DURHAM, N.C. --- Riding a four-game win streak, North Carolina travels to Durham to face a rejuvenated Duke program that is one win shy of bowl eligibility. The game is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.
This is the first meeting between Carolina and Duke in October since 1943 (Oct. 16) and it is the earliest meeting of the two schools since 1926 (Oct. 16).
This is just the second time since 1994 that Carolina (5-2) and Duke (5-2) have entered the game with a winning record (2009 was the other). Carolina and Duke are two of four teams in the ACC's Coastal Division with just one loss in league play. Virginia Tech and Miami are the others. The Tar Heels have beaten the Hokies and Hurricanes over the last two weekends.
Carolina has lost to the Blue Devils just once in the last 22 meetings. The Tar Heels won 13 straight from 1990 to 2002 before falling in Chapel Hill in 2003. Carolina has not lost to Duke since 2003. The Tar Heels have had a different runner top 100 yards rushing in each of the last five games against the Blue Devils (see chart page 2).
Carolina is coming off an 18-14 road victory over Miami, which entered the game unbeaten in the Coastal division. It was the first road victory for Larry Fedora as the Tar Heels' head coach. Fedora is now 17-4 as a head coach over the last two seasons. Against the Hurricanes, tailback Giovani Bernard had his second straight 100-yard rushing game with 177 yards and two touchdowns. The Tar Heels converted a 2-point try on the second touchdown and never relinquished the lead. Miami drove to UNC's 29-yard line, but could not convert on 4th-and-16.
Duke lost last week at Virginia Tech, 41-20. The Blue Devils are 5-2 overall, 2-1 in ACC play.
A Win Over Duke Would...
• Improve the Tar Heels to 6-2 overall, 3-1 in ACC action.
• Give the Tar Heels three wins over Coastal Division opponents - Virginia Tech, Miami and Duke.
• Be Carolina's 22nd win in the last 23 games against Duke (although the 2008 and 2009 wins were later vacated).
Battle For The Victory Bell
The winner of Saturday's game will receive the coveted Victory Bell, which has been presented annually to the winner of the Carolina-Duke football game since the 1940s. A large bell on wheels, this prize was originated by former Tar Heel cheerleader Norm Sper. The winner is allowed to paint the frame of the bell its team color. Carolina has owned the bell for 21 of the last 22 seasons.
Carolina-Duke Series Notes
• North Carolina and Duke will renew their rivalry for the 99th time on Saturday.
• Carolina has had a player rush for 100 yards or more on 37 occasions vs. Duke, including seven of the last eight meetings. Last year, Giovani Bernard had a then career-high 165 yards and a touchdown in a 37-21 victory in Chapel Hill. In 2010 Anthony Elzy rushed for 116 yards in a victory in Durham. In 2009, Ryan Houston ran for 164 yards on 37 carries. In 2008, Shaun Draughn rushed for 110 yards. In 2007, Greg Little rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. The last time a Carolina player did not rush for 100 yards came in 2006.
• TB Giovani Bernard needs 95 rushing yards to reach 2,000 for his career. The Davie, Fla., native has gained 439 rushing yards in the last two weeks in wins over Virginia Tech (262) and Miami (177). Bernard is averaging 130.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks seventh in the country.
• Bernard ranks 13th at UNC in career rushing yards and needs 45 to move into 12th place past Ken Willard (1,949) and 95 to move into 11th place past Curtis Johnson (1,999).
• Despite playing in just five games, Giovani Bernard ranks second in the ACC with 10 touchdowns. The Tar Heels are 5-0 when Bernard is in the lineup.
• QB Bryn Renner needs 70 yards passing to reach 5,000 for his career.
• Eric Ebron needs just 50 yards receiving to pass Mike Chatham (448 in 1979) as the UNC single season record holder in receiving yards by a tight end. He currently has 26 receptions for 399 yards and three TDs. Ryan Taylor holds the record for most receptions by a tight end with 36 in 2010.
• The Miami game was just the eighth time in 60 games as a head coach that a Larry Fedora team has not scored more than 20 points. Fedora's teams are 23-0 when holding an opponent under 20 points.
• Carolina had 30 first downs against Miami last week. That is the most since it had 30 against Miami in 2004.
• Carolina has won five games by a combined total of 167 points. The two losses were decided by just six points. UNC's average margin of victory in its four wins is 33.4 and the average margin of defeat in two games is 3.0.
• Carolina is +6 in turnover margin this season, and ranks first in the ACC and 22nd in the nation.
• Carolina is averaging more than 250 yards passing (276.0) and 200 yards rushing (210.6). UNC is one of only nine FBS schools and one of just three ACC schools (FSU, Clemson) averaging at least 250 passing and 200 rushing.
• In the second half, Carolina is outscoring its opponents 122-31, including an 83-13 mark in the third quarter.
• Carolina leads the ACC and is sixth in the nation in sacks allowed per game (0.57). The Tar Heels have allowed just four sacks this season.
• Carolina is third in the league in scoring offense and second in scoring defense.
• Carolina and Virginia Tech are the only two teams in the conference with a punt return for a touchdown and kickoff return for a touchdown.
• Carolina is first in the league in net punting and is third in kickoff returns.
• CB Jabari Price ranks second in the ACC in passes defended. Price also leads the Tar Heels in tackles with 46.
• Three different Tar Heels have eight or more tackles for losses - Kareem Martin (10.0), Kevin Reddick (8.0) and Sylvester Williams (8.0).