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BATTLE FOR N.C.: Duke on the rise

Duke Virginia Tech Football-4

Duke tight end Noah Gray (87) catches a 16-yard touchdown pass past Virginia Tech defender Divine Deablo (17) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)


The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 30, 2019

Labor Day weekend seems like so long ago.

That is when N.C. State cruised against East Carolina and debuted at No. 1 in these rankings. Duke also couldn't hang with Alabama during the holiday weekend.

A major shakeup comes on the heels of Duke's rout over Virginia Tech and North Carolina, somehow, almost upsetting No. 1 Clemson in a 21-20 loss.

Wake Forest is undefeated and still deserves the top spot in the state, but Appalachian State and Duke are lurking. It is getting tight.

Here are updated rankings:

1. Wake Forest

Record: 5-0.

Why No. 1? Another quality win for Wake, scoring a 27-24 victory at Boston College in a game that was tied at halftime. What remains is a razor-thin margin over App. State, and now Duke.

2. Appalachian State

Record: 4-0.

Why No. 2? The Mountaineers even mixed in a defensive touchdown in routing Coastal Carolina 56-37. It was the second time in three games that ASU, which doesn't play again until Oct. 9, scored 56.

3. Duke

Record: 3-1.

Why No. 3? Throw out a 42-3 loss to Alabama and the Blue Devils are 3-0 with lopsided road wins over Middle Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Duke's 45-10 Friday night thrashing in Blacksburg, Va., featured the visitors rushing for 234 yards and three touchdown against the Hokies, who used to be dominant at home and especially at night.

4. North Carolina

Record: 2-3.

Why No. 4? How does UNC jump N.C. State after a loss? Because the loss was against Clemson, and the Tar Heels were a successful 2-point conversion away from having wins this year against both South Carolina and Clemson. Continue reading below for more on State's struggles.

5. N.C. State

Record: 3-2.

Why No. 5? Preventing East Carolina from serious consideration in the top-five is the Wolfpack's 34-6 win over the Pirates on Aug. 31. NCSU, which is 0-2 against Power 5 competition, has looked off and slipped since then. On Saturday it lost 31-13 at Florida State, trailing 24-6 during the third quarter.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


October 21, 2019

SMU's offensive production Saturday in a 45-21 football win over Temple included quarterback Shane Buechele passing for 457 yards and six touchdowns, and receiver Reggie Roberson caught nine passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns.

But when the American Athletic Conference announced its weekly…

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October 21, 2019

East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers achieved his first 300-yard passing game of this season with 313 yards on Saturday night in a 41-28 loss at UCF. His previous high was 210 versus William & Mary.

What ECU coach Mike Houston thought aided in that was that Ahlers rushed for 79 yards…

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October 21, 2019

East Carolina volleyball’s 15th win of the season was a five-set victory.

ECU rallied from a two-set deficit at Tulane on Sunday, finishing off a 3-2 triumph (14-25, 23-25, 25-17, 29-27, 15-8) for the Pirates to improve to 5-1 in five-set matches. They won for the fourth time when dropping…


October 21, 2019


The UCF student section was mostly empty for the second-half kickoff between the Knights and East Carolina at Spectrum Stadium on Saturday night.

On homecoming weekend and likely with other social plans on the forefront of their minds, UCF’s students had plenty of reason to…

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October 21, 2019

With Appalachian State still undefeated and N.C. State still scuffling, the real intrigue for college football in this state is which shade of blue is best.

Duke or North Carolina?

It will get settled on the field this Saturday in Chapel Hill. For now, UNC gets the nod because its impressive close…

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October 20, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — East Carolina's defensive success against UCF during the second half Saturday night, which was a major bright spot in a 41-28 loss, was a mix of adjustments and passion.

Even in allowing 41 points, just below UCF's season average, ECU took pride in outscoring the Knights…

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October 20, 2019

Raven Johnson is a 6-foot guard for East Carolina’s women’s basketball team who isn’t a prototypical rebounder, but she tries to make up for any height disadvantage with her hop and athleticism.

At 5-6, point guard Lashonda Monk definitely doesn’t possess ideal size for…


October 19, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. —  East Carolina’s football team lost 41-28 at UCF on Saturday night in a game that began as all Knights, leading 21-0 and later 35-3 still in the first half, but the Pirates left the Sunshine State mainly encouraged about their second half comeback attempt. Here…

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October 19, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — Even without Adrian Killins, a ball of energy and quickness as one of the most dangerous players in the country when he has the football, UCF was too fast.

The Knights also scored way too many early touchdowns for the Pirates, despite their storm of a comeback attempt during…

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October 19, 2019

A two-game, all-Florida swing for the East Carolina football team to start the second half of its season begins tonight at 7 at UCF.

Before the Pirates welcome in South Florida for their homecoming next Saturday afternoon, ECU is the homecoming opponent for a talented UCF squad that is looking for…

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