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Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: Duke

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This is a prime example of why games are played on the field and not on the stat sheet.

UNC dominated Duke in nearly every statistic - total offense, turnovers, first downs, time of possession - and yet had to sweat out a final possession by the Blue Devils to secure its 20th win in the last 21 tries in this series.

For the most part, UNC's effort was sloppy but was good enough to beat a Duke team that would finish 3-9. Carolina was plagued by penalties and the kind of mental miscues that have followed them most of the season. Still Carolina eked out a win and a third-straight winning season.

Thus follows this week's GBU report:


T.J. Yates: The senior ended his regular-season with a flourish, an efficient 28-35 effort for 264 yards and a touchdown. Duke essentially took away his deep looks and he wasn't able to connect on the few looks he did get, but he did pass for over 3,000 yards this season and over 9,000 in his career.

Anthony Elzy: The story of UNC's running backs is very impressive, considering the season Johnny White had in place of Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn, and then what Elzy has done in relief of the injured White. Elzy had a career-high 116 yards on the ground and caught another four balls for 21 yards.

Dwight Jones: Yates was finally able to hook up with his top receiver, to the tune of 11 catches for 121 yards.

Casey Barth: Though he missed a 41-yard field goal, a shout-out goes to Barth as he set a school record for most consecutive extra points made.

Third downs and turnovers: Two of the key stats between UNC's wins and losses this season, Carolina converted 11 of 17 third downs and had two takeaways while not turning the ball over themselves.


Kick coverage: This continues to be UNC's worst area of special teams. Carolina gave up 13 yards on one punt return, which is crucial when C.J. Feagles is only averaging about 38 yards per punt; the Heels also gave up 36 yards on a kick return. I guess this is an improvement given that a punt return for a touchdown turned last week's game.

ESPNU: OK, I get that ESPNU is the Worldwide Leader's C-team at best, but the incorrect graphics, listing Bruce Carter as an impact player when he wasn't even playing, and the general Pam Ward/Danny Kannell experience made me glad I watched most of the game on my DVR.


Penalties: UNC was flagged 10 times for 74 yards, but that was not a real measure of the damage done because a number of those penalties were inside the 20-yard line and were half-the-distance types. For some reason, UNC-Duke games are hardly crisp, efficient affairs but the lack of focus and discipline, especially from experienced players, is troubling.

Safeties: For the second-straight game, UNC gives up a 4th-quarter safety. Really? Lots of teams don't give up two safeties all season, if that.


So, to borrow a line from Nuke LaLoosh in "Bull Durham", winning is in fact better than losing, and the significance of three straight winning seasons cannot be discounted, given that it has only happened three times since the Choo Choo Justice era. The Heels will now await a bowl selection and hopefully have four weeks of practice to get healthy and polish the issues that have plagued them through most of November.