Saturday's Duke-UNC football game latest of many big ACC clashes

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 27, 2013 

Duke faces North Carolina on Saturday in a game of high-stakes football, with the Blue Devils needing a victory to face Florida State in the ACC championship game.

Emotions will be raw at Kenan Stadium. Duke has won seven straight games and the Tar Heels five. The game is sold out and the Victory Bell will be there to be claimed.

There have been other meaningful Duke-Carolina football games. In 1989, the Blue Devils’ 41-0 romp at Kenan earned Duke a share of the ACC title with Virginia.

But the Tar Heels were 1-10 that year. The game meant a lot more to the Blue Devils, and certainly to then-coach Steve Spurrier.

On Nov. 22, 1963, the country mourned the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Duke-Carolina game, scheduled for Nov. 23 in Durham, was postponed until Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day.

N.C. State, which played Wake Forest just hours after Kennedy’s death in Dallas, had closed the regular season 6-1 in the ACC with a 42-0 win. Both Duke and Carolina were 5-1.

The winner would share the ACC title with the Wolfpack. The Gator Bowl wanted North Carolina.

The Tar Heels took a 13-0 lead with two long drives, but Scotty Glacken’s 70-yard bomb to Steve Holloway helped the Blue Devils surge ahead 14-13 in the second half. But in the final minute and a half of the game, quarterback Junior Edge led the Tar Heels down the field and Max Chapman’s 42-yard field goal with 21 seconds left gave UNC a 16-14 victory.

The Tar Heels, who had beaten Wolfpack in the regular season, would rout Air Force 35-0 in the Gator Bowl to finish 9-2. N.C. State went to the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia – the first time in ACC history two teams were selected for bowls in a season.

UNC coach Jim Hickey said after the Duke victory he had “never sweated out a game as much as this one.” But the three old rivals have had many other meaningful matchups that made their coaches and fans squirm. Here are a few:

2013 NCAA College World Series

N.C. State vs. North Carolina

Omaha, Neb.

It wasn’t just one game, but two. The buildup began soon after the Tar Heels and Wolfpack faced off in the ACC Tournament in Durham – UNC winning 2-1 in 18 innings – and peaked when both advanced to the College World Series and were slated to play in the opening game.

UNC was the No. 1 national seed and the Wolfpack was playing in Omaha for the first time since 1968. The stands were packed with red and light blue.

N.C. State, with Carlos Rodon on the mound, beat the top-seeded Tar Heels 8-1 in the opener at TD Ameritrade Park and savored the victory. But only for a few days. Hobbs Johnson’s strong pitching sparked the Tar Heels to a 7-0 victory in the rematch, eliminating the Wolfpack.

1989 ACC Basketball Tournament

Duke vs. North Carolina

Atlanta

It came down to a final heave of the ball – Duke’s Danny Ferry firing up a 65-footer at the buzzer that hit the back of the rim. The Tar Heels, ranked ninth nationally, had held on for a 77-74 victory over the No. 7 Blue Devils at the Omni to win the ACC championship.

Forty-nine fouls were called in the game. It also was the rubber game after two intense regular-season games, with the Tar Heels downing then-unbeaten No. 1 Duke 91-71 at Cameron Indoor Stadium and Duke winning in Chapel Hill 88-86.

The Tar Heels’ J.R. Reid, derided by a “J.R. Can’t Reid” sign at the game in Durham that sparked the ire of UNC coach Dean Smith, starred in the ACC championship game.

1975 ACC Basketball Tournament

N.C. State vs. North Carolina

Greensboro

The Wolfpack was the defending national champion and David Thompson the national player of the year, but N.C. State matched up against North Carolina in the tournament championship game believing it needed to win to return to the NCAA Tournament.

Thompson had suffered a groin injury in the semifinals against Maryland and gamely gutted it out in the title game to score 16 points. But freshman guard Phil Ford and the Tar Heels won 70-66 as Ford was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

The ACC, for the first time, received two bids to the NCAAs. Maryland, the regular-season winner, got the nod from the NCAA committee. But the Wolfpack was left out and Thompson’s brilliant college career ended.

2000 football season

N.C. State vs. North Carolina

Chapel Hill

The Wolfpack had lost seven straight games to the Tar Heels, a big reason N.C. State coach Mike O’Cain lost his job in 1999. Chuck Amato was named the Wolfpack’s new coach, bringing needed energy to the program and quickly rekindling the rivalry with UNC.

With freshman quarterback Philip Rivers running and passing for touchdowns and also catching a TD pass, the Wolfpack broke open a close game in the second half for a 38-20 victory at Kenan Stadium.

“It’s something we’ve heard, all the coaching staff and the players, from Day One, “ Rivers said. “Beating North Carolina, beating North Carolina. Hadn’t done it, hadn’t done it. It feels great.”

1997-1998 mens’ basketball season

Duke vs. North Carolina

Durham

With 12 minutes left in the second half in steamy Cameron Indoor Stadium, top-ranked Duke trailed No. 3 North Carolina 64-47. Ed Cota and the Tar Heels appeared headed to an easy victory.

But Duke center Elton Brand, returning from a broken foot, and the Blue Devils rallied to win 77-75. A basket by Roshown McLeod was the winner as the Blue Devils wrapped up an ACC regular-season title and gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 500th career victory.

“It was just beautiful to me to watch this team go to another level, “ Krzyzewski said.

1995 ACC lacrosse tournament

Duke vs. North Carolina

Chapel Hill

The Tar Heels had won seven straight men’s lacrosse titles. Duke’s last ACC title had come in 1954, the ACC’s first year.

But the Blue Devils knocked off the Tar Heels at Fetzer Field 14-6, just a few days after Duke coach Mike Pressler had predicted a victory. Pressler urged others in the Duke athletic department to attend the tournament, saying, “Come see us because we’re going to win this thing.”

The Blue Devils would go on to add six ACC titles and two NCAA championships (2010, 2013.) Duke won the 2013 national title after losing to UNC 18-17 in the ACC Tournament.

2007 ACC women’s basketball tournament

N.C. State vs. Duke

Greensboro

Duke was 30-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country. N.C. State was seeded fourth in the tournament, but had risen to 24th in the national polls after the return of coach Kay Yow.

Fueled by emotion, the Wolfpack shocked the Blue Devils 70-65 in the ACC semifinals for Yow, who was battling breast cancer and had missed the first two months of the season. Yow returned in late January, and on Feb. 16 the Wolfpack upset No. 2 North Carolina 72-65 at Reynolds Coliseum on the night the floor was renamed “Kay Yow Court.”

Yow, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, died in January 2009 at age 66.

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