CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The wins started piling up for North Carolina at the same time freshman Ryan Switzer began racking up touchdowns. That might not be a coincidence.
The receiver and returner has accounted for eight TDs during the five-game winning streak that brought the Tar Heels from a 1-5 start to bowl eligibility.
The diminutive Switzer leads the nation and has tied an ACC record with four punt returns for touchdowns - and they've all come in North Carolina's past three games. He's the second player in Division I history with TDs on punt returns in three consecutive games.
"A lot of guys are getting more touches, and the more touches you get, you kind of just go back to what you've been doing your whole life with the ball in your hands,'' Switzer said.
North Carolina (6-5, 4-3) plays host to No. 24 Duke (9-2, 5-2) on Saturday. The Tar Heels have won five straight for the first time since 2001 - and they're not even the hottest team in the 919 area code because the Blue Devils are on a seven-game roll, their longest since 1994.
There's yet another link between the schools famously located 8 miles apart - both heavily recruited Switzer, the two-time Kennedy Award winner as the West Virginia high school player of the year.
Switzer says Duke coach David Cutcliffe "made countless trips'' to his hometown of Charleston. He says he "loved their coaching staff'' but "just didn't think it was the right fit for me'' and ultimately opted for North Carolina.
And now it's up to Cutcliffe and his team to find a way to slow him down - or at least get their offense clicking so they won't have to punt to him.