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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Duke dominates Indy Week's first All-Triangle football team

Posted by on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Jamison Crowder runs against Florida State in the ACC Championship Game.
As far as I’m aware, nobody has ever put together an All-Triangle college football team.

And if you’re one of the few people who has been disappointed in that, here’s a holiday present just for you.

Here’s my First Annual (?) Indy Week All-Triangle team, made up of the best players who participated for the local Division I universities this season along with four special awards.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl-bound Duke (10-3) places 12 players on the list, followed by seven from Belk Bowl-bound UNC (6-6). Four players come from their fellow ACC member N.C. State (3-9) and two from Division I-FCS member N.C. Central (5-7).

The player of the year is Duke junior wide receiver Jamison Crowder, whose statistics are listed below in the grid.

The defensive player of the year is UNC senior Kareem Martin, whose statistics are listed below in the grid.

The rookie of the year is Duke defensive back DeVon Edwards. The 5-9, 185-pounder returned two interceptions for touchdowns, both in the closing seconds of the win over N.C. State. He also returned a kickoff for a TD against the Wolfpack, also both returning a kickoff for a TD and getting the game-clinching interception at UNC.

And the coach of the year is obviously Duke mentor David Cutcliffe, who took the Blue Devils to their first winning season since 1994 and the Coastal Division title.

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    Top awards to Crowder, Edwards, Cutcliffe, UNC's Martin.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Huge games galore for Triangle grid squads this afternoon

Posted by on Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 3:38 AM

Duke is going for one of its best seasons in school history, while N.C. State is looking to avoid one of its worst.
  • File photo by Chris Baird
  • Duke is going for one of its best seasons in school history, while N.C. State is looking to avoid one of its worst.
Any way you slice it this is a very, very big day for college football in the Triangle.

Everybody has a game with more meaning to it than usual.

The biggest of all is for Duke, which will win the ACC’s Coastal Division if it can finish 10-2 by beating rivals Wake Forest on the road and UNC in Chapel Hill next week.

But UNC is playing for bowl qualification today. N.C. Central is playing its biggest rival of all — North Carolina A&T — and with a win would finish .500.

And N.C. State, where the season is already ruined, can leave the field feeling pretty good if the Wolfpack can upset non-conference rival East Carolina at Carter-Finley Stadium.

To sum it up UNC and N.C. State are at home while the two Durham schools are making short trips to the Triad. Since all four kickoffs are within an hour of each other, should we pity those who are traveling I-40 between Durham and Greensboro this afternoon and not heading to a football game?

UNC (5-5) will entertain Old Dominion (8-3) at noon at Kenan Stadium (FOX Sports Carolinas). And State (3-7) will entertain ECU (8-2) at 12:30 (WRAL).

Duke (8-2, 4-2 ACC) will visit Wake (4-6, 2-5) at noon at BB&T Field (ESPN2), while NCCU (5-6, 3-4 MEAC) will visit A&T at 1.

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    Tar Heels, Eagles playing for respectable seasons today.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Solid special teams lead Eagles past Norfolk State

Posted by on Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Adrian Wilkins looks for running room as Zachary Giles (61) throws a block.
O’KELLY-RIDDICK STADIUM/DURHAM N.C. Central hasn’t had the kind of football season it would have dreamed about, but the Eagles have a little chance to have it end on a very high note.

That would have to start today, when NCCU (4-6, 2-4 MEAC) hosts Norfolk State (3-7, 3-3) in the home finale on a warm, sunny Senior Day. Win today and then upset uber arch-rival North Carolina on the road next week, and it’s a pretty good finish for interim coach Dwayne Foster.

NCCU gets it done on a day when its special teams have a field day, winning at home against a Division I team for the first time all season in a 24-13 decision.

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    Win over Aggies next week would complete .500 season.

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Duke faces massive test today, others hope to tread water

Posted by on Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 1:46 AM

Duke looks for a mild upset today that could help boost the Blue Devils into the Orange Bowl.
We’re getting toward the end of the regular season in college football, and in the Triangle it’s a little like the world has been turned upside down.

Over the past generation it has been common to see UNC and N.C. State zeroing in on bowl eligibility early and N.C. Central chasing a conference title and playoff berths while Duke is locking up yet another losing season.

Not this time.

