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UNC Nips Duke In A Tobacco Road Thriller

What a tremendous game. We just wish things had turned out differently.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke
 Oct 15, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils tight end Matt Smith (80) just before the first half at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

When Duke and UNC play in just about anything, you’re going to get your money’s worth and that was certainly the case in Wallace Wade as UNC scored quite late to go up 38-35, a lead they would hold despite Duke nearly pulling off a miracle.

Duke played well in the first half and was up 21-17 at the half. The Tar Heels took a 10-point lead in the third, going up 31-21, but Duke rallied in the fourth. Riley Leonard hit Sahmir Hagans with a 20-yard pass to cut the lead to 31-28 and then Jordan Waters ripped off a 38-yard run to score with 10:12 to go up 35-31.

But Drake Maye is a problem and he led UNC back from a fourth-and-five on Duke’s 20 to a score with just :16 seconds left. That play will be talked about for a long time because Green was so close to being out of bounds. But it was reviewed and the touchdown stood.

Still, Riley Leonard wasn’t done. He got Duke to midfield and nearly into field goal position. But the last play, his last pass, was knocked up in the air by Tar Heel Noah Taylor and that was that.

The Blue Devils showed heart and grit, as they have all season. Things just didn't go their way. But the program has made great strides and Duke fans should be optimistic.