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.

24 Comments

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  • DEVILS1 Oct 28, 2:15 p.m.

    Folks, there were a lot of those Duke teams from the 30's, 40's, 50's, and early 60's that would... View More

    You are exactly right!

  • heelsforever Oct 28, 2:08 p.m.

    Folks, there were a lot of those Duke teams from the 30's, 40's, 50's, and early 60's that would have surely gone to multiple bowls in a row if there had been the obscene number of bowl games that we have today. Look it up; there were a lot of top 20 finishes for them back in those days.

  • dave437 Oct 28, 11:02 a.m.

    ah, the annual UNC-NC State pillow fight. how cute.

  • innocent bystander 3 Oct 28, 10:14 a.m.

    Good job, Duke! Keep this up--especially a win over Miami--and you'll finish the season as a top 25 team.

  • lec02572 Oct 28, 10:01 a.m.

    Well there is only one team in the triangle that is bowl eligible and its not UNC or NCSU. Congratulations to Coach Cut and Duke. They have worked hard for what they have achieved. Its not always how you win its just that you win.

  • cruedaddy Oct 28, 9:24 a.m.

    Military Bowl: Duke vs. East Carolina.

  • abcershateme Oct 28, 8:24 a.m.

    i haven't seen so many feel good stories since the fat kid scored a td.

  • DEVILS1 Oct 27, 10:02 p.m.

    DUKE had four INT's in this game as well and Crowder had gotten behind the VT defense twice in the first half and was overthrown, he would have been off to the races. DUKE was in field goal range again at the end, but Cutcliffe and Roper decided to line up in victory formation. DUKE's defense showed up as well as VT's did in my opinion, Helton and Brown combined for 33 tackles between the two of them, Edwards had 12 alone. Boone looked as if he settled in and made some key plays and seeing Martin hit from 51 and 53 was awesome. DUKE had four freshman playing in the secondary, nice talent back there. What a win by DUKE!

    GO DEVILS

  • Tar Heels Blue Oct 27, 9:08 p.m.

    Congratulations to Duke. Is their victory really unexpected? Va Tech has struggled through several games including ECU and UNC. Duke played a good game and Va Tech had flaws in theirs, but the bottom line is that Duke won...that's all that matters. Duke has by far the best record of the Triangle teams which bespeaks of excellent coaching and team work. This weekend State stepped into a buzz saw by the likes of FSU who clobbered Clemson. UNC finally played an almost complete game and beat a struggling Boston College team that had the reputation of a good running game. There are still around 5 games left in the season and State needs 3 more wins while Carolina needs four. Should Duke falter from this point forward, they will not be remembered for beating Va Tech but for the record they have for the remainder of the season. Again, good game Duke and congratulations. Go Heels!

  • mac240 Oct 27, 7:54 p.m.

    Duke all the way!

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  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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