Can Duke win back the Victory Bell from UNC?

jgiglio@newsobserver.comOctober 20, 2012 

N.C. State running back Tony Creecy (26) looks to beat South Alabama's Jesse Kelley (67) during the second half of N.C. State's 31-7 victory over South Alabama Saturday, September 15, 2012, at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.

ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com

Three to watch

1) North Carolina at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

North Carolina (5-2) has won four consecutive games since a road loss at Louisville on Sept. 15 and the Tar Heels have done it on the ground with Gio Bernard and their superb offensive line.

2) N.C. State at Maryland, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Terps (4-2) have doubled their win total from a year ago and have a realistic shot at a 5-0 ACC start, if it can get past the Wolfpack (4-2) at home Saturday.

3) Virginia Tech at No. 14 Clemson, noon (ESPN2)

A rematch of last year’s ACC title game has lost its luster with recent struggles of Virginia Tech (4-3). The Tigers (5-1) have won 10 consecutive at home.

Number to know

20-16-1

UNC’s record against Duke in ACC play entering the 1989 game. The Tar Heels have won 21 of 22 since that 41-0 home loss to the Blue Devils in ’89.

Observations

•  The two major milestones missing on David Cutcliffe’s resume at Duke are a bowl trip and a win over UNC. The Blue Devils could kill two birds with one stone Saturday and this is the perfect spot on UNC’s schedule to make a move — after a tough game at Miami and before a sure-to-be emotional date with N.C. State.

The problem for Duke, and the teams left on UNC’s schedule, is the Tar Heels (5-2) have played with a focus and motivation this season that was largely absent during the Butch Davis era. The Blue Devils will need a big defensive effort to overcome UNC’s combination of coaching and talent.

• Yawn, Florida State and Miami are playing football. Didn’t this game used to matter? Hopefully one of these days, it will again. Since the premise of the ACC adding Miami was based on this game, it would be nice for Miami to pull its weight one of these years.

•  N.C. State’s 16-game road losing streak in the Atlantic Division isn’t pretty, no matter how you slice it, but the six combined losses during the streak at Clemson or Florida State are excusable. It’s the 0-7 mark against Maryland and Boston College that shouldn’t have happened.

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