Blue Devils Blocked In Upset Bid

The Blue Devils had a game tying extra point blocked before falling to North Carolina 45-44

DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke football team fell to North Carolina, 45-44, in the season finale in front of 24,478 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Duke's Tielor Robinson scored three touchdowns and a two-point conversion while Thaddeus Lewis threw for 285 yards and four touchdowns. The Duke ground attack netted 103 yards led by Re'Quan Boyette's 60-yard effort.

Duke scored on its opening possession, driving 52 yards on seven snaps for a 25-yard field goal by Randy DeSmyter. The drive was highlighted by Lewis' 40-yard strike to Jomar Wright to push the Blue Devils to the North Carolina eight yard line.

The Tar Heels countered with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Joe Dailey to Brooks Foster, capping a five-play, 84-yard drive that took 2:16 off the clock. Connor Barth's point after touchdown made the score 7-3 with 9:00 remaining in the first period.

On the ensuing kickoff, a 27-yard return by Jabari Marshall coupled with a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Tar Heels gave Duke possession at its own 39-yard line. Ronnie Drummer then darted 40 yards on a reverse to key a five-play, 59-yard scoring drive that resulted in a five-yard touchdown toss from Lewis to Robinson.

At the 5:09 mark of the first quarter, Dailey hooked up with Hakeem Nicks on an 83-yard touchdown pass to give the Tar Heels a 14-10 lead.

The North Carolina defense produced the first turnover of the day when Kareen Taylor recorded an interception early in the second quarter. The Tar Heels turned the miscue into points when Barth booted a 20-yard field goal at the 8:33 mark of the period.

Duke knotted the contest 17-17 with 3:56 left in the half on a 20-yard scoring strike from Lewis to Nick Stefanow. The touchdown, off a nice play action fake, was the first of Stefanow's career and Lewis' eighth scoring toss of the season. The Blue Devils started the drive at the North Carolina 32-yard line following a fumble by Dailey. Senior Jeramy Edwards stripped the ball from Daliey with fellow senior Deonto McCormick coming up with the recovery on the play.

The Blue Devils came up with a stop on the possession and took over at the 31-yard line with 1:37 left in the half. After the Blue Devils converted a third and four, Lewis hooked up with Riley for a 52-yard gain down to the North Carolina six-yard line. On second and goal, Clifford Harris took a pitch from Lewis and lofted a pass over the Tar Heel defense into the arms of Raphael Chestnut. Harris' touchdown pass marked the first of his career on his third career attempt. DeSmyter's extra point was blocked by Kentwan Balmer, giving the Blue Devils a 23-17 lead.

Brandon Tate then took the ensuing kickoff at the three-yard line, cut right at the 20-yard line and outran the Duke pursuit down the Tar Heel sideline for a 97-yard touchdown return. Barth converted the extra point to give North Carolina a 24-23 lead with 17 seconds left in the half.

Barrington Edwards' four-yard scoring scamper with 5:09 left in the third quarter pushed North Carolina advantage to 31-23. The run finished off an 11-play, 71-yard drive that lasted 3:26. Duke then marched 80 yards on seven plays for a three-yard scoring strike from Lewis to Robinson. The pair then joined forces for the two-point conversion, knotting the game at 31-31 with 1:21 remaining in the third period when Lewis found Robinson in the front right corner for two points. The Tar Heels regained the lead when Tate returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown with 12:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.

North Carolina's Justin Warren found the end zone from 45 yards out to cap a four-play, 71-yard drive, pushing the lead to 45-31 with 8:51 left in the game. Duke responded with a 10-play, 77-yard drive for another three-yard scoring pass from Lewis to Robinson. DeSmyter's point after made the score 45-38 with 4:25 left in the game.

With just under three minutes left, Patrick Bailey intercepted a Dailey pass and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. The point after conversion attempt was blocked by Balmer, retaining North Carolina's lead at 45-44. After the Tar Heels recovered the onside kick, North Carolina ran out the clock.

For Duke, Lewis finished the day with 20 completions in 35 attempts for 285 yards and four touchdowns. The Duke ground attack netted 103 yards led by Re'Quan Boyette's 60-yard effort.

Dailey was 20-of-31 through the air for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Nicks reached the 100-yard plateau and had seven receptions for 117 yards.

The Tar Heels pick up two points in the Carlyle Cup competition, an all-sports tally between the two schools. North Carolina now leads, 5.5-4.5, in this year's event.

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