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Making the Grade: Duke football vs. North Carolina

Philip Catterall / The Chronicle

The Blue Devils' first Thursday-night home game in 20 years didn't end up the way they dreamed it would.

A pair of fumbles on Duke's first two possessions spelled disaster for the Blue Devils and foreshadowed a long night to come, as North Carolina controlled all aspects of the game in a 45-20 drubbing that took Duke out of the running for the ACC Coastal Division crown and spots in the ACC Championship Game and the Orange Bowl.

As the Victory Bell heads back to Chapel Hill for the first time in two seasons, the most important thing the Blue Devils can do is regroup, and quickly. Duke will need to bring its two-game losing streak to a halt Nov. 29 against Wake Forest to build some confidence before readying for its third bowl game in as many years.

Offense: D

Pass: For the second straight game, quarterback Anthony Boone struggled to get in a rhythm, completing just 22 of his 40 pass attempts for 262 yards and an interception. The redshirt senior tossed a pair of scores, but one came in garbage time with the Tar Heels well ahead... Read more

Extra Point: Duke football vs. North Carolina

No. 25 Duke was hyped up before its Tobacco Road showdown with North Carolina Thursday night at Wallace Wade Stadium but fell flat after two early turnovers, falling 45-20. The Blue Devils have now lost two games in a row and have to bounce back quickly after seeing the Coastal Division title slip away.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Contain Tar Heel quarterback Marquise Williams: The North Carolina signal caller had 21 rushes for 98 yards and two touchdowns against Duke. Needless to say, the Blue Devils failed to contain the quarterback. The junior dual-threat quarterback moved the chains for the Tar Heels several times with quarterback scrambles, but was especially effective on designed run plays... Read more

Halftime Report: North Carolina 28, Duke 7

Playing in their first Thursday night game in 20 years, the Blue Devils have looked lost in the limelight thus far, as they trail the Tar Heels 28-7 after two quarters of play at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Duke seemed to be ready to strike first, as it held the Tar Heels to a three-and-out on their first possession. Senior Jamison Crowder then exploded on the following punt for a 30-yard return to the Tar Heel 44-yard line. The Blue Devils continued their initial push, as redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Boone found Max McCaffrey for a 16-yard completion on third down.

But, just like last week, Duke could not hang onto the ball when it mattered, as it would give the ball right back two plays later when Thomas Sirk fumbled the ball on a second-down run, giving North Carolina the ball at its own 22-yard line.

The Tar Heels would not squander their second possession, driving 78 yards in 3:44, capping the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marquise Williams to Quinshad Davis... Read more

Behind Enemy Lines: North Carolina

Before every football game this year, The Blue Zone will sit down with a football writer from the opposing school’s student newspaper to get the scoop on their team and season.

This week, The Chronicle’s Nick Martin spoke to the The Daily Tar Heel's sports editor Grace Raynor about Thursday's prime time battle for the Victory Bell between No. 25 Duke and North Carolina.

TC: Hi Grace, thanks for speaking with me today. So North Carolina went through that early season slump, losing four-straight games and everybody went through an all-hope-is-lost phase. But now, they've won three of their last four. And it seems like this has been North Carolina's schtick for the past two years—lose early, win late... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. North Carolina

After an error-filled defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech, Duke is clinging on to the top spot in the Coastal Division as they prepare to play in-state rival North Carolina. The No. 25 Blue Devils can protect their division crown by beating the Tar Heels Thursday and then Wake Forest the week after. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are the keys to this evening’s game:

Contain Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams

The junior signal caller is the heart and soul of the North Carolina offense, accounting for 28 of its 46 touchdowns on the year. He has put up solid stats through the air—with a 63.2 percent completion rate, 18 touchdowns, and 7.32 yards per attempt—but taking off as a runner is where he can cause real problems. Williams has found the endzone 10 times this year and racked up 623 yards with his legs. The Blue Devils' front seven will need to collapse the pocket and make sure to finish plays... Read more

X factor: Duke football vs. North Carolina

Despite falling to Virginia Tech 17-16 last week, No. 25 Duke still controls its own destiny to recapture the ACC Coastal Division title and set up a rematch against undefeated Florida State Dec. 6. With a short week to prepare, the Blue Devils will have to shake off the loss as they ready themselves for a primetime matchup against Tobacco Road rival North Carolina Thursday at Wallace Wade Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Every week throughout the football season, we’ll break down a player on each team who could be the difference-maker in the upcoming contest.

Duke: quarterback Anthony Boone

In both of the Blue Devils’ losses this season, the Weddington, N.C., native has been horrific managing the ball. Against Miami Sept. 27, Boone completed a measly 43.1 percent of his passes—just 22 out of 51—and threw two interceptions with zero touchdowns. Last week against a struggling and injury-prone Virginia Tech defense, the redshirt senior completed 18 of his 40 passes for 181 yards, and again threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns... Read more

Pacers All-Star Paul George visits Duke locker room following 81-71 win Tuesday

After getting some love from LeBron James on social media Friday, the Blue Devils got an in-person visit from Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George Tuesday.


George, who suffered a compound fracture in his right leg in a scrimmage for Team USA this summer playing for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, is still recovering from the gruesome injury in Indianapolis and is not expected to play this season, but took time Tuesday to enjoy watching some of college basketball's best players and possible future opponents and teammates... Read more

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, Okafor discuss relationship, recruitment process

Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Jahlil Okafor considered going to Michigan State.

That didn't stop him from inflicting damage against the Spartans Tuesday night.

The Chicago native scored eight quick points on 4-of-4 shooting and finished the contest with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and five rebounds despite being sidelined with foul trouble down the stretch.

Okafor's performance helped No. 4 Duke fend off No. 19 Michigan State 81-71 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and after the game, both Okafor and Spartan head coach Tom Izzo discussed the dominant big man's recruiting process.

The Spartans made Okafor a Read more

Krzyzewski: Okafor could grow to become Duke's best big man

Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Following Saturday's tilt against Fairfield, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski showered praise on freshman Tyus Jones by comparing the point guard to former Blue Devil great Tommy Amaker.

After Duke's 81-71 win against Michigan State in Indianapolis Tuesday night, it was freshman center Jahlil Okafor's turn for recognition, specifically where the Chicago native could potentially land on the list of great Duke big men. Krzyzewski stopped short of calling Okafor "iconic"—saying that only winning will earn you that status—but still placed the freshman in great company... Read more

The best of Krzyzewski, Izzo, Calipari and Self from the Champions Classic

Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

Tuesday's Champions Classic in Indianapolis showcased some of the best young talent college basketball has to offer—No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Kentucky trotted out multiple lineups of McDonald's All-Americans, and No. 5 Kansas and No. 19 Michigan State each feature teams loaded with former top recruits.

But there was also a lot of star power on the sidelines at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Four of the game's most successful and more charismatic coaches—Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Bill Self and John Calipari—brought their teams to the site of this year's Final Four looking to test them against peer powerhouses, and each left with a better understanding of what work needs to be done.

Below are some of the more humorous sound-bytes from the coaches' postgame press conferences Tuesday:

Bill Self, Kansas:

As he took a sip of water after losing to Kentucky by 32 points: "I was hoping this was going to be vodka... Read more