Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Duke steals Triangle spotlight

Posted October 26, 2013
Updated October 27, 2013

1. Duke quarterback Anthony Boone completed only seven of his 25 pass attempts and threw four interceptions. The Hokies possessed the football nearly 20 minutes more than Duke and out-gained the Blue Devils by 189 yards. Duke didn't convert a third-down all afternoon. 

Duke walked out of Blacksburg with a 13-10 victory.

Wait, how did that happen? It helps when Virginia Tech missed two field goals and quarterback Logan Thomas negated Boone's interceptions with four of his own, including comeback killing pick by Kelby Brown with under 4:22 left in the game. Duke converted a fourth-down on the following drive and Boone picked up another first-down on the subsequent play to put the game away. 

That Duke is bowl eligible for consecutive seasons isn't the stunner. It's that the Blue Devils became bowl eligible at the expense of a ranked Virginia Tech squad on their home field. It was Duke's first victory over a ranked team since 1994 and first on the road since 1971.

Duke will come out of the bye-week with games against NC State, North Carolina and Wake Forest remaining. It's entirely possible head coach David Cutliffe will be the one saying "our state" when it's all said and done. 

2. It wasn't flawless, but North Carolina had a cathartic beat'em down of Boston College. The Tar Heels needed that one. Not just to get back in the win column, but for a much needed confidence boost for the stretch run of the season. 

Going into the game, the Eagles posed problem on the ground with ACC leading rusher Andre Williams. He still got his on North Carolina's defense, finishing the afternoon with 172 yards on 26 carries and a 56-yard touchdown. Where the Tar Heels had success was in shutting down quarterback Chase Rettig, who was 10-of-20 for 57 yards. The Eagles only converted 5-of-16 on third-down. 

Head coach Larry Fedora tweaked the quarterback rotation, allowing Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams to breathe in their respective drives. Renner had an accurate afternoon and threw a couple touchdowns. Williams made a handful of dynamic throws and connected for a touchdown of his own.

Williams made the biggest difference with his legs, but once again highlighted the overall weakness of North Carolina's running game after leading all rushers with 55-yards on 7 carries. Roman Morris, A.J. Blue, Khris Francis and T.J. Logan combined for 70-yards. Even tight end Eric Ebron lined up as a running back twice for 7-yards. 

Now the Tar Heels enter what would be considered the easier part of the schedule and a bowl game can still be salvaged from the rough start. Given their proclivity for offensive inconsistency and defensive breakdowns, none of the games will be considered gimmes. 

3. NC State's official Twitter account inadvertently set the tone for their visit to Florida State when they likened their uniform combination to a collective group of science fiction characters who were clowned by glorified teddy bears called Ewoks. 

"Yub-nub," Wolfpack.

There isn't much to discuss from NC State's point of view and the game was essentially over midway through the first quarter. The Seminoles put up Tecmo Bowl numbers and quarterback Jameis Winston did whatever he wanted.

On the bright side, the Wolfpack eventually outscored Florida State 17-14 in the other three quarters and covered the Las Vegas spread. Otherwise, just burn the game film and move on to the next one. This contest had more to do with the Seminoles looking like the program that dominated the ACC throughout the 1990s.

Florida State crystalized the sentiment with a fake punt up 35-0 on the Wolfpack. No doubt Bobby Bowden smiled and said "dadgum." 

4. NC State hosts North Carolina next Saturday. With a combined record of 5-9, the Wolfpack and Tar Heels won't pique the interest of college football fans outside the Triangle. However, the week leading up to the game certainly provides all the necessary ingredients for an entertaining rivalry. Fans will talk their smack, a player or coach will provide some level of bulletin board material and the actual game has drama from time to time.

For the 2013 edition, Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron contributed to the fun.

"It’s not a hostile environment. It’s just another game. Ain’t nobody worried about NC State. Ain’t nobody care about NC State. We’re gonna prepare for them just like everybody else do. We’re gonna take it to them. It’s a rivalry game.”

Ebron wasn't finished, taking to Twitter after his press availability following the win over Boston College.

Game on.


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  • StunGunn Oct 27, 2013

    While all three Triangle teams could create buzz with their respective games yesterday, I have to agree that Duke did steal the spotlight. That was a huge win for Duke's program. Number never lie, but Duke won the number that matters most: the scoreboard.

    Carolina's win was huge. They pulled themselves together after that heartbreaking loss to Miami and played well on both sides of the ball. Gotta give credit to Fedora and the players.

    The State/UNC game is still a big deal to fans, even if the win doesn't earn a bowl bid for either team, and no one outside the Triangle gives a flip. I hope Ebron isn't writing checks his team can't cash. Yeah - the trash talk should be good this week, even though neither team has much room to dump on the other.

  • sawdust65 Oct 27, 2013

    "The State/UNC game is still a big deal to fans, even if the win doesn't earn a bowl bid for either team, and no one outside the Triangle gives a flip. I hope Ebron isn't writing checks his team can't cash. Yeah - the trash talk should be good this week, even though neither team has much room to dump on the other."

    Spot on. I personally think that both programs may be headed in the right direction in the long run, and maybe this will become a relevant rivalry soon.

  • DEVILS1 Oct 27, 2013

    DUKE kept VT between the 20's, that's where VT gained their yards and draining the clock with Thomas getting 4th 1's extending drives. DUKE's defense (pass coverage especially)and special teams played great, pinning VT deep on punts and hitting from 51 and 53 yards.


    UNC fans posting like crazy about State/FSU- better keeping an eye on Duke. Duke has quietly built an impressive resume this season- if it comes down going to a bowl on that last game for UNC I wouldn't count on it.
    UNC says the victory bell belongs at UNC but after this year it may have a new home for a while. CONGRATS TO DUKE!!

  • DEVILS1 Oct 27, 2013

    Victory Bell is already in Durham...VERY GOOD possibility it'll be there for another season, I sure hope so. All attention in on NC Sate now.


  • iron fist Oct 27, 2013

    Not a Duke fan but I think the headline is wrong they didn't steal the spotlight they have worked hard to get there and deserve the spotlight. Congrats Duke. GO Heels!!!!!

  • MoDukev3 Oct 27, 2013

    It's nice to see the "good guy image" in the headlines instead of more sports gossip and negativity.

    Go Duke!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hammerhead Oct 27, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I agree, the NandO gave UNC's victory yesterday top billing. Duke's win is a far bigger story.

  • StunGunn Oct 27, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Gotta admit the pic of Coach Cut on the front page of the N&O sports section IS worth a thousand words. I can't help but be happy for a good coach and an even better man.

  • StunGunn Oct 27, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Very true, MO. Sometimes, nice guys do finish first, and Duke is in first place in the Triangle, as well as the state of North Carolina.




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