UNC Football: Quick Hitters – North Carolina at Appalachian State

Sep 3, 2022; Boone, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) celebrates the two point run score with his teammate against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the second half at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2022; Boone, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) celebrates the two point run score with his teammate against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the second half at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from UNC Football’s 63-61 road win over Appalachian State on Saturday afternoon.


  • It was a wild and wacky day in Boone, NC. The Tar Heels survived two two-point conversion attempts from Appalachian State in the final 31 seconds and escaped with a 63-61 victory – 124 combined points (congrats to those of you who took the over).
  • Carolina weathered an early App St storm and scored 34 straight to turn a 21-7 deficit into a 41-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
  • The fourth quarter, though, was a snip-snap-snip-snap that Michael Scott would have been proud of. The teams combined for 62 points.
  • Casting aside the craziness for a minute, the long-term and biggest takeaway is that Drake Maye is FOR REAL. He’s a high-level decision-maker (other than sliding when he’s running the ball) and clearly was in no way bothered by the raucous atmosphere in Kidd Brewer Stadium.
  • Maye proved that his Week 0 performance was no fluke. He finished 24-36 for 352 yards and four touchdowns through the air and added 12 rushes for 76 yards and his first career rushing touchdown where he was met in the end zone by none other than Sam Howell.
  • One of the major storylines pre-game was how the Tar Heel receivers would step up in Josh Downs’ absence. The answer? Just fine, thank you very much. The receiving attack was led by Downs’ replacement in the starting lineup, Kobe Paysour, who finished with eight receptions on eight targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. The four touchdown receptions went to four different receivers (JJ Jones, Bryson Nesbit, and DJ Jones in addition to Paysour).
  • While it’s difficult to have Downs out (not to mention Antoine Green’s absence), it’s a long-term win to force both Maye and the rest of the WRs and TEs to step up and make plays.
  • As dynamic as the offense has been, they’ll have to continue to be because the defense is not up to par yet. App State finished with 664 yards of total offense in scoring their 61 points.
  • The good news is that the defense made some plays when absolutely necessary. After allowing the Mountaineers to convert their first five third downs, Carolina’s down only allowed one more such conversion in the final seven.
  • While Carolina’s defense survived the first two-point conversion attempt thanks to an overthrow to a wide-open receiver in the end zone (who honestly might have been able to make the catch if he kept running), Noah Taylor and Kaimon Rucker combined to stop Chase Brice just shy of the goal line on the second attempt.
  • That said, UNC shouldn’t have had to stop a second two-point attempt. App State attempted an onside kick with 31 seconds to go, which Bryson Nesbit was able to grab and run back for a touchdown. Scoring points is nice, but you have to know time and score. It was poor situational awareness. Had Nesbit simply downed the ball, Carolina could have taken a knee and headed home without App State having ever touched the ball again.
  • Believe it or not, this is Carolina’s first road victory since embarrassing Miami 62-26 back on December 12, 2020, snapping a five-game losing streak.
  • My hope pre-game was that Carolina would come out and punch App State in the mouth and never look back. While that clearly didn’t happen, the Tar Heels showed the savvy of a team that knows how to take a punch and get back up from the mat and assert their will. Had the game ended after three quarters, that 34-0 run would have been the story. However, in the fourth quarter, Carolina surrendered a ridiculous 40 points. So the next step? Learning how to close out a team.
  • In back-to-back weeks Carolina has scored a touchdown both heading into and coming out of halftime.
  • While Downs was out, the secondary got a boost with both Tony Grimes and Lejond Cavazos being available. While there is clearly work to be done, this is good news for Gene Chizik’s defense.
  • A week after committing just five penalties for 45 yards, the Tar Heels were found guilty of 12 penalties for 115 yards today. While a couple were questionable (really looked like Taylor tipped a pass at the line on a DPI call and I don’t see how on earth Cam Keely could have slowed down in time to not hit the QB), several of those penalties extended the game when the Heels had a chance to put things out of reach.
  • It was another revolving door for the running backs, with a new wrinkle: Omarion Hampton was the starter today. Another thing we’ve learned is that of the five RBs, Elijah Green is the odd man out. While Hampton paced the team in carries last week, things were more evenly distributed today – eight for Hampton, six each for Caleb Hood and George Pettaway, and two for DJ Jones.
  • With a young and inexperienced quarterback, you expect to see some bad decision-making and turnovers, but it was seven full quarters of the season before Drake Maye lost a fumble early in the fourth quarter for the Tar Heels’ first turnover of the season.
  • Maye is yet to throw an interception on the season. He is 53-73 and completing 72.6% of his throws.
  • After no field goal attempts last week, it was good to see Noah Burnette connect on his first-ever attempts, one from 47 and one from 44.
  • Seems like it will be a season of the starting linebackers trading off the title of “leading tackler”. A week after Power Echols paced the team with 10, Cedric Gray led the way today with 13 (six solo) and an interception. Gio Biggers also chipped in double-digit tackles with 10.

Box Score

Mack Brown Postgame Press Conference

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina football game. Next up is a road game against Georgia State on Saturday, September 10. Kickoff is at Noon ET on ESPNU.

Next. UNC Football Quick Hitters: UNC vs. FAMU. dark

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