DURHAM, N.C. - Duke snapped out of its skid at just the right time and now is bowl eligible as it looks to build late-season momentum Saturday at home against North Carolina. The Blue Devils won at Miami last week for the first time since 1976, posting a 20-12 victory in which they rallied from a five-point halftime deficit in a driving rainstorm and were sparked by a tenacious defense that allowed its second-lowest point total of the season.
TV: 12:20 p.m. ET, ACC Network, Raycom Sports. LINE: Duke -10
“We stuck together like glue,” Duke linebacker Ben Humphreys told reporters after recording six tackles and recovering two fumbles in the victory. “Adversity struck. We got down, but we battled back.” It’s an uphill battle right now for the Tar Heels, who have lost five in a row and allowed more than 30 points in four of the defeats - including last week’s 38-28 setback against Georgia Tech. North Carolina rallied from 18 points down in the third quarter to tie the game but could not overcome three interceptions by quarterback Nathan Elliott. “It’s a challenge when you don’t have success,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora told reporters afterward. “But I don’t worry about the guys in that room getting back up off the mat.”
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (1-7, 1-5 ACC)
Elliott was pulled in the second quarter in favor of freshman Jace Ruder, who led two scoring drives, completed 4-of-5 passes for 80 yards and gained 21 on the ground before leaving with an injury. Cole Holcomb recorded a career-high 22 tackles for the Tar Heels and forced three fumbles, earning ACC Linebacker of the Week honors. Defensive end Malik Carney scored North Carolina’s first defensive touchdown of the season on a fumble recovery.
ABOUT DUKE (6-3, 2-3)
Running back Deon Jackson has registered 523 all-purpose yards over the last two weeks – 275 rushing, 98 yards and 150 on kickoff returns. The Blue Devils also got an outstanding performance from linebacker Joe Giles-Harris, who blocked a field goal and recorded 12 tackles. Giles-Harris is the fifth player in school history with 300-plus tackles and 30-plus tackles for loss for Duke, which is trying to win at least seven of its first 10 games for the third time in six years.
1. Elliott attempted 219 passes without an interception before being picked off late in the first quarter last week.
2. Duke WR T.J. Rahming has made three or more catches in 16 consecutive games, dating back to last season.
3. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 60-40-4, but the teams have split the last four meetings.
PREDICTION: Duke 31, North Carolina 20
More college football scores
Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.