Duke defeats North Carolina after Jamison Crowder’s late TD catch

WR Jamison Crowder celebrates his game winning TD catch - BDN Photo

DURHAM - The Blue Devils led for most of the game against rival UNC on Saturday night in Wallace Wade Stadium, but found themselves trailing with just seconds to go. On a 4th and 2 from the 5 yard line, Sean Renfree found sophomore WR Jamison Crowder across the middle for what would prove to be the game-winning catch. The victory earned the Blue Devils bowl eligibility for the first time since 1994 and returned the Victory Bell to Durham for the first time since 2003. BDN spoke with the Blue Devils' star receiver after the big win.


Key Prospects Tour Duke Campus

BDN Photo

There is never a shortage of feel good moments for Duke fans when Countdown to Craziness kicks off the basketball season and on Friday night a celebration of the program ensued. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his program had more than just this years team on display during the festivities. They also had a bevy of highly rated and key future prospects in attendance and they hope it will not be these young mens last visit to Durham.

It wasn't long after BDN began it's coverage of the event that all of the Duke Assistant Coaches, Jeff Capel, Chris Collins and Steve Wojociechowski came walking down the steps beside the Swartz-Butters Building which houses Coach K on the top floor with all of the visiting prospects.   Among [private] those were a point guard who does nothing but make his team better and win, Tyus Jones.

BDN Photo

Jones is believed to have Duke and Michigan State at the top of his list, so it was important that Duke made a good impression and from afar it appears that may have happened. Also attending was a 6-10 behemoth from Chicago Jahlil Okafor and a sleek wing in North Carolina native Theo Pinson. All three of these players played on one of the better Team USA Development Teams in recent memory and all know one another from the AAU circuit as well. Depending on how your perceive information, it is said that these guys along with Justise Winslow would not mind playing together in college.

Duke also had a visit from another stud prospect in Karl Towns and a junior high sensation and specimen in Harry Giles.

Anyhow, back to the walk through campus by the prospects. As they descended down the steps quite a few Duke fans took notice and trust me from the folks I met who follow or are members of BDN, a lot of them and others were well aware of these kids visits. Suddenly, there was a small mob of picture and autograph seekers and the guys took time out to accommodate the fans.


BDN Photo

Several minutes past before the prospects made their way fully onto the concourse with K-Ville dead ahead. By that time, owrd had spread and more Duke fans were taking notice. I could not help but think how disappointed some kids would be after getting their Duke caps and such signed for these guys not to matriculate but the greeting is one the average fan would have hoped for and a positive thing.

As they got closer to K-Ville, several groups of students, mainly coeds, held signs up letting each player know they were wanted in Durham. All of them seemed touched if not a tad embarrassed by the moment but all were certainly impressed by the situation. The group then made their way towards the Chapel and campus and later appeared behind the bench in Cameron as the event took place.

BDN Photo

All of them sat directly behind Coach Krzyzewski and he would often turn to them individually and collectively and chat of what was happening on the court or offering some nuggets of wisdom. Several times during the game you could hear their names shouted but there were never any orchestrated cheers which lasted long but each of these kids knew they were honored guests.

If body language is any indication, the group enjoyed themselves and the Duke atmosphere and there were several times where the group had collective laughs at various antics, such as Marshall Plumlee dancing with his crutches. No real information past that at this time but I sure more will come out at some point today and I will pass on what I can.   Talk about it on the BDN Premium Message Board.  [/private]

Can Duke claim the Victory Bell and bowl eligibility against rival UNC on Saturday?

Senior WR Conner Vernon will look to get his first win against rival UNC on Saturday - BDN Photo

North Carolina at Duke
7:00 PM ET
Saturday, October 20
Durham, NC


Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Duke: 5-2 (2-1 ACC), lost at Virginia Tech, 20-41
UNC: 5-2 (2-1 ACC), defeated Miami, 18-14

Last year: UNC defeated Duke 37-21 in Chapel Hill

PROBABLE: NG Jamal Bruce (foot), DE Justin Foxx (hand), S Chris Tavarez (leg)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Takoby Cofield (lower body), QB Brandon Connette (shoulder), DE Dezmond Johnson (lower body), DT Jamal Wallace (lower body)
OUT: CB Jared Boyd (leg), LB Kelby Brown (leg), TE Braxton Deaver (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON: TE Jack Farrell (leg), WR Blair Holliday, DE Allen Jackson (shoulder), S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder), S Taylor Sowell (leg)


OUT: TE Sean Fitzpatrick, RB Connor Gonet, OL T.J. Leifheit, LB Darius Lipford, RB Travis Riley, PK Miller Snyder, WR T.J. Thorpe
*UNC only lists players who are out on their injury report


The Tar Heels have two losses on the season, and in each of those games, they've allowed over 400 total yards to their opponents, including over 300 yards passing. The Blue Devils have to follow that blueprint and move the ball through the air against a relatively weak Tar Heel secondary, but that's not the entire story. Yes, Duke has a potent passing game with terrific receivers in Conner Vernon, Jamsion Crowder, and Desmond Scott, but when you look at their first 7 games in 2012, it's their ability to run the ball that has been the difference. The Blue Devils have eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark in 5 games this year - they've won all 5. In their two losses, Duke had a combined total of 49 rushing yards. Duke has to come out and establish a balanced offensive attack. North Carolina has shown that they can and will give up yards and points. The Blue Devils must take advantage. If Sean Renfree eclipses the 300 yard mark passing AND Duke totals over 100 yards rushing, Duke wins this game.


