Duke vs North Carolina - Thoughts, Score Prediction and Game Notes
Duke Football got the win on a field goal as the time ran out last Thursday night to beat Wake Forest (24-21) and now are bowl eligible.
Duke now heads 8 miles down Tobacco Road to take on rival UNC for the Victory Bell. Duke has dealt with injuries to key players and has even won games with 3 different starting quarterbacks this season. In a season that has been a roller coaster of ups and downs (the downs being the injuries) this Duke football team and coaching staff keep fighting.
As of this writing, FanDuel has the line in favor of UNC at - 14.5 points with an Over/Under of 50.5 points. With that said, I think Duke comes into Chapel Hill ready for a battle and covers the line of 14.5 points against them to make it a closer game, yet comes up short as UNC gets the win.
My Score prediction.
Please believe, I hope I am wrong with this prediction. Go Duke and GTHC!
Keep reading below for Game Notes from Duke Sports Information
HOW TO FOLLOW Duke (6-3, 3-2 ACC) at  North Carolina (7-2, 3-2 ACC) Saturday, November 11, 2023 • 8 PM Chapel Hill, N.C. • Kenan Stadium (50,500) TELEVISION • ACCN RADIO • Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD GAME NOTES • Duke Notes • North Carolina Notes LIVE STATS • GoHeels.com TWITTER • @DukeFOOTBALL
GAME NOTES Of the 21 teams nationally with three losses on the year, Duke joins Southern California and LSU as the only schools with all three losses coming against Top-25 opponents. The Blue Devils are the only ACC school averaging 25.0 points per game (25.67 ppg, 8th) and allowing 15.0 points or less per outing (15.67 ppg, 1st). Redshirt sophomore linebacker Tre Freeman leads the team and ranks sixth in the ACC with 71 tackles on the year. The Durham, N.C., native is averaging 7.89 tackles per game and led the Blue Devils in tackles in four contests against No. 9 Clemson, No. 11 Notre Dame, NC State and Wake Forest. Over his last five outings, Freeman has compiled 50 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one interception, one caused fumble and three quarterback pressures. Senior defensive end Ryan Smith earned ACC Player of the Week honors following Duke's 24-21 victory over Wake Forest. Smith garnered Defensive Lineman of the Week honors after registering two tackles and collecting his first career interception to set up the Blue Devils' game-winning 26-yard field goal as time expired. LONG AND SHORT DRIVES Duke has put together 16 scoring drives of eight-plus plays, including seven of 10-plus plays. Additionally, Duke has needed just three or less plays eight times to find the end zone, including twice during its last outing against Wake Forest. FOURTH-QUARTER WINS Duke's win over Wake Forest during its last outing marked the first game in program history where the Blue Devils won without playing a snap with the lead. Duke's game-winning kick by Todd Pelino as time expired marked the third Blue Devil win in program history occurring on the final snap of regulation and the first since Matt Brooks drilled a 53-yard field goal as time expired against Clemson on Nov. 13, 2004. The other occurrence was on Oct. 5, 1968, when David Pugh converted on a 27-yard field goal against Maryland. In addition, the victory marked just the second win under head coach Mike Elko after trailing heading into the fourth quarter. Ironically, Duke's other fourth-quarter win under Elko came against the Demon Deacons in 2022, where it registered a 34-31 win following a Sahmir Hagans touchdown reception from Riley Leonard. BOWL ELIGIBLE & FOUR CONSECUTIVE BOWL WINS The Blue Devils earned their sixth win of the season against Wake Forest and now sit at 6-3 overall and 3-2 in ACC play, making them bowl eligible for the second-consecutive year. Mike Elko became the first Duke head coach to lead the Blue Devils to bowl eligibility in back-to-back seasons to start a career. Elko joins former Duke head coach David Cutcliffe as the only two coaches in program history to lead the Blue Devils to bowl eligibility in back-to-back seasons. By capturing the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 2017 Quick Lane Bowl, 2018 Walk-On's Independence Bowl and 2022 Military Bowl, Duke holds the longest active bowl streak in the ACC at four wins. Duke has been victorious in its last four bowl appearances after having won three bowl games in its history entering the 2015 season. POINTS OFF TURNOVERS The Blue Devils rank first in the ACC in points scored off turnovers this season with 60. The next closest is Louisville and Georgia Tech with 57 and 50 points, respectively. Additionally, Duke trails North Carolina (6 points) and Florida State (13 points) in fewest points allowed off turnovers this year with 19 points given up. Under head coach Mike Elko, Duke has scored 132 points off turnovers (17 touchdowns, four field goals and one