For the Carolina faithful, the University of North Carolina football team has had at best a subpar 2011 season, especially within the conference. UNC came in to the Duke game just a game ahead of the Devils who sat at the bottom of the ACC Coastal Division standings.
Playing in front of the home crowd in Kenan Stadium, UNC (7-5, 3-5) brought their "A" game, especially on offense, and gained 508 yards of total offense in front of more than 53,000 fans and students. Carolina took possession of the "Victory Bell" for the 20th time in the last 21 meetings between the teams.
What a perfect way for UNC senior wide receiver Dwight Jones to show out in front of the home crowd on senior day. Jones was spectacular with his hands, and finished off Duke (3-9, 1-7) by catching 10 passes for 101 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones was not the only Tar Heel exploding with the ball. Freshman tailback Giovani Bernard ran wild, posting a career high 165 yards on 30 carries, while scoring a touchdown on a 48 yard run early in the second quarter.
While the offense found an early rhythm, it was the Carolina defense that sparked the momentum, getting four turnovers in crucial moments and smothering the Blue Devil offense often.
Sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner concluded what many believe was a mediocre first year as a starter, completing 21 of 34 passes for 274 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Carolina will likely receive a bowl bid. Interim head coach Everette Withers has ignored questions during the recent week over whether or not he is a strong candidate to become the permanent head coach for the Heels moving forward.