Duke is the only team of the four that has assured itself of even a decent season, and is guaranteed its best finish since at least 1994 with a bowl bid already banked.

And today Duke will play its biggest game in a very, very long time.

The Blue Devils (7-2, 3-2 ACC) will take on No. 23 Miami (7-2, 3-2) today at 3:30 (ESPNU) at Wallace Wade Stadium, and would get the inside track toward winning the ACC’s Coastal Division title — and a likely spot in the Orange Bowl — with a win.

Everybody else needs to play desperate football. The only other home game has N.C. Central (4-6, 2-4 MEAC) hosting Norfolk State (3-7, 3-3) at 2 p.m. at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium in a game the Eagles have to win to have a chance for a .500 season.

UNC (4-5, 3-3) will try to keep its hopes for a winning season alive when the Tar Heels visit ACC newcomer Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3) at 12:30 p.m. (WRAL), while N.C. State (3-6, 0-6) will visit Boston College (5-4, 2-3) at the same time (Fox Sports Carolinas) needing to win out for a .500 record and possible bowl spot.

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    Miami's visit is Blue Devils' biggest football game in decades.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Duke, State will have a now-rare football meeting today

Posted by on Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 2:23 AM

ACC expansion has kept the Blue Devils and Wolfpack from squaring off every season.
Because of the quirky scheduling in what is now a 14-football-team ACC, the schools from Raleigh and Durham have not met on the gridiron in over four years.

That silliness ends today.

Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC) which still has a shot at its best season since the ACC was formed, will host N.C. State (3-5, 0-5) today at 4 at Wallace Wade Stadium in a game to be shown on ESPNU.

The matchup is one of two ACC games to be played in the Triangle today, as UNC (2-3, 3-5) will host reeling Virginia (2-7, 0-5) at 12:30 at Kenan Stadium in a game to be shown on WRAL.

N.C. Central (4-5, 2-3 MEAC) will travel to MEAC rival Hampton (3-6, 3-2) at 1 p.m.

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    Wolfpack, Tar Heels, Eagles still fighting to avoid losing seasons.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

UNC, State facing must-win showdown; Eagles are big underdogs

Posted by on Sat, Nov 2, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Even if neither team is having a good year, when the Wolfpack and Tar Heels play emotions run very, very high.
  • File photo by Chris Baird
  • Even if neither team is having a good year, when the Wolfpack and Tar Heels play emotions run very, very high.
Both teams’ backs are definitely against the wall.

And that’s rarely the case when North Carolina’s most anticipated college football game of the year kicks off.

But when UNC (2-5, 1-3 ACC) visits N.C. State (3-4, 0-4) today at 12:30 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium in a game to be shown on WRAL, it’s even more of a must-win game than usual on both sides.

The last time both teams came into this one with losing records was in 2007, when Butch Davis and Tom O’Brien was each in his first season at the helm. The loser of this one is going to have to struggle mightily to qualify for a bowl game, while the winner’s position is far, far, far from assured.

The State-Carolina game is not the only Division I game in the Triangle today.

N.C. Central (4-4, 2-2 MEAC) will take on MEAC leader Bethune-Cookman (7-1, 4-0) — ranked No. 12 in the FCS and consensus No. 1 team in Black College polls — at noon at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium in a game to be shown on ESPNews. An upset could help interim head coach Dwayne Foster’s bid to become the Eagles’ head coach next season.

Meanwhile Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC), which will be in a bowl game and has a chance to lay a claim to be the best team in the state for the first time in a generation, is idle until next week’s home game with the Wolfpack.

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    Loser of today's game in Raleigh becomes a real longshot for a bowl berth.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

UNC, NCCU really need wins; Duke and State face road toughies

Posted by on Sat, Oct 26, 2013 at 2:03 AM

UNCs T.J. Thorpe runs in the open field against Miami.
Talk about a “must-win” game.

That’s going to be the situation for UNC this afternoon, when the Tar Heels (1-5, 0-3 ACC) host Boston College (3-3, 1-2) at 3:30 p.m. at Kenan Stadium (Fox Sports Carolinas).

If UNC is the victim of an upset, the Tar Heels will have to win all five remaining games to get a sixth win and the bowl trip they missed out on last year because of the NCAA probation.