two-point conversion). THREE DIFFERENT QBS Duke is one of just three Power 5 programs to have started three different quarterbacks this season, joining Arizona State and Texas Tech. The Blue Devils are the only program to have all three earn a win. Additionally, Duke's win over Wake Forest during its last outing marked the first time it had three different starting quarterbacks register a win in a season in modern history. LOFTIS AGAINST THE DEMON DEACONS Rookie quarterback Grayson Loftis earned his first career start against Wake Forest and finished the night 7-of-19 passing for 86 yards with one touchdown and eight rushes for 17 yards. He became the first true freshman quarterback in Duke history to win his starting debut since Mike Dunn led the Blue Devils to a 21-10 win over Army West Point on October 11, 1975. Loftis is the first Duke true freshman to win a starting debut against a conference opponent since Jerry Barger won his first start over South Carolina on September 22, 1951. PASSES HAD INTERCEPTED Duke joins Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina as the only four schools in the ACC to have thrown five-or-less interceptions on the year. That mark ranks the Blue Devils tied for 20th nationally with 17 other schools. FOURTH DOWN DEFENSE The Blue Devils have held their nine opponents to just 7-of-20 (.350) on fourth down conversions, a mark that ranks third in the ACC and tied for 16th nationally. LIMITING LONG PLAYS The longest pass play Duke has allowed this year is 61 yards, occurring in the Blue Devils' outing against Wake Forest. Additionally, Duke has only allowed eight plays of 30-plus yards in nine games. Plays of 30+ Yards Allowed This Season Rushes Passing KOR 49 vs. Clemson 36 vs. Notre Dame 99 at FSU 39 at Connecticut 30 at FSU 34 vs. Notre Dame 61 vs. Wake Forest 30 vs. Notre Dame FREEMAN FINDING RHYTHM After Duke's game against NC State, LB Tre Freeman was tabbed the ACC Co-Linebacker of the Week after recording a career-high 15 tackles, to become the first Duke player to register 15-plus tackles in a game since Shaka Heyward (16) against North Carolina A&T on September 10, 2021. Over the last five games, Freeman has compiled 50 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one interception, one caused fumble and three quarterback pressures. DEFENSIVE YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED The Blue Devils rank third in the ACC and tied for 20th nationally, allowing just 4.93 yards per play. Duke trails Clemson (4.43) and Louisville (4.77) in the league. PUNTING EXPERIENCE Redshirt junior Porter Wilson has been Duke's starting punter for the last four seasons. He has punted 198 times for 8,800 yards (44.44) with 75 boots downed inside the opponent 20-yard line against 11 touchbacks in 45 career games. He has 57 punts of 50-plus yards and registered a career-long 70-yard punt on two occasions against Georgia Tech in 2020 and Clemson in 2023. He currently ranks first on Duke's all-time career chart for punting average, seventh in punting yards, and 10th in punts. Against No. 4 Florida State he became the eighth player in program history to reach 8,000-plus career punting yards after compiling 172 yards on three boots. Additionally, Wilson ranks first in the ACC and tied for seventh nationally in punting (47.58) this season. NET PUNTING Duke ranks second nationally with a 44.67 net punting average per game, trailing Vanderbilt (45.05). PELINO ON PLACEMENT KICKS After starting the final six games of 2022, sophomore Todd Pelino took over kicking duties for field goals and extra points in 2023. This season, Pelino has gone 9-of-13 on FGs (.692) and has converted all 28 of his PAT attempts. The Cornelius, N.C., native is now a perfect 51-of-51 on PATs during his Blue Devil tenure and moves to seventh all-time on Duke's consecutive PATs made chart. Additionally Pelino sixth in the ACC this season in PATs made, seventh in scoring (55) and 10th in FGs made. Against NC State, Pelino connected on a career-long 52-yard field goal, tying him for the 11th-longest field goal in program lore. It also was Duke's longest field goal made since Ross Martin recorded a 52-yard boot against Indiana in the 2015 Pinstripe Bowl. In Duke's last outing, Pelino converted on the Blue Devils' game-winning 26-yard field goal against Wake Forest to make them bowl eligible. LIMITING PUNT RETURNS The Blue Devils held opponents to just 74 punt return yards last season. An average of just 5.69 yards per return. The longest return Duke allowed was a 16-yarder against Kansas. Duke's opponent yards per return ranked 37th nationally, and ranked fifth in the ACC behind Virginia Tech (2.91), Miami (3.80), Pittsburgh (4.83) and Louisville (5.52). In Duke's nine games of 2023, the Blue Devils have only relinquished 34 yards on 14 returns (2.43). That mark ranks them 12th nationally and first in the ACC.