B

It was a largely uneventful game for the special teams unit. Kicker Austin Parker knocked in two short field goals although he had a short kick blocked right before halftime. He did make all three of his extra point attempts on the day. 

Ratliff-Williams escaped containment on one kickoff return, getting it 24 yards up the field, but other than that the North Carolina return game was held quiet with just one punt return on the day as the Blue Devils did a good job getting down the field and forcing fair catches. 

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