North Carolina and Duke tied 21-21 at halftime

The No. 15 North Carolina football team and Duke are tied 21-21 at halftime. Here are three things to note from the game so far.

Early UNC lead disappears

On Duke’s first two offensive drives, they struggled to get much going. While neither was a three-and-out, the Blue Devils were unable to find any sense of rhythm in the passing or ground game. They punted twice.

The Tar Heels, on the other hand, wasted no time getting their offense in gear. They scored touchdowns on each of their first two drives to take a 14-0 lead.

But Duke relented, scoring on its third possession and forcing a UNC punt the third time the Tar Heels got the ball. Duke promptly marched the ball down the field and tied the score at 14 apiece. A third UNC touchdown, halfway through the second quarter, pushed that lead back to seven, but Duke prevented the game from ever getting out of hand.

Mitch Trubisky is in a groove

Four of UNC’s first three possessions ended with Trubisky touchdown passes, including a 54-yard bomb to tight end Carl Tucker midway through the second quarter. Those scoring plays are impressive enough, but it’s the rest of the work Trubisky has done that’s really impressed.

The junior quarterback consistently stood in the pocket and waited to deliver accurate strikes. He completed 12 of his first 15 passes for 200 yards, and the three incompletions were all dropped passes by Austin Proehl. Additionally, Trubisky has shown his ability to run the wall, scrambling for a first down in the first quarter.

His play will be critical for UNC to keep up its fervent scoring pace in the second half.

UNC rushing defense getting gashed again

After giving up 374 yards on the ground to Georgia Tech last weekend, the Tar Heels got run all over again against the Blue Devils in the first half.

Duke carried the ball 28 times for 125 yards and all three of its touchdowns in the first half. While almost all those carries went for less than 10 yards, a few missed tackles and timely blocks have given Duke reason to keep running the ball.

If the Tar Heels hope to pull away and beat the Blue Devils on Senior Night, they’ll need to contain running back Shaun Wilson and quarterback Daniel Jones better in the second half than they have so far.

@BrendanRMarks

sports@dailytarheel.com


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