2:30: The game starts getting chippy, so Sean Renfree replaces Thad Lewis and promptly throws an interception on his first play. UNC is whistled for a block in the back on the return, and the two teams have offsetting fouls--all on the same play. The game's essentially over. Duke drops to 5-4, 3-2 in the ACC. More after the Blue Devils' press conference.
3:09: Lewis had Vernon over the middle, but the receiver dropped it. An extremely late flag gave Duke 15 yards on a late hit, but it's not looking good for Duke. With the loss today, the Blue Devils will have to win two of their final three games to be bowl-eligible. Duke still plays Georgia Tech at home, Miami on the road, and Wake Forest at home.
4:00: UNC's drive stalls at the 16-yard line after Yates' pass is nowhere close to a receiver. Barth drills the 33-yard field goal, his fourth of the day. UNC 19, Duke 6.
5:32: Or Carolina may strike quickly and put the game out of reach. Da'Norris Searcy returns the punt to the Duke 28, and now Houston is running all over the Blue Devils as UNC marches closer to the end zone.
5:46: Quinn sacks Lewis on third down, dropping the Blue Devils to 2-for-12 on third down conversions. This isn't looking good for Duke. By the time the Blue Devils get the ball back, it may be too late.
6:57: End-around to Boyd, who sneaks into the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown. That's a devastating blow for the Blue Devils, who are now going to have to find a way to score 10 points in less than seven minutes. That will likely include a North Carolina drive, and if it lasts 6:16, as this last one did, Duke is in trouble. UNC 16, Duke 6.
8:54: Houston should have been stopped at the line of scrimmage, but he bounced back to the inside for a 19 yard gain. That puts the ball inside the Duke 10. With the way this game's going, Duke has to hold Carolina to a field goal here. A 10-point deficit may be too much for the Blue Devils to overcome given UNC's effectiveness at running the clock. There will be a huge 3rd-and-3 after this timeout. It will probably be a Houston run--can Duke stop him when it matters?
11:26: Houston is still pounding away at the Duke front seven. He has 28 carries for 118 yards. Meanwhile, the clock keeps rolling. Carolina has had the ball nearly twice as long as Duke (32 minutes to 18).
13:13: On 4th-and-4 from the 35, Robert Quinn breaks up Lewis' pass to end Duke's drive.
14:52 4th: Johnny Williams breaks a huge return to the 44, and UNC's Shane Mularkey is called for a late hit. Duke will start its drive at the UNC 41. The Blue Devils would love to get some points on this drive to counter that last Carolina field goal. Is anyone ever going to score a touchdown in this game?
0:30: Yates swings the ball out to Houston on 3rd-and-20, picking up 6 yards to set up a 41-yard field goal attempt. Casey Barth splits the uprights as time expires in the third quarter. Yates helped Duke out again on that series, airmailing his receiver on second down to set up an incredibly long third down. UNC 9, Duke 6.
As we go to the fourth quarter, Lewis has just 96 yards passing.
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1:43: No. On a huge third down that could have gotten Duke into field goal range, Charles Brown intercepts a Lewis pass intended for Vernon and returns the ball 54 yards to the Duke 20. That's a huge swing--Carolina has re-seized momentum and now has the ball deep in Duke territory.
3:16: Yates' pass is tipped by Vincent Rey and picked off by Leon Wright, who returns it 31 yards to the UNC 37. Can Duke capitalize on another Tar Heel turnover?
5:15: Houston now has a career-high 19 rushes for a career-high 75 yards after making another Duke defender miss and picking up the first down. Greg Little catches a screen pass but may have fumbled the ball. Cutcliffe is challenging the ruling that Little was down, but the replay looks pretty inconclusive.
6:50: Duke had 2nd-and-1, but Scott lost 4 yards and then UNC brought the house--dropping only one safety--to rush Lewis into a poor throw. Jones' punt goes 48 yards and UNC's Jonathan Smith is whistled for a personal foul after the play, pushing Carolina back to the 24.
9:03: Chris Rwabukamba has a nice breakup of a pass intended for Dwight Jones in the end zone, saving a touchdown. Shallot skies a punt from the Duke 36, and it takes a Tar Heel bounce to the 8. The Blue Devils will take over there, with a long 92 yards between them and the end zone.
12:17: The Blue Devils bottle up Houston for a 1-yard loss on first down, a nice sign for a defense that has struggled against the run this afternoon. Pianalto picks up consecutive first downs, moving the Tar Heels into Duke territory.
12:25: Conner Vernon now has 583 receiving yards on the year, which is the best ever for a Duke freshman receiver. He also holds the Duke freshman record for catches, captured last week against Virginia.
12:35: Lewis' third-down pass is high, and Duke has to punt. Jones gets off a nice kick, but a Blue Devil player hit the kick returner as he was calling for a fair catch. That will give UNC the ball at the 26 instead of the 11.
