Carolina destroyed Duke 66-31 on Saturday to firmly seize control of the ACC Coastal Division. With Clemson's win over Florida State, the ACC championship appears to be a date between the Heels and the Tigers in Charlotte. Carolina beat Duke in all facets of the game on Saturday, and the game was non-competitive in the second half after Carolina went for the kill in the final three minutes of the second quarter. The Heels looked dominant in the best performance in years and actually looked like they could potentially take on Clemson for the ACC crown.
Play a Clean Game: A
Carolina had 5 penalties for 39 yards and zero turnovers in this game. The Heels played clean, composed and professional throughout the game and their dispatching of Duke was methodical. Carolina left no doubt as to which team was better and showed themselves to be a class apart from Duke. Marquise Williams was particularly excellent, he missed none of his big throws when they were there. Williams has completely changed since his opening debacle against South Carolina and the Heels are poised to have their best start since 1997.
Play to Win: A
Carolina was aggressive in its playcalling all game long. The Heels played to win the entire game, from the first play into the end of the first half when they scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes. No series epitomizes playing to win as much as Carolina's drive to end the half. Having just picked off Thomas Sirk, Carolina decided to try to score again with only 19 seconds left rather than just go into the half with an already large lead. Even as the announcers were thinking field goal, Bug Howard got loose and Williams found him to put the Heels up 38-10. Carolina had the same aggressive stance all game and used it to obliterate Duke.
A Big Game from the Linebackers: B+
The Carolina linebackers played better against Duke than they had in recent weeks but they still had a few lapses. Duke's two best plays were each long runs of more than 50 yards which Duke was only able to break when the linebackers lost contain. On Sirk's touchdown run, Sirk hit the right A gap which was Schoettmer's responsibility on that play. Schoettmer failed to plug the hole and Sirk was able to run for 6. On Duncan's earlier run, he went right around the left tackle for the score. On those plays, it's the job of the linebackers to keep contain and make sure no one gets around the line and into the secondary. The Heels defense will need to shore up those issues if they want to have a shot to win the ACC.