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Wrapping up ACC afternoon games

11/26/2011

A few final thoughts on two more of the ACC's earlier games:

Final: UNC 37, Duke 21: Another eight-win season could be in store for North Carolina, despite the firing of former coach Butch Davis just days before summer practices began. Duke's defense couldn't stop running back Giovani Bernard or receiver Dwight Jones, and its offense couldn't overcome four turnovers. North Carolina was the more physical team and paved the way for Bernard to rack up 100 yards by halftime. UNC finished with 508 total yards; Bernard accounted for 222 of them. Duke ended the season with seven consecutive losses -- nowhere near where the program needed to be for bowl eligibility in the fourth season under David Cutcliffe.

Final: Vanderbilt 41, Wake Forest 7: Vandy was playing for bowl eligibility, and the Deacs couldn't stop them from it. Wake Forest had no answer for Zac Stacy, who ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns, including a 40-yard touchdown score in the fourth quarter. It was an impressive season for the Deacs, who had a chance to win the Atlantic Division title against Clemson earlier this month, but they faded down the stretch and lost four of their final five. There were plenty of close losses on Wake's schedule, but Vanderbilt left no doubt it was the better team. Fortunately for the Deacs, they earned their bowl eligibility a week ago against Maryland.