Devils End Season On Down Note

A season of disappointments ended in a similar fashion as the Blue Devils dropped a heart breaker to arch rival North Carolina to conclude what has been a tough season.

The Blue Devils took at 21-17 lead on the strength of a Ronnie Drummer 24-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes remaining. But, as has been the case all season long, when Duke needed a big play there was no answer as the Tar Heels calmly marched 68 yards in 11 plays before Ronnie McGill punched in the game winning score with 1:38 remaining.

The loss dropped the Blue Devils to just 1-10 overall, and 0-8 in ACC play. Duke was winless against I-A competition this season. Meanwhile the Tar Heels still have hope for the post season with a 5-5 overall mark, but need a win next week at Virginia Tech to become bowl eligible.

Drummer's touchdown could have put the game out of reach had it not been for a big goal line stand by North Carolina's defense earlier in the quarter. Duke had driven to the North Carolina four yard line and seemed ready to punch the ball into the endzone to take the lead, but four Re'Quan Boyette attempts at the goal line were turned away. The Tar Heels were then stuffed on three straight plays and forced to punt, which set up Drummer's run.

Despite the loss, head coach Ted Roof was optimistic about the program's immediate and long term future, and told his players so in the locker room.

"I told them [the players] that I was proud of them and I'm sorry that we didn't send the seniors out with a win," said Roof. "And also that we have a lot of work to do during the off season, but we are not as far away as some people may think we are."

Next season the Blue Devils will welcomed back prized freshman linemen Vince Oghobaase Ayanga Okpokowuruk, and cornerback Jabari Marshall, all who missed the entire season despite high places on the season's depth chart in spring practice. However, those promises of improvement next year don't help console a team that was so close yet again according to Roof.

"A obviously very, very disappointing loss that rips your guts out. I was proud of our kids the way they fought and we had some chances there to win and North Carolina made a play when they needed to. The last drive so, disappointing."

With the win, North Carolina picks up two points in the Carlyle Cup standings. The Carlyle Cup – an all-sports competition between Duke and North Carolina – is in its sixth year of existence and sponsored by Carlyle & Co., a Greensboro-based jeweler. The Tar Heels and Blue Devils are now tied, 5.0-5.0, this year.

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