Duke football falls to North Carolina in 2OT amid controversial officiating

Duke football plays against North Carolina (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke football plays against North Carolina (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke football team fell in controversial fashion in 2OT against North Carolina. 

Karma has not been on the side of the Duke football team since the Blue Devils surrendered a 4th and 16 against Notre Dame earlier in the season which allowed the Irish to rally and defeat the Blue Devils.

Since, Mike Elko’s team has been decimated by injuries, including two separate injuries to starting quarterback Riley Leonard and backup signal caller Henry Belin IV.

Grayson Loftis started his second game for Duke on Saturday night in Chapel Hill against North Carolina and the freshman did everything in his power to lead the Blue Devils to a victory but he was battling more than just the Tar Heels.

Loftis, after Duke received an onside kick, put the Blue Devils on top, 29-26, with back-to-back touchdown drives and the game was in the hands of its defense.

North Carolina drove the field with relative ease, but a 3rd and 14 for the Tar Heels from the Duke 19-yard line brought the biggest area of controversy in the game.

Drake Maye threw a dangerous pass to Bryson Nesbit, which he initially caught, but appeared to ripped away by Chandler Rivers as he came out of the pile with the football. After the referees chatted about the play, it was ruled a completion for North Carolina.

Granted, given how many plays are reviewed in college football, like a play earlier in the drive in which a competition to Tar Heel receiver Tez Walker was reviewed that was easily a catch, this controversial play would surely be reviewed.

Until it wasn’t. Even after all the time that passed between the play, the conversation from the referees, and Mike Elko trying to delay things as much as possible, no review happened.

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North Carolina scored two plays later with 1:59 to play but Loftis would lead Duke right back down the field and throw a 30-yard touchdown on a 4th and 7 on an all-out blitz with 41 seconds remaining.

Maye would get North Carolina in field goal range to tie the game and force overtime.

Duke football sees more controversy in overtime

Both teams traded field goals in the first overtime and North Carolina would score a touchdown on  its first possession of the second overtime.

In its 2-point conversion attempt, Drake Maye bought time by scrambling in the pocket and looked like he would try and run the ball into the end zone but was able to find John Copenhaver open for the successful attempt.

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However, North Carolina offensive lineman Ed Montilus was in the end zone when the pass was thrown, a clear ineligible man down field which should have resulted in a 5-yard penalty and UNC having to attempt the conversion from the 8-yard line.

No flag was thrown and now Duke had to try and manufacture eight points.

The Blue Devils were able to score a touchdown but failed on the 2-point conversion and lost, 47-45.

Duke, which is now all but eliminated from ACC Championship Game contention, will travel to Virginia next weekend.

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