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Tate returns two for scores as UNC edges rival Duke

Nov 25, 2006 - 11:34 PM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Brandon Tate helped coach John Bunting enjoy a memorable last game at North Carolina.

Tate returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the second quarter and brought back a punt for the go-ahead score in the final period as North Carolina held on for a 45-44 triumph over Atlantic Coact Conference rival Duke.

It marked the final game at North Carolina (3-9, 2-6 ACC Coastal) for Bunting, who will be replaced by Butch Davis as the team's coach next season.

But thanks to Tate and the rest of UNC's special teams, Bunting improved to 5-1 all-time against the Tar Heels' most bitter rival.

The Tar Heels trailed by six with 17 seconds remaining in the first half when Tate, a 6-1 sophomore, reeled off a 97-yard TD off a kickoff return to give UNC a 24-23 lead heading into the break.

Duke forged a 31-31 tie with 1:21 left in the third quarter on freshman Thaddeus Lewis' three-yard TD pass to Tielor Robinson.

But that only set the stage for Tate, who became just the third player in school history to score on punt and kickoff returns in the same game. He gave UNC the lead for good at 38-31 with his 54-yard TD off a punt return two minutes into the final quarter.

The Tar Heels built a 14-point lead on Justin Warren's 45-yard TD run, but the Blue Devils responded with two late scores. Duke looked primed to tie the score at 45-45, but Randy DeSmyter had his extra-point kick blocked by Kentwan Balmer with 2:49 left.

Joe Dailey completed 20-of-31 passes for 253 yards, two TDs and one interception while freshman Hakeem Nicks hauled in seven receptions for 117 yards and a score for UNC, which improved to 54-35-4 all-time against Duke.

Lewis went 20-of-35 for 285 yards, two interceptions and a career-high four TDs for the Blue Devils (0-12, 0-8 Coastal), who have dropped 16 of the last 17 meetings with the Tar Heels.

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