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"Well, it sure is warm for November isn't it?" joked Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe.
Coach Cutcliffe opening remarks "sure is warm for November". The best pic.twitter.com/LGGrQyqsH0— Joe Mazur (@joemazurabc11) September 19, 2017
Saturday's 104th meeting between Duke and UNC will be the earliest in the history of the football rivalry, causing many to do a schedule doubletake.
The previous earliest meeting was Oct. 10, 1925.
Cutcliffe said his team has to focus on improvement regardless of the outcome.
"It's still going to be about getting better as a football team when you have eight games remaining after this one," he said. "It's Duke-North Carolina. That carries weight. That's going to carry weight for year. There's a bell that says it does."
As rare as a September meeting is Duke's nationally ranked defense.
Through three games, the Blue Devils are tops in rushing yards allowed per game and overall efficiency. A win Saturday would push Duke to 4-0 for only the second time in the last 23 years.
They'll have to stop Chazz Surratt to get there. The UNC QB flipped his commitment from Duke to Carolina. Despite missing out on the recruit, Cutcliffe holds no grudges.
"You don't ever worry about the ones you don't get. There are too many things you can do to help the ones you do get," Cutcliffe said.
It's a good life lesson for many things, atypical or not.