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Greer Martini has played extensively at linebacker for Notre Dame as a true freshman, thanks in part to his offseason work with Carolina Hurricanes trainer Pete Friesen.

After missing chances to put the game on ice, North Carolina puts away Duke in the second half to end a two-game losing streak and secure bowl-eligibility with a 45-20 win.

When Duke plays North Carolina in football on Thursday, Tar Heels soccer player Bianca Gray will be rooting for the Blue Devils. And when North Carolina plays soccer on Friday, Duke safety Jeremy Cash will be rooting for the Tar Heels.

As North Carolina prepares for another in-state rival, with even bigger stakes this time, the Tar Heels consider the motivational lessons of the East Carolina disaster learned going into Thursday’s game at Duke.

In the space of eight hours, Duke went from on the ropes in the ACC’s Coastal Division to back in control. Again. That’s where the Blue Devils started Saturday, before a home loss to Virginia Tech. It’s also where they woke up Sunday morning after Florida State beat Miami.

The Carolina Hurricanes lost their third straight game Sunday, 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks, but goaltenders Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin have bounced back from last season and given the Hurricanes a chance to win.

By securing bowl eligibility and, at worst, a .500 regular-season record with a 42-13 win over Wake Forest, NC State met the minimum expectations for this season.

Just like last season’s opening win over Davidson, Duke’s 113-44 win over Presbyterian was thorough and complete, with Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow living up to all of the hype in their Duke debuts.

Even if Duke were to win out and upset previously undefeated Florida State in the ACC title game – however unlikely that may be – the Blue Devils face an uphill road to a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

In putting together their unbeaten November, the Carolina Hurricanes were so good late in games that they didn’t need to be all that good at the beginning. It caught up with them Thursday in a 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

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Luke has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
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