Halftime UNC 6, Duke 6: There's no crying in ... football? | Sports
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halftime UNC 6, Duke 6: There's no crying in ... football?

Posted by on Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 5:01 PM

KENAN MEMORIAL STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL -- Another low-scoring, baseball-like half in Chapel Hill as the game is tied 6-6 on a pair of field goals for each team.

So far Thaddeus Lewis hasn't had time to find receivers as UNC's defensive front pressured him the entire half.  T.J. Yates (7-for-15, 58 yards passing) couldn't get out of the way enough to let the UNC rushing attack do more damage.  Ryan Houston gained 67 yards on 15 carries as the UNC offensive line constantly won the line of scrimmage.

Key play of the half: Robert Quinn sacked  Lewis on Duke's first passing play and set the tone for a Tar Heel defense that allowed only six first-half points, including a field goal that came after a blocked punt by Duke's Jordan Byas.  Duke rushed for -4 yards in the first half and Lewis managed 86 yards through the air.

Key stats of the half: Rushing yards UNC 81, Duke -4 -- yet the Tar Heels couldn't manage to make big plays through the air via play-action pass.   T.J. Yates and his receivers failed to connect on several big plays while the rushing attack didn't miss a beat despite Shaun Draughn missing most of the first half after sustaining an injury on the first offensive series.

What to watch for in the second half: Both teams played solid defense in the first half, but UNC's running game gained 4 or 5 yards consistently.  If John Shoop sticks to running the ball in the second half, the Heels should be in position to win this game if the defense keeps the pressure on Lewis.

Lewis began to move the ball late in the second quarter but will need some life on first down if the Blue Devils are going to put touchdowns on the board.

Whoever begins forcing turnovers might be enough of a difference in the second half.

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