Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Duke Seeking Rebound in Coastal Division Rivalry Clash

Duke (6-2, 3-1 ACC) kicks off the final month of the regular season by travelling to face rival No. 21 North Carolina (7-1, 4-0 ACC) on Saturday, November 7. Kickoff at Kenan Memorial Stadium is set for 12 noon. ESPN2 will broadcast the game with Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Brock Huard (analyst) & Shannon Spake (sideline).

The battle for the Victory Bell began in 1948 with North Carolina earning possession with a 20-0 win. Head cheerleaders from Duke (Loring Jones) and North Carolina (Norman Spear) decided on the idea, with Jones designing the model and Spear obtaining a bell from an old railroad train. Red Lewis, Duke’s business manager, agreed to find money in the budget to pay for the bell.

Saturday’s game will mark the 102nd on the gridiron between the two schools, with North Carolina holding a 59-38-4 series advantage. The series began in 1888 with a 16-0 Duke win. The Tar Heels won last year’s contest, 45-20, in Durham. Duke’s last win in Chapel Hill came in the form of a 27-25 decision in 2013.

The Blue Devils have won six straight and 12 of their last 13 road games dating back to the start of the 2013 season. Among ACC teams, Duke has the top ledger in that time span followed by Florida State (10-1), Clemson (9-4), Virginia Tech (9-5), Pittsburgh (8- 6), Georgia Tech (7-7), Boston College (6-6), North Carolina (6-7), N.C. State (6-7), Miami (6-8), Syracuse (4-9), Wake Forest (3-13) & Virginia (0-12).

Over their last 18 ACC regular season games, the Blue Devils are 14-4. Only Florida State (17-1) and Clemson (15-3) have better ledgers.

Dating back to the 2013 season, the Blue Devils are 23-5 in their last 28 regular season games. The only schools with equal or more wins during that stretch are Florida State (27), Ohio State (27), Baylor (26), Michigan State (26), Alabama (25), Clemson (23) and Wisconsin (23).

Duke has won two straight road games as an unranked team against a ranked opponent with wins over No. 16 Virginia Tech (2013) and No. 22 Georgia Tech (2014).

Duke is 27-135-6 all-time against nationally-ranked foes (AP poll). The Blue Devils’ last win against a ranked opponent came on September 26, 2015, with a 34-20 win at home over No. 20 Georgia Tech.

Duke’s Thomas Sirk is one of five QBs among the Power 5 schools to lead his team in both rushing and passing yardage this season, joining Lamar Jackson of Louisville, Dak Prescott of Mississippi State, Seth Collins of Oregon State and Jerrod Heard of Texas. The last Duke player to lead the Blue Devils in both rushing and passing yards was QB Mike Dunn in 1976.

Duke S Jeremy Cash reached the 300-tackle plateau for his career last week against Miami. In 35 career games with the Blue Devils, Cash has registered 302 stops, becoming the 16th player in school history to achieve the standard.