North Carolina vs. Virginia

North Carolina vs. Virginia

North Carolina vs. Virginia

UNC improved to 4-4 on the season, while Duke fell to 4-4. Here are some quick observations and stats from the first half of Duke's matchup with the Tar Heels.

The win nearly didn't happen, though. But they fumbled and Duke recovered.

Sam Howell is completing 61.1% of his passes with 20 touchdowns and three interceptions on the season.

Cunningham and North Carolina coach Mack Brown both said they didn't know enough to comment about the incident with Tucker, although at least two other UNC officials either saw it happen or saw the video clip.

The Tar Heels (3-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) have split those six games, the outlier being a 38-22 win at Georgia Tech on October 5. The Blue Devils turned the ball over five times to lose their second in three games last Saturday and hopes to find the form that helped them rout Virginia Tech 45-10 on the road in their ACC opener last month. UNC (4-4, 3-2 ACC) will face Virginia (5-3, 3-2 ACC) next week, and victor will grab sole-possession of first place in the division.

The Blue Devils were just two yards shy of the endzone with 18 seconds left in the game, and a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown. Containing him will be job No. 1 for the Tar Heels today.

Surratt said the Tar Heels (4-4, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had discussed that the play could be coming during a timeout only moments before.

However, the loss to Clemson was by one point and North Carolina may have completed the upset if the team was able to convert a two-point conversion with under a minute to go.

With the win, Brown became the winningest coach in UNC football history with 73 wins, passing Dick Crum who has 72. After a 27-yard completion to Scott Bracey on the first play from scrimmage was overturned, the Blue Devils could only generate nine yards of offense over its next two drives.

Duke has won the past three meetings, allowing the Blue Devils to keep the "Victory Bell" presented to the victor.

If you combined UNC's wins in 2017 and 2018, the Tar Heels still would not have been eligible for a bowl game.

Javonte Williams ran for 111 yards for UNC.

The Pirates have made incremental progress this season under new coach Mike Houston, from learning to beat teams they're supposed to beat to playing on even terms in the second half - though in a losing effort - with two-time defending American Athletic Conference champion Central Florida last week in Orlando.

UNC: While Duke did get pressure on Howell, he was off most of Saturday's game. The Duke pass rush flushed Sam Howell out of the pocket, the true freshman threw the ball downfield into tight coverage and was picked off by Marquise Waters, who returned the ball to the Duke 31. He was also off on a few throws, which resulted in his two interceptions.

Duke: After turning it over five times against Virginia, the Blue Devils turned it over three timesagainst the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils were fortunate to force two turnovers of their own.

The Jonathan Kim era did not last long.

Ruggles made a 34-yard field goal in the third quarter, which tied the game at 17 with about four minutes remaining.

Duke has 16 turnovers on the season with 14 coming in its three losses, including six in a loss to Pittsburgh and five last week at Virginia.

The Tar Heels are a 3.5-point favorite against the Hokies. He punted it eight times and consistently flipped field position. He finished with four 50+ yard punts, and pinned four inside UNC's 20-yard line.

North Carolina will take on Virginia Tech at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field after a week off. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.

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