14:08: Lewis spins out of a sack, then rumbles for a 19 yard gain. He does the same thing on the following play, picking up 14 more yards against a wide-open middle of the Tar Heel defense. For those keeping score at home, Duke has 38 more rushing yards on the last two plays than it did in the entire first half.
14:53 3rd: Duke has a nice return, but it's called back by a late block-in-the-back flag. Lewis and the offense will start their drive at the 16.
Halftime: Some notable first-half stats: Lewis was 11-for-18 for 86 yards. Duke had just 82 total yards--that's right, the Blue Devils had -4 yards rushing--to Carolina's 139. Ryan Houston has 63 of UNC's 81 rushing yards. Yates is 7-for-15 for 58 yards, and his inaccuracy has really hurt the Tar Heels at times. It's killed a couple drives short of the end zone, and UNC has had to settle for field goals as a result. Will that continue in the second half?
6-6, end of half: Lewis' pass goes harmlessly out the back of the end zone, and Maggio makes a 26-yard field goal from the right hash as time expires. So after being outplayed for much of the first half, Duke goes into the locker room tied with UNC. The Blue Devils will also get the ball to start the second half, so they have to be pleased with getting some points on that final drive. They've managed to hang in the game, and if they can translate that drive into some second-half momentum, they may be able to take the Victory Bell for the first time since 2003. Defensively, the Blue Devils will have to slow Ryan Houston, and they showed signs of doing that toward the end of the half. And Thad Lewis might not extend his streak of 300-yard games, but if he can manage the offense like he did on that final drive, Duke's got a chance.
6-3 UNC, 0:26: Kelly picks up the first down, and Lewis spikes the ball to stop the clock. Lewis' pass for Varner goes over his head, but the Tar Heels are whistled for holding. Vernon gets the ball down to the 6, but Duke has to call its final timeout to stop the clock at 11 seconds. Lewis has to get the ball in the end zone on this next play or else the Blue Devils risk losing the chance to get any points out of this--if the clock runs after the play, Maggio may not be able to get the kick off in time.
6-3 UNC, 0:34: A swing pass to Hollingsworth advances the ball to the 24, and Duke calls its second timeout with 34 seconds remaining in the half. The Blue Devils face a big 3rd-and-4 here.
6-3 UNC, 1:37: Hollingsworth only needed about a foot, and he got it. First down, Duke.
6-3 UNC, 3:20: Lewis has a nice completion, hitting Johnny Williams for the first down. The running game, though, is still struggling. Desmond Scott picks up nothing on a first-down draw, but Lewis comes back on third down to complete a 9-yard pass. It looks like Duke is going to go for it on fourth down, but Cutcliffe calls a timeout to talk it over with his team first. It would be a 47-yard field goal, and that may be out of Maggio's range.
6-3 UNC, 3:57: The Duke defense comes up big, with Vince Oghobaase sacking Yates on third down. Grant Schallock shanks the punt. It goes just 33 yards, and Duke will take over at its own 48, looking to create some momentum--and potentially take the lead--before halftime.
6-3 UNC, 7:14: Charlie Hatcher has a nice stop on first down, holding Houston to no gain for what might be the first time all afternoon. Boyd picks up a few yards on a reverse on second down, setting up a long 3rd-and-7. But Yates hits Pianalto for the first down, keeping the Duke defense on the field for at least four more downs.
6-3 UNC, 7:51: Lewis checks it down to Hollingsworth, who doesn't come close to picking up the first down. Jones has another short punt--this one goes just 34 yards--and Carolina returns it to close to midfield. A holding call, however, brings the ball back to the 16.
6-3 UNC, 9:09: A huge first down on 3rd-and-6 as Lewis hits Varner at the Duke 40. That will give Duke's defense at least a couple more minutes of rest. A three-and-out there could have been devastating. If the offense doesn't find more of a rhythm soon, though, the defense will be back out there soon enough.
6-3 UNC, 9:59: Another good break for Duke with North Carolina in striking distance. Yates' attempt for Greg Little goes over his outstretched hands, and UNC has to settle for a field goal. The Blue Devil defense has to be getting tired: The Tar Heels have had the ball for 14:51 to Duke's 5:10. The Blue Devils have to figure out a way to string together some plays. To this point, they've really only had two big plays: the punt block and the 22-yard completion to Varner. But so far, that's been enough to keep them in the game.
3-3, 13:27 2nd: North Carolina is driving. Houston is up to 10 carries for 51 yards. Duke doesn't seem to have any answer for him. He breaks off another run--this one for 8 yards--to get the Tar Heels to the Duke 27. How long can the Blue Devils hang in the game if Carolina keeps running like this?
3-3, end of 1st: Snyderwine update: He has an injured leg, so Maggio is the starting placekicker today. He hasn't been the starter since the Blue Devils' disappointing opener against Richmond.
