Battle for Victory Bell at center of intense UNC-Duke rivalry

Mark Armstrong Image
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Duke, UNC renew rivalry on the gridiron
Duke and UNC kick off at 12 p.m. on Saturday in Durham in the battle for the Victory Bell.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saturday at Wallace Wade stadium, the 107th all-time showdown goes down between Duke and North Carolina. It has become a real rivalry since Jamison Crowder's fourth-down, game-winning catch back in 2012. More often than not, we get a very good game.

Last year's game ended in alarming fashion - Chazz Surratt intercepting Deon Jackson's attempted jump pass to secure Carolina's first Victory Bell since 2015. The Blue Devils have not forgotten.

"You know, that really hurt us a lot. I think it's definitely just added that extra fuel to a rivalry that was already super intense," said Duke safety Michael Carter II. "They're going to come out with their best, and you know we're going to attempt to do the same."

Duke )1-5, 2-5) is fresh off a domination of Charlotte but head coach David Cutcliffe and his team know the Heels are an entirely different animal.

"I think it's our test. It's November, the team has matured now some," Cutcliffe said. "It's back into conference play where your real measure is taken. I think that's the biggest part of it."

It's a similar challenge for UNC (4-2, 4-2). Off another disappointment at Virginia, the Tar Heels continue to hunt for consistency.

"We've definitely got to go out there and set the tone, send the message. Again, it's a rivalry game so it's going to be high emotion, high juices. We just got to go out there and make a statement, especially as a defense." said UNC defensive back Patrice Rene.

Much of the battle figures to be up front. Line on line. Nothing pretty, just will. Just ask Duke's Rakavius Chambers.

"Rivalry games come down to who wants to be the most physical team and who's going to pound the other team for a longer period of time," Chambers said. "In practice, we've had some very physical practices, so I look forward to seeing this out there on the field on Saturday."

UNC defensive lineman Tomon Fox said he and his teammates still need to prove something away from Kenan Stadium.

"On the road, we've got to be more focused as a team as a whole," Fox said. "We've got to be able to get ready to go into somebody else's house and beat them in their own place."

Whoever winds up on top will have most certainly had to work for their spoils. Fans or not in Wallace Wade, someone's going to be riding and ringing the Bell.

"You see them at church, you see them in the grocery store, you see them at work," explained UNC head coach Mack Brown, "It's bragging rights for your fans and your family."

Chambers has other plans.

"We plan on getting that Victory Bell back, because you know, it belongs in Durham, it belongs at Duke University and we plan on getting it back and I think that's our extra motivation," he said.

Kickoff is set for noon. The game will be televised on ESPN2.