DURHAM, NC — Duke became bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 with a 33-30 victory over North Carolina on Saturday night.
Duke beat the Tar Heels after Jamison Crowder caught a touchdown pass with 13 seconds left, which ended a three-touchdown run by the hard-charging Tar Heels.
Here are the grades for Duke’s sixth win in eight tries and UNC’s third defeat in eight games:
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UNC offense: The Tar Heels finally woke up in the fourth quarter and made a run at the Devils by scoring 21 of their 30 points in the period. Gio Bernard (143 yards and a score rushing, 68 yards receiving and a score receiving) played well pretty much throughout, but UNC’s otherwise sluggish ways proved costly. UNC finished converting just 4-of-15 third-down situations even though it made good on all four of its fourth-down attempts. Grade: C.
Duke offense: Sean Renfree (23-36, 276 yards and the game-winning touchdown) was very good in stretches, but what won the game for Duke was its excellent ground attack. The Blue Devils entered with the No. 10 rushing offense in the ACC, averaging 111 yards per outing. On this night they gobbled up 234. Grade: A.
UNC defense: The Heels missed a ton of tackles, but were also out of position a lot and appeared to play in stretches without the kind of intensity required to beat a quality team, and Duke is a quality team. The Heels allowed Duke an average of 4.4 yards on its 53 rushing attempts and registered just one sack. Duke also punted just twice. Grade: F.
Duke defense: Carolina was just 4-of-15 on third downs and was held to just three field goals over the first three quarters. Even one of UNC’s scores came on somewhat of a fluke, so overall Duke’s defense did a fine job. It was certainly enough to win. Grade: B+.
UNC intangibles: First-year UNC coach Larry Fedora may have learned a lesson about rivalries in BCS conferences: You simply can’t look at them as just the next game on the schedule. They need to mean something, like it clearly did to Duke. UNC didn’t match Duke’s intensity nor did it appear as focused or prepared. That said, the Tar Heels nearly overcame all of that. Grade: C-.
Duke intangibles: Excellent job by the Duke staff and the senior leaders for getting the team past last week’s collapse at Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils were ready to play, came out firing at the line of scrimmage and really never let up. How they responded to UNC taking the lead was quite impressive. This program has grown up so much. Grade: A.