Duke beat the Tar Heels 27 to 25 Saturday afternoon in an absolute heartbreaker for UNC fans. Duke took the lead on a late field goal and held the Heels off on the final drive to ensure that the victory bell stays in Durham for one more year. UNC now sits at 6-6 on the year and awaits to hear the news of where they will play their final game of the season.
Both teams traded blows in the first and second quarters of the game, with Duke taking a 17-15 lead into halftime. Highlights included a 99 yard kick return TD by DeVon Edwards of Duke and two Marquise Williams touchdown runs.
In the second half, the contest only got closer between the two rivals as each team traded blows. Jamison Crowder caught his second TD pass of the day to put Duke up 24-15 with 12:08 left in the third quarter. Then Quinshad Davis caught a 23 yard strike to put UNC down only two points. Finally, in the fourth, each team traded field goals. Ross Martin’s 27 yard attempt was good and put the Dukies up 27-25. UNC’s final attempt to come back and score was cut short by a Marquise Williams interception and the game was over.
UNC finished with 448 yards of total offense to Duke’s 461. Duke was much better on third downs however, finishing 8-15 while UNC converted only 2 out of 12 attempts. UNC nearly had two 100 yard rushers in Marquise Williams (104 yards) and TJ Logan (92 yards,) and Eric Ebron paced all receivers with 121 yards in another strong performance from the senior.
The theme of this season for UNC has to be disappointment, as the Tar Heels missed many opportunities throughout the season to win football games. The penalties in the Georgia Tech game, the lack of effort in the ECU game, the poor game management in Miami game and the mistakes in the Duke game all came back to bite Carolina in different ways. Hopefully UNC can rebound and finish with a winning record in a bowl game. But for now, this loss stings the hearts of Carolina fans all across the state.