All six remaining games are winnable, but if the Tar Heels are going to save their season it HAS to start today.
UNC is the only Triangle Division I team at home this weekend. And the two other local ACC teams will be road underdogs.

N.C. Central (3-4, 1-2 MEAC), which is all but out of the MEAC race, will be favored to get to .500 when the Eagles visit Savannah State (1-7, 0-4) at 2 p.m. It’s a must-win game for NCCU interim head coach Dwayne Foster.

Oddly, all three local ACC teams are playing at the same time. Duke (5-2, 1-2), which needs one win to will look to pull off a shocker at No. 14 Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0) in an ESPNU game. Meanwhile N.C. State (3-3, 0-3) will look for its first quality win under Dave Doeren and possibly the national upset of the year in a visit to No. 2 Florida State (6-0, 4-0).

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    Tar Heels can't have winning regular season without running the table.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tar Heels need to Win One Soon; NCCU, Duke in pivotal games again

Posted by on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 1:50 AM

UNC TE Jack Tabb finds running room against Middle Tennessee.
Most of the Triangle’s Division I football teams still have seasons that could take off in either direction.

But for UNC, the time to start winning is now. Urgently. Now.

The Tar Heels (1-4, 0-2 ACC)
are going to have to win at least five of their last seven games to qualify for a bowl game, and it won’t be an easy task. That stretch run begins tonight at 7:45 at Kenan Stadium, when they host surprisingly good No. 10 Miami (5-0, 1-0) in an opportunity for a major upset — if they play by far their best game of this season.

The UNC-Miami showdown is one of three games involving Triangle squads this weekend. The other two games are Saturday.

N.C. Central (3-3, 1-1 MEAC) will look to get its ship righted when the Eagles host Morgan State (1-5, 1-1) at 2 p.m. at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.

Duke (4-2, 0-2 ACC) is on the road at Virginia (2-4, 0-2) for a 3:30 p.m. contest on Fox Sports South, and if the Blue Devils can win it they’ll be on track for a second straight bowl game and their best season since 1994.

N.C. State (3-3, 0-3), which is licking its wounds after back-to-back ACC losses in winnable games, is idle until next Saturday’s trip to Florida State.

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    Blue Devils could get to within one game of bowl qualification by beating Wahoos.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday night game turns out to be bad news for NCCU

Posted by on Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 12:32 AM

Adrian Wilkins carries the ball while Tevin Richard (32) makes the tackle for the Bulldogs.
  • Photo by Chris Baird
  • Adrian Wilkins carries the ball while Tevin Richard (32) makes the tackle for the Bulldogs.
O’KELLY-RIDDICK STADIUM/DURHAM Thursday night college football comes to the Bull City tonight.
Visiting N.C. Central is South Carolina State, an old rival from the MEAC that’s now a new rival from the MEAC.

SCSU is on a pretty good roll, winning four straight since a loss at Clemson.

The Eagles won 40-10 last year in Indianapolis to end a seven-game losing streak in the series.

But this one is all Bulldogs, period. SCSU dominates the game from start to finish, ruining NCCU’s appearance on ESPNU in a 44-3 rout.

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    S.C. State wins fifth straight with 44-3 rout.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eagles, Blue Devils, Wolfpack all looking for momentum

Posted by on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 3:01 AM

NCCU and Duke will both look to improve on 3-2 records this week.
A 3-2 record always presents some interesting possibilities for a college football team.

The next game will determine whether or not a squad will have a winning record at the halfway point.

And that’s the situation this weekend for the three of the Triangle’s four Division I college football teams who are taking the field in home games.

The answers start coming tonight at 7:45, when N.C. Central (3-2, 1-0 MEAC) hosts S.C. State (4-2, 2-0) at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium in a game to be shown on ESPNU.

And the ACC teams play Saturday, with Duke (3-2) hosting Navy (3-1) at Wallace Wade Stadium at 12:30 on WRAL and N.C. State (3-2, 0-2) entertaining Syracuse (2-3, 0-1 ACC) in the Orange’s first visit to the Triangle as an ACC member at 3:30 on Fox Sports Carolinas.

UNC (1-4, 0-2) has the day off before hosting Miami a week from tonight.

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    NCCU hosts S.C. State in key MEAC game tonight.

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