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The High Stakes Of This Year's Duke-Carolina Football Game

Kenan Stadium

Number 24 Duke and North Carolina are getting ready for their annual football rivalry matchup. 

The Tar Heels host the Blue Devils on Saturday in the final game of the regular season.  There's a lot at stake for Duke, which needs the win to advance to the ACC championship game against Florida State.  It would be the school's first trip to the title game. 

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe says it's fitting that the deciding game is against UNC.

"It's enough that it's just Duke and North Carolina," Cutcliffe says.

"I know, as we look at it, this is the biggest challenge we will have faced all year long; a North Carolina team that's playing extremely well on their own winning streak.  I hope our team will embrace it and give us their best effort."

And if Georgia Tech loses its own rivalry game against Georgia, North Carolina could claim a share of the ACC Coastal Division championship with a victory over Duke.  Coach Larry Fedora says his team is trying to stay grounded coming into this weekend's showdown.

"Yes, they know they're going to be hyped up.  They know they're going to be excited to play, but they have to be locked in and do their job.  That's it.  If you do your job and do it with great effort, good things are usually going to happen.  And then when things don't go our way, you can't panic," Fedora says.

Duke has won seven straight games while North Carolina is on a five-game winning streak.  Kickoff is at noon on Saturday in Chapel Hill.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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