And here we go.
|AP Poll Rank||N/R||25|
|Points Per Game||35.9||32.9|
|Total Offense Per Game||430.6||396.1|
|Total Offense Per Play||5.6||5.4|
|Rushing Per Game||140.3||193.7|
|Rushing Per Att||3.8||5.3|
|Passing Per Game||290.3||202.4|
|Passing Per Att||7.2||5.5|
|3rd Down Conv.||43.6%||36.8%|
|4th Down Conv.||44.4%||47.4%|
|Red Zone Conv.||92.3%||88.4%|
|Points Allowed Per Game||41.2||18.1|
|Total Defense Per Game||511.6||389.7|
|Total Defense Per Play||6.5||5.1|
|Rushing Per Game||228.2||197.6|
|Rushing Per Att||4.9||5.3|
|Passing Per Game||283.4||192.1|
|Passing Per Att||8.8||5.9|
|Tackles for Loss||57.0||46.0|
|3rd Down Conv.||49.3%||35.3%|
|4th Down Conv.||85.7%||15.0%|
|Red Zone Conv.||16.7%||91.4%|
The numbers really point to a pair of key areas as it pertains to the overall match up. The first in Duke's defense. The Blue Devils are holding teams to 18.1 ppg on the strength of the country's 14th ranked pass defense and a +16 turnover margin. The pass defense also illustrates the stark difference between UNC and Duke in that area. Both teams have 11 interceptions which is tied for 32nd in the nation and fourth in the ACC. However, whereas teams pick UNC's secondary apart, Duke does a much better job in coverage. In ten games Duke has given up 33 pass plays of 15+ yards, UNC has surrendered 74. On plays 25 yards or more, Duke has given up 20 versus UNC's 35. Duke has an ACC best seven passing touchdowns given up while UNC is the bottom of the league having given up 24, eight more than the next worst team. Passing against Duke will be tough and given the Blue Devils are 79th in yards per rushing attempt, the ground game might be UNC's best option to spark the offense.
Speaking of the ground game, Duke's is just the latest team UNC will face with a solid running game. The Blue Devils are 5th in the ACC with 5.2 yards per rushing attempt and average almost 200 yards per game on the ground. As Paul noted, Duke has six players with at least 100 yards rushing and there are three with over 300 yards. Freshman Shaun Wilson has a gaudy 8.64 yards per carry and leads the team with 55.3 yards per game. The Blue Devil offensive line is experienced and effective which will give the parade of Duke running backs plenty of room to run and Anthony Boone time to throw.
Duke is a team that doesn't beat itself too often. The Blue Devils did on Saturday against Virginia Tech but that was against a tough defense. UNC doesn't perform well enough on defense to necessarily force errors which means whatever UNC can glean in terms of stops may come from some unforced errors. That being said, Pitt turned the ball over just once, had a running back who got yardage practically any time he wanted and the Heels still managed to win the game. If UNC is to knock off Duke, the same will likely be true.