"When Duke and Carolina meet on the football field you can throw away the records." Woody Durham must have said that four or five times before the game today. What went unsaid was the fact that both teams usually wanted to throw the records away - it had been ten seasons since either team had a winning record coming into the game, and only once in the last twenty-five had both teams gone into the matchup above 0.500. The fact that the last couple of games have been nailbiters speaks more to the futility on both sides of the ball than any heat in the rivalry.
The entire game can be neatly summed up by the first play from the line of scrimmage - a poorly timed man in motion caused Yates to bobble the snap, and when he regained control he was immediately greated by three rushing Blue Devils, who promptly committed a face mask penalty, giving UNC 15 yards. The teams were going ut of their way to lose this game. No one could tackle. Yates threw two interceptions - which Duke could not capitalize on - and at least three more passes off the hands of defensive backs. At one point in the fourth quarter, all of UNC's penalties had been personal fouls after the play had been whistled dead. Brandan Tate was showing incredibly poor judgement in the punts he decided to field, on one occasion fumbling after being hit, only to recover and gain fifteen yards.
All of this, of course, was negated by the three fied goals missed by Duke, including a game winner to end regulation, and one in overtime that took what little wind the Blue Devils had remaining out of their sails. The game was less won and more conceded out of despair.
It is better than a loss of course, which would have completely erased the goodwill Davis has built up this season. (As it was, the raise drew quite a few comments from fans at the game. An extra 200K shoud at least get the fans a haftime lead over 1-10 schools from Durham.) It's almost ironic to end a season of close losses the Heels weren't expected to compete in with a close win they should have dominated, but at this point I think everyone's ready to put the entire sport aside and focus on basketball. I know I am.
Oh, and the women's soccer team lost as well. Happily, it will be after midnight on the East Coast by the time the basketball game in Las Vegas ends, so maybe they won't be dragged down by this horrible day.