With Vic­tory Bell at stake, Duke and UNC pre­pare for Satur­day clash

The Herald Sun - - Front Page - BY JONAS POPE IV jpope@her­ald­sun.com

Duke head coach David Cut­cliffe promises he wasn’t just spit­ting out cliches when dis­cussing the Blue Devils’ next op­po­nent, ri­val North Carolina.

On pa­per, the Tar Heels (1-7, 1- 4 ACC) are strug­gling, hav­ing not won a game since Sept. 22. But lis­ten to Cut­cliffe talk about Satur­day’s matchup and he says it’s not fair to judge the Tar Heels by their one-win record.

“If you were watch­ing tape and you didn’t know a record,” Cut­cliffe said, “you wouldn’t be­lieve the record as it is. This isn’t coach talk, that’s the re­al­ity of what I see on the tape, a good North Carolina foot­ball team.”

Duke (6-3, 2-3) be­came bowl el­i­gi­ble on Nov. 3 with a 20-12 win at Mi­ami, but its next task is to not over­look the Tar Heels.

The Blue Devils started the sea­son 4- 0 but strug­gled in the month of Oc­to­ber, go­ing 1-2. Cut­cliffe told his se­niors that this is their last Novem­ber, and they need to play well in their last stretch of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

That starts by play­ing for the Vic­tory Bell, which has rested in the Duke locker room for the last two sea­sons. Blue Devils se­nior Jonathan Lloyd said some­body gave the bell a ran­dom ring on Tues­day, and the sound echoed through­out the locker room. That sound is some­thing he wants to hear for his last few weeks as a Blue Devil. . Duke first has to carry over what it did in the Mi­ami win to its game against UNC.

“We’ve been able to ex­e­cute our game plan,

re­ally,” Lloyd said. “Against Mi­ami we made plays when we needed and I feel like we have a good game plan this week­end. Hope­fully we will be able to throw the ball a lit­tle bit more and be able to ex­e­cute with­out the el­e­ments. Of­fen­sively, we’ve been on track and hope­fully we will be able to keep that up this week.”

Quar­ter­back Daniel Jones was lim­ited to a sea­son-low 130 pass­ing yards in the pour­ing rain at Mi­ami. Jones, a 6-5, 220-pound red­shirt ju­nior from Char­lotte, has had suc­cess in Duke’s past two games against the Tar Heels. Last sea­son in Chapel Hill he threw for 202 yards and one touch­down. Two years ago in Durham he torched UNC for 240 yards in the air and an­other 94 on the ground. Like Cut­cliffe, how­ever, Jones knows it’s im­por­tant not to get too caught up on the record of their op­po­nents.

“We could fall vic­tim to that, but I don’t think we will,” Jones said. “When you look on film I think you see a re­ally good foot­ball team. We are cer­tainly aware of how tal­ented they are.”

Jones said the UNC/ Duke ri­valry is one of the big­gest in col­lege sports, and he was around it a lot grow­ing up. Lloyd said there are mem­bers of his fam­ily who still root for the Tar Heels. The schools be­ing only about 9 miles apart means UNC and Duke play­ers see each other around, but they are typ­i­cally friendly with each other.

This week, how­ever, Lloyd said he might give a cold shoul­der to any play­ers he sees out and about wear­ing that other shade of blue.

On the field, the Blue Devils will be play­ing a team that’s lost its past four games by a to­tal of 26 points. Each of those four games were close in the fourth quar­ter. So had things gone a lit­tle dif­fer­ently, UNC could have a much dif­fer­ent record. Cut­cliffe knew what type of Tar Heel team he’s fac­ing Satur­day, even be­fore look­ing at film.

“This is a well, well coached foot­ball team that’s had some mis­for­tune,” Cut­cliffe said. “We’re go­ing to have to play ex­tremely well to play with this team. We can’t avoid to be up and down.”

Cut­cliffe, a quar­ter­backs coach, said the Tar Heels have threats at run­ning back and re­ceiver, and even though UNC’s quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion has been un­sta­ble, he knows the North Carolina of­fense can be a chal­lenge to stop.

“It’s a bal­anced of­fense,” Cut­cliffe said. “They can run it, they can throw it, they are great with dif­fer­ent for­ma­tions, shifts, mo­tions, so you’re on your toss the en­tire time.”

News & Ob­server file photo

UNC's Cole Hol­comb, left, and Jeremiah Clarke (49) tackle Duke's Daniel Jones dur­ing the Blue Devils’ 27-17 vic­tory last sea­son. The ri­vals square off again on Satur­day.

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