CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Duke coach David Cutcliffe and his players talked openly all season about winning a division title and earning a spot in the ACC championship game.
On Saturday, the No. 24 Blue Devils made the once-thinkable goal a reality.
Cutcliffe was carried off the field as his players celebrated with Duke fans in their rival's stadium after Ross Martin kicked a 27-yard field goal with 2:22 left for a 27-25 win at North Carolina.
The Blue Devils clinched the Coastal Division with their eighth consecutive victory. Duke faces No. 2 Florida State in next weekend's title game in Charlotte, N.C., where the Blue Devils will go for their first league crown since 1989.
"It's easy to look forward to next week," left guard Dave Harding said, "but right now I think it's okay to kind of revel in what we've just done."
Anthony Boone threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns to Jamison Crowder for the Blue Devils, who secured the long-suffering program's first 10-win season. DeVon Edwards returned a kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown, and his interception with 13 seconds left turned away the Tar Heels.
"It was pretty special, a great moment," Cutcliffe said. "I don't mind these Gatorade baths. Our equipment people have to kind of figure out how to launder all that stuff I'm wearing."
Cutcliffe inherited a program that had gone 2-33 in the three seasons before him and hadn't had a winning record or reached a bowl since 1994. Now Duke is headed to bowls in consecutive seasons for the first time.
"He's the first one to really come here when the team was in the dumps and say, 'I'm going to change this program around,'" Boone said of Cutcliffe. "And people were laughing at him. It all goes back to him."
Syracuse 34, BC 31: Terrel Hunt hit tight end Josh Parris with an 8-yard touchdown with 6 seconds left as the host Orange became bowl eligible. Boston College had won four in a row behind star tailback Andre Williams, the nation's leading rusher, but he left with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. Hunt hit Alvin Cornelius III for 14 yards before the winning touchdown for Syracuse, which broke even overall and in the ACC in its first season in the league.
Va. Tech 16, Virginia 6: Trey Edmunds took a short pass from Logan Thomas, broke a tackle, then dodged a few defenders on a 26-yard score in the second quarter for the visiting Hokies. Virginia Tech defeated its state rival for the 10th consecutive time, the longest streak for either team in the series' 95 meetings.
Maryland 41, N.C. State 21: Quarterback C.J. Brown rushed for a season-high 138 yards and three touchdowns and threw for two scores as the visiting Terrapins won their league farewell. Maryland is leaving for the Big Ten next season. North Carolina State went winless in the league for the first time since 1959.