Duke stuns UNC 33-30 on TD with 13 seconds left
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — With one dramatic drive capped by a circus catch, Duke finally reclaimed the Bell — and probably a bowl, too.
Sean Renfree's 5-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder on fourth down with 13 seconds left lifted the Blue Devils past North Carolina 33-30 on Saturday night, making them eligible for their first bowl game since 1994.
"It's something that we've been hunting for a while around here," Crowder said. "Being able to accomplish that, we just want to keep going. Keep playing and keep winning."
Renfree finished 23 of 36 for 276 yards for Duke (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) and converted three third-and-longs during the game-winning, 87-yard drive.
That came after the Tar Heels (5-3, 2-2) erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit and took a short-lived lead when Gio Bernard scored a bizarre touchdown after scooping up a teammate's fumble.
Renfree led the Blue Devils into the red zone in the final minute, and after Jela Duncan's 2-yard run on third-and-4, Duke called its final timeout with 19 seconds left. Renfree then rolled and found a leaping Crowder over the middle. He was knocked upside-down but held on for the go-ahead score.
"The main thing that was going through my head was, 'Just hold on to the ball,'" Crowder said. "And when I realized I still had it, I just wanted to get to the sideline and celebrate with my team."
Duke snuffed out a series of laterals on the Tar Heels' final play, giving the Blue Devils possession of the Victory Bell — the traveling trophy awarded to the Duke-UNC winner — for the first time since 2003. The students poured onto the Wallace Wade Stadium field to celebrate Duke's first home victory in the series since 1998.
"They outplayed us and they out-executed us in every phase of the game," new North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said.
Backup quarterback Anthony Boone and Duncan each had 2-yard scoring runs and Ross Martin kicked four field goals for the Blue Devils, who have their best record through eight games since the 1994 team opened 7-1 on its way to the Hall of Fame Bowl — the school's most recent postseason appearance.
"Six and two — we haven't been here in a long time," cornerback Ross Cockrell said. "We're going to build upon that."
Bernard had 143 yards and two touchdowns — including the bizarre one with 3:12 left that gave North Carolina its first lead since the opening drive.
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