North Carolina-Duke Preview Capsule
No. 25 Duke (8-2, 4-2 ACC) vs. North Carolina (5-5, 3-3), 7:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Duke by 6.
Series: North Carolina leads 58-38-4.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Plenty more than just the Victory Bell, which goes to the winner and has spent the past two years in Durham. Duke needs to beat the Tar Heels and Wake Forest next week to earn a second straight ACC title game berth. North Carolina must defeat either the Blue Devils or N.C. State to reach bowl eligibility.
Duke offense vs. North Carolina defense. The Tar Heels have the worst total defense in the ACC, allowing nearly 512 total yards per game. But they have forced a turnover in every game, and ball security is critical for a Duke team that has three turnovers in each of its two losses and three total in its wins.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
North Carolina: Dual-threat QB Marquise Williams ranks second in the ACC in total offense (312.5 ypg) and is coming off a four-touchdown performance (three rushing, one passing) against Pittsburgh.
Duke: LB David Helton leads the ACC in tackles (10.3 per game) and will look to stop a North Carolina offense that averages nearly 36 points and 431 total yards.
FACTS & FIGURES
Before Duke’s current two-game winning streak, North Carolina had won eight straight and 21 of 22 in the series. ... The Blue Devils are favored over UNC for the first time since 2002. ... This is Duke’s first Thursday night home game since 1994. ... It’s the first time since 1935-36 that the Blue Devils have been 8-2 in consecutive years.