3-3, 1:10 1st: But Lewis bounces back with a 22-yard pass to Brandon King. Another first-down QB draw does little, with Lewis picking up just a yard on the play but protecting the ball well as the Tar Heels go for the strip. On second down, Lewis is hit as he throws and misses Varner in the end zone. He hits Austin Kelly for an 8-yard gain on 3rd down, but Kelly's just short of the marker. Cutcliffe opts against going for it on 4th-and-short, and Maggio--still in the game instead of Snyderwine--makes the field goal to even the score.
3-0 UNC, 3:13 1st: They'll get it back in great field position. Jordan Byas flew through the middle of the Tar Heels' punt formation, blocked the kick and recovered it. Duke gets the ball at the UNC 31, but a QB draw goes nowhere--Lewis loses 6 yards on first down.
3-0 UNC, 4:10 1st: Draughn has a shoulder injury. His return is doubtful, but that probably isn't much consolation to the Blue Devils right now. Houston has 31 yards as the feature back, and Duke suffers another injury: LB Damian Thornton is down on the play. Yates' third-down pass, however, sails out of bounds and the Blue Devils will get the ball back.
3-0 UNC, 5:30 1st: Re'quan Boyette picks up four yards on first down, but a screen for Vernon is blown up. The pass falls incomplete, and Vernon is shaken up on the play. Marvin Austin deflects Lewis' third-down attempt for Johnny Williams, and the Blue Devils go three-and-out. Kevin Jones once again has a short punt, but it takes a Duke bounce to the UNC 31. Duke is struggling to generate much momentum against this Tar Heel defense. That's going to have to change, because it looks like it's only a matter of time before the Tar Heels put up some points.
3-0 UNC, 7:14 1st: Duke left Pianalto wide open on third down, and the receiver had little trouble picking up the first down. The Blue Devils appeared to force a fumble, but the referees ruled that Pianalto was already down.
Carolina once again faces third down--this time 3rd-and-5--but this time, Yates' pass for Houston sails over his head. UNC will have to punt, and it bounces into the end zone for a touchback.
3-0 UNC, 9:30 1st: UNC RB Shaun Draughn has been taken to the locker room with an injury, but with the way Ryan Houston's running the ball, it might not matter. And now Carolina's throwing the ball, too--Yates just completed a first-down pass and had Jheranie Boyd wide open on the following play, but the pass hit him in the hands and bounced harmlessly out of play.
3-0 UNC, 11:18 1st: Duke gets a big kickoff return from Conner Vernon, but its first offensive possession isn't going well. After a short Desmond Scott run, Lewis is hit as he throws and fumbles it. The Blue Devils recover and Lewis completes an 8-yard pass on third down, but it's well short of the first-down marker. Kevin Jones will have to punt it away.
3-0 UNC, 11:25 1st: If someone told you after Week 1 that Duke would have a better chance of making a bowl than Michigan as of Nov. 7, would you have believed them?
3-0 UNC, 11:29 1st: A break for Duke, as T.J. Yates doesn't even come close to hitting tight end Zack Pianalto in the end zone on 3rd-and-11 from the 23. Carolina drills the field goal, putting them up by 3.
0-0, 12:42 1st: UNC already has 28 yards on 4 carries after Ryan Houston's 7-yard run on 3rd-and-2. Duke's going to have to find a way to slow down this Tar Heel offense. A Duke penalty has put UNC at the 21-yard line.
0-0, 14:53 1st: Maggio's kickoff is returned to the UNC 26. Not sure why he kicked off instead of Will Snyderwine, but we'll try to find out. The Tar Heels have already notched a first down by sticking to the run, which is their offensive strength.
PREGAME: Curious how many Duke fans are here? The answer: not many. They fill about a section and a half, and the other 95% of the stadium is clad in baby blue.
PREGAME: The starting lineup for Duke is as expected. UNC will start center Cam Holland over Lowell Dyer, who is sick, and true freshman Brennan Williams at right tackle in his first career start.
PREGAME: We're coming to you live from Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, where Duke is looking to beat its archrival for just the second time in the last 20 tries--and perhaps more importantly, extend a three-game winning streak and move within one victory of bowl eligibility. Kenan Stadium is slowly filling up as we move within 20 minutes of kickoff. One thing to look for this afternoon: How many Duke students make the trip down 15-501 to watch this contest? This rivalry game means more than it has in years, and it has finally been moved from its traditional time over Thanksgiving weekend. In any case, it's a beautiful day in Chapel Hill--66 and sunny--which is good news for Thad Lewis and the pass-happy Blue Devils. Over the past four weeks, Lewis has attempted 43.25 passes per game and thrown for 383 yards per game to vault Duke into the top-10 in passing offense in the country. Can he keep it up against the Tar Heels?