Duke holds off rival UNC 42-35 to keep Victory Bell
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Daniel Jones accounted for 547 total yards and four touchdowns to help Duke beat rival North Carolina 42-35 on Saturday.
Jones threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns for the Blue Devils (7-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). He also ran for a 61-yard touchdown and had a 68-yard keeper in a 186-yard rushing day, helping Duke finish with a season-high 629 yards.
Duke claimed a third straight victory in the series, allowing the Blue Devils to keep the Victory Bell — and in their preferred darker shade of blue paint — for another year.
“There’s just so much emotion in that rivalry, and especially toward the end it got a little closer than you’d like,” left guard Zach Harmon said. “So it’s just a huge payoff of relief at the end, it couldn’t feel better.”
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The Tar Heels (1-8, 1-6) trailed by 14 throughout the fourth quarter until a late TD throw from Nathan Elliott to Thomas Jackson with 75 seconds left. Then, after a late stop, UNC had a final drive for the tie and pushed to the Duke 39.
But the Blue Devils knocked down the end-zone pass from Cade Fortin — brought in for the final heave — to end it.
“We’re throwing a jump ball to tie the game up,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “They’re a good football team. Our guys continue to fight. There’s no question about that, who they are and what they’re made up of. I’m proud of them for that fact.”
UNC: The Tar Heels had another uneven performance, the kind of fix-one-thing-and-something-else-breaks issues that have followed them most of the season. Michael Carter and the ground game couldn’t be stopped in a 28-point first half while the defense struggled, only to reverse roles with the defense coming up with a blocked field goal and two takeaways after halftime as the offense went into a 28-minute slumber. UNC fought to the final play, but still ended with a 20th loss in 25 games.
Duke: Jones had quite a day in a display of his offensive potential. Jones broke a single-game record for total offense set by Anthony Dilweg (476 yards) in 1988 against Wake Forest. Jones also had the biggest rushing day by a Duke quarterback in any game, breaking a record set in 1976. And that all propelled the Blue Devils past the 600-yard mark for the third time this season.
UNC: The Tar Heels step out of league play to host Western Carolina next Saturday.
Duke: The Blue Devils draw the toughest of cross-divisional matchups, traveling to No. 2 Clemson next Saturday.
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