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UNC 66 Duke 31: Game Recap

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Heels used big play after big play to punish Duke for a 38-10 halftime lead on the way to a 66-31 win to keep the Victory Bell and seize command in the Coastal Division.

After forcing a Duke punt to open the game, Larry Fedora opened up the playbook and used a flea flicker play to put the Heels up 7-0 on offense's first play. Elijah Hood took the handoff from Marquise Williams then flipped it back to the sneior quarterback who hit a wide open Ryan Switzer for an 89-yard touchdown.

From there UNC was relentless on offense and did just enough on defense. Duke responded with a sustained drive to inside the UNC five but the Tar Heels held the Blue Devils to a field goal. The Tar Heels followed with a second touchdown drive thanks in large part to a 49 yard screen pass to T.J. Logan. Williams finished the drive off with a four yard run. After Jeff Schoettmer forced a fumble and recovered it at the UNC 30, the Tar Heels used 11 plays to go 70 yards for a 21-3 lead late in the first quarter.

Duke showed signs of life early in the second quarter following a Tar Heel punt. Shaquille Powell broke open a 52 yard touchdown run to cut the Tar Heel lead to 21-10. UNC responded with a drive into Duke territory and settled for a Nick Weiler 47-yard field goal attempt. The kick struck the right upright but Duke was oddsides giving UNC a 4th and 1 at the Duke 26. Hood got the necessary yardage and the Heels pushed inside the five. Two Hood runs on 3rd and 4th down at the goal line were stuff giving Duke the ball back at their own two.

While the gamble didn't produce points, it pinned Duke back and the Tar Heel defense got an immediate three and out. A short Duke punt gave UNC prime field position and Nick Weiler's 35 yard field goal restored a two touchdown lead.

The remainder of the half was a Tar Heel offensive show with some solid defense mixed in. Williams hit Mac Hollins deep for a 74 yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 31-10.  Dominique Green picked off Thomas Sirk to set UNC up at its own 35 yard line with 19 seconds left. UNC made the most of those 19 seconds with Williams finding Bug Howard for a 49 yard touchdown pass to put the Heels up 38-10 at the break.

The second half was more of the same. UNC opened the half with seven play, 75 yard drive capped off by a 16 yard Elijah Hood run to make it 45-10. Sirk answered with Duke's second 50+ yard touchdown run to make it 45-17. UNC answered with back-to-back touchdown drives as Williams broke T.J. Yates single game passing mark of 439 yards and the Tar Heels took a 59-17 lead. After Duke managed another touchdown, UNC went on 13 play drive under the direction of Mitch Trubisky with the sophomore quarterback putting UNC over sixty points with a four yard run. Duke answered with a touchdown drive of its own to conclude the scoring for the day.

The Tar Heels finished the game with 704 yards of total offense. Marquise Williams set a new single game passing mark with 494 yards on 23-35 passing and a touchdown. WIlliams had 30 yards rushing and a touchdown. His 524 yards of total offense is a new UNC record breaking his own mark. UNC had two receivers go over 100 yards with Hollins at 165 and Switzer 107.

With the win UNC moves to 5-0 in the ACC and 8-1 overall. The Tar Heels need to simply beat Miami next week and have Pitt lose to clinch the Coastal Division.