Obviously, if the inverse of the above is true, UNC will win. If UNC shuts down the Blue Devil running game, much as Virginia Tech and Stanford have done, then it will be another long night in Wallace Wade Stadium for Duke fans. Duke was dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball last week, and they will have to put up a much better effort against the Tar Heels. North Carolina will look to put Sean Renfree on the ground, and have already totaled 17 sacks on the season and allowed just 4. Of course, North Carolina can put up points themselves, led by electrifying RB Gio Bernard. Bernard ran for 165 yards against Duke last year, and he is likely to put up numbers again this year. The key for UNC will be to try and take advantage of the Duke defense with explosive plays, much as Virginia Tech did last week. The Blue Devil defense allowed four touchdowns of over 40 yards last week against the Hokies. North Carolina has the playmakers to put up similar numbers, and they will be looking to score quickly and often against a seemingly vulnerable Duke defense. If Duke loses the line of scrimmage, allows explosive plays, and loses the field position battle, North Carolina will keep the Victory Bell.


Duke had a golden opportunity to end a streak at Virginia Tech last week, but failed to finish after opening a 20-0 lead. This is a talented Duke team, and the game on Saturday comes down to how well Duke plays more than what North Carolina is able to do. Gio Bernard and the Tar Heel offense will put up points. Duke has to minimize explosive plays, improve their tackling, and compete much harder at the line of scrimmage than they did last week. The Blue Devils have to establish a balanced offensive attack that keeps the North Carolina defense on their heels. Most importantly, it's time for Duke to seize their moment. The Victory Bell returns to Durham for the first time since 2003. The goal posts in Wallace Wade come down. The Blue Devils are going bowling for the first time since 1994. GTHC. Duke 38, UNC 35

BDN Week 8 Football Picks – who will ring the Victory Bell?

It's Duke vs. UNC week! Last week featured a tough slate of games, but Andrew Slater came out on top, correctly picking 8/10 match ups and he now holds a slight overall lead. With six contestants within 5 points of first place, anything can still happen as we hit the second half of the season. Here are the updated standings:

Conference play is in full swing, with a number of crucial matchups. Starting in the SEC, two top 10 teams collide in Gainesville as the resurgent Gators host Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks, who will likely be without star RB Marcus Lattimore. The LSU Tigers will make the short trip to take on new SEC rival Texas A&M. Two key ACC matchups will have a big affect on both Atlantic and Coastal Division standings, as Florida State travels to Miami and Virginia Tech invades Death Valley. Of course, it's a great weekend to be a Blue Devil fan, starting with the Countdown to Craziness on Friday night and straight through the 7PM kickoff between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels in Wallace Wade Stadium. Do our experts think the Blue Devils will be ringing the Victory Bell Saturday night? Here are this week's picks:

Patrick Cacchio: UNC has already allowed career highs in passing yards to Tanner Price and Logan Thomas this year, and redshirt- senior Sean Renfree will have a big day in his final start against the Tar Heels. Duke must establish a balanced offensive attack and find a way to neutralize Gio Bernard to give Ross Martin a chance for the win. Victory Bell for Duke. Bowl eligibility for Duke. GTHC. DUKE 38-35

Bob Green: Step number one for Duke is to put the Virginia Tech game behind them, which should have taken place at the beginning of this week. If the team didn't check that block, they are in trouble. I'm confident the team has moved on just like they moved on after losing at Stanford in Week 2. I'm not ready to predict another four game winning streak, but I am ready to predict an angry Duke team that takes the field ready to play.

Step number two is to come out focused on playing four complete quarters of football on both sides of the ball and Special Teams.

It will be important to play tough defense against the run in order to slow down the Tar Heels rushing attack. The Bule Devils do not have to stop the rushing attack they just need to contain it.

On offense, Duke has a lot of weapons and must execute a game plan which involves all those weapons. The offense must achieve balance and force North Carolina to respect the run. Once again, becoming one dimensional on offense will be a killer.

This week is gut check week with arch rival Carolina in town and I say the guys step up and bring the Victory Bell back to Durham! Duke 42, North Carolina 38

Andrew Slater: In the home match-up against the Tar Heels, the critical area to watch will be whether Duke is able to contain the rushing offense of UNC and, in particular, sophomore RB Giovanni Bernard, who has been able to put up eye-popping rushing numbers this season. Thus far, unfortunately for the Blue Devils, teams have been able to run against Duke. With an impressive offensive line for UNC and a stable, but banged-up defensive corps for the Devils, I don't envision Coach Cutcliffe ringing the bell this year, but, at home, I believe that Duke will show some of the perseverance that they demonstrated in the weeks following the Stanford game. 31-24 UNC

Mark Watson: UNC presents a tough match up for Duke in that they can move the ball and fast. If the Tar Heels throw up some easy scores it might not be close but this Duke team has heart and the program has closed the talent gap but for now, they're still learning to win. North Carolina 34 Duke 27

Bob Harris: The Devils rebound against the Heels. The Geo runs out of ‘electricity’ and Martin puts his foot on the ‘gas’ to beat UNC 31-28.

Thad Lewis: We're undefeated at home and I look for it to stay that way. Get the bell back and bowl eligible!

Matt Daniels: It is simple...Victory Bell, 6-2 record, bowl eligible, beat UNC, enough said! 31-17 Duke

Vinny Rey: Duke wins the Victory Bell this weekend with strong play from the defense making crucial plays when they matter most. The offense will get off to a good start and it will be enough to win. Duke 24 UNC 20