Duke rings Carolina's bell


CHAPEL HILL -- After 13 years of ringing in Chapel Hill, the Victory Bell has returned to Durham.

On the strength of a dominant first-half performance, the Duke football team (4-8, 2-6 in the ACC) capped off its most successful season in five years by defeating the University of North Carolina 30-22 at Keenan Stadium Saturday.

The Blue Devils jumped all over North Carolina (2-10, 1-7) in the early going. After failing to score on its first possession, Duke then put points on the board on each of its next five, with three field goals and two touchdowns. By the end of the first half, the Blue Devils had amassed 283 total yards and 15 first downs to UNC's 39 and one respectively, and had a 23-0 lead.

The Tar Heels clawed their way back into the game in the second half by scoring 22 points on three touchdowns, but a Chris Douglas one-yard touchdown run--he finished with 27 carries for 119 yards--with 12:32 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the insurance that Duke needed.

"I'm so happy for our players," Duke interim head coach Ted Roof said.

"I think it was a true test of their character." The Blue Devils relied on a ball-control offense throughout the game, running 80 plays for 425 total yards in 39:11 to UNC's 57 plays for 289 yards in 20:49.

Duke opened the scoring with 8:11 to go in the first quarter on a Matt Brooks 27-yard field goal. On the ensuing UNC drive, freshman tailback Ronnie McGill fumbled the ball on his 35-yard line, where it was recovered by Blue Devil senior linebacker Ryan Fowler. Although Duke was again unable to punch it in after having three plays from inside North Carolina's three-yard line, Brooks added another field goal with 5:58 on the clock.

UNC then went three-and-out on its next possession, and the Blue Devils responded with a 13-play, 61-yard scoring drive, capped off by sophomore tailback Cedric Dargan's one-yard touchdown leap over the UNC defensive line.

After another Tar Heel three-and-out, Duke's Brent Garber added a 42-yard field goal with 6:57 remaining in the first half to extend the lead to 16-0. The Blue Devils finished off the half's scoring with a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive that ended in another Dargan 1-yard touchdown run, only this time he stayed grounded. Although UNC threatened to score just before halftime after a 63-yard kickoff return from cornerback Michael Waddell, its drive fizzled out at the Duke 31-yard line after the Tar Heels failed to convert on fourth down.

The North Carolina offense regrouped, though, and came out firing in the second half. UNC quarterback Darian Durant--who went 18-for-35 with 203 yards and two touchdowns--led the Tar Heels on a nine-play, 80-yard drive in 3:58 to open the half, finishing it off with a 17-yard pass along the right side of the endzone to sophomore wide receiver Wallace Wright to make it 23-7.

North Carolina scored again with 14:55 left in the game on a Durant 10-yard run to the left side, and added a two-point conversion to reduce the Duke lead to 23-15. The Blue Devils countered with perhaps their most important drive of the game, stifling UNC's momentum by going 76 yards in only five plays. The drive, which culminated in Douglas' one-yard touchdown run, gave the Blue Devils a 30-15 lead they would not relinquish.

"We knew we could play with these guys," Douglas said. "We knew that if we got some momentum going, that if we executed, we could just basically roll our hat, just go out there and do what we needed to do, and that's what we did."

After the initial euphoria over the victory, some team members' focus shifted to their uncertain coaching situation.

"We wanted to give coach Roof a fair shot at the job next year," Fowler said. "He's done so much for this team since he took over...give him some more time and he'll do more and more." Roof, however, said he was not thinking about the future.

"We came together and did the absolute very best that we know how," Roof said. "I'm prouder that I'm not worrying about next week or two weeks. Right now, I'm just very proud of our coaches and I'm very proud of our players."


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