DURHAM — Ross Cockrell let the numbers sink in and the more he thought about them, the more incredulous he became.
"It does astound me," said Cockrell, the Duke sophomore cornerback, when told the Blue Devils had lost 20 of their past 21 football games against North Carolina. "It is astounding to see that. I don't even remember the last time that Duke has beat Carolina in football."
The last time it happened was in 2003, when Duke traveled to Chapel Hill and left with a 30-22 victory. Before then, the Blue Devils hadn't beaten UNC since 1989. And since that triumph in '03, Duke has lost seven consecutive in the series.
The Devils will try to rectify that on Saturday, when they travel to Kenan Stadium. Cockrell questioned whether Duke-UNC is a rivalry in name only, given the Tar Heels' dominance.
"It's up to us in football, (on) our end of it, to make it a more heated rivalry on the football field," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said on Tuesday. "But what's different about it is that we can throw rocks at each other and hit each other, OK. I've got a pretty good arm. So we're that close. And geography makes it different."
Bernard says he'll play: North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard suffered a concussion during the Tar Heels' defeat at Virginia Tech last week. But Bernard, a freshman who has run for 1,057 yards, said on Tuesday that he is certain he will play on Saturday against Duke.
"No doubt," he said. "I'm playing."
The concussion he suffered against the Hokies was Bernard's first, he said.
"I kind of had to gather myself while I was down on the ground, actually, and it was a quick impact," he said. "I blacked out just for like a little bit. It really wasn't anything too serious. But I think our training staff just wanted to take a precautionary step (by) not throwing me back in the game."
Cutcliffe praises seniors: The Blue Devils haven't won as many games as Cutcliffe would have liked but the Blue Devils' seniors are still Duke's most successful since the 1995 season. Duke's senior class has been a part of 15 victories - one less than the Blue Devils' 1995 senior class.
"Their legacy will be one not quite what we wanted in the wins," Cutcliffe said. "But their legacy will be resiliency. Their legacy will be that they have shown on every young player on this squad, regardless of the outcome ... They came to work on Sunday night, Tuesday, et cetera, et cetera. So [I am] very appreciative of those seniors."
UNC agrees to home-and-home with Ohio State: UNC announced on Tuesday it will play at Ohio State in 2015 and that it will host the Buckeyes at Kenan Stadium in 2017.
The Tar Heels are 1-3 against the Buckeyes, and the teams have never played in Chapel Hill.
Carolina also finalized its 2012 schedule with the addition of Idaho, which will play UNC in Kenan Stadium on Sept. 29.