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UNC Football keeps the Victory Bell in Chapel Hill with decisive win over Duke

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The Tar Heel defense stepped up and the Victory Bell is staying Carolina blue.

Duke v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

UNC’s defense held Duke to just one touchdown in the battle for the Victory Bell on Saturday afternoon at Kenan Stadium. Sam Howell rebounded from a disappointing showing in the loss against Georgia Tech last weekend to throw for 321 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions on the way to a 38-7 win. The offense, which really sputtered against the Yellow Jackets, didn’t have a single turnover against the Blue Devils.

The much-maligned offensive line was still an adventure in the game against Duke, which was partly responsible for the five sacks at the hands of the Blue Devils. It has been obvious that the lack of protection has led to Howell making some questionable decisions at times, seemingly because he hears the footsteps coming quickly in many situations. However, Howell was able to do more than last week in order to put together three impressive quarters of football offensively.

Carolina got on the board first when Ty Chandler took a pass from Howell 75 yards to the house for the first points of the game. Trey Morrison followed that with a fumble recovery for a touchdown of his own in the early going of the second quarter that made it 14-0. UNC extended the lead to 24-0 with a Kamari Morales touchdown and Grayson Atkins field goal before halftime.

Duke got their lone score of the game on an 80-yard strike to open the second half. It was the only score in the third quarter, which proved to be a defensive battle between both teams with UNC collecting just 9 yards of offense across three drives. The UNC defense held Duke to -3 yards for the fourth quarter with most of the starters having been pulled for rest for the final stretch.

It was a good bounce back game against a team that came into today playing decent football. Mack Brown hadn’t lost to Duke since the year that I was born, and it is good to keep the streak going at least one more year. The team is still far from a finished product, and definitely not yet proving that they are the team that found themselves ranked in the top 10 to start the season, but definitely better than the team that had absolutely no answers in Atlanta a week ago. As always, we’ll need to see which version of the team shows up next week to know more.

UNC welcomes a Florida State team down on their luck to Kenan Stadium next Saturday to try and build off today’s win.