Quick Hitters – North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh

Oct 29, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) reacts after running for a first down in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) reacts after running for a first down in the fourth quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from UNC Football’s 42-24 home win over Pittsburgh on Saturday evening.


Condensed Game:

  • For the first time in the last 11 meetings between North Carolina and Pittsburgh, the game was decided by more than one possession as the Tar Heels absolutely dominated the second half (4th Quarter in particular – 21-0).
  • This was yet another game the Tar Heels don’t win the past couple of years. Down 10 on two different occasions, Carolina showed great resilience to keep fighting and trust that their talent would win out – and it did.
  • Okay, we’ve gone quite long enough without discussing Drake Maye. In a season full of Heisman-type moments this performance topped them all, against arguably his most stout defensive test thus far.
  • Not convinced? Check it out:
    • Career-high 388 passing yards
    • First-ever UNC quarterback with 300+ passing yards in five straight games
    • Third game this season with five passing touchdowns
    • Fifth game this season with five total touchdowns, matching a mark set by only two other ACC quarterbacks in the last 25 years – Tajh Boyd and Lamar Jackson.
  • Let’s be honest about this point – the defense didn’t look stellar in the first half (specifically the secondary). But boy did the unit turns things around in the second half.
  • It was Kaimon Rucker who made arguably the two most important momentum-shifting plays of the game. He had a third down sack forcing Pitt to punt. Carolina scored on their next possession to take their first lead. On Pitt’s next possession, Rucker forced a fumble, which Cedric Gray recovered. Carolina scored again to extend the lead and Pitt was done.
  • Neither half started well for the Tar Heels. Pitt scored on the first drive of the game and Carolina was forced to punt on a three-and-out. Coming out of halftime, UNC once again had to punt after their drive stalled near midfield and Pitt followed up with a touchdown to take their second 10-point lead of the game.
  • It was at that moment that things began to click. From that point on – the final 25:07 of the game – the Heels outscored Pitt 28-0 and outgained them 272-60.
  • UNC’s red zone prowess continues. They’ve had 36 trips to the red zone. They’ve scored on 33 of those trips (91.7%) (29 of which were touchdowns – 80.6% of all RZ trips). Here’s the thing: of the three trips that didn’t result in points, two were kneel-downs at the end of a game and one was a fourth-and-four that Carolina didn’t convert.
  • It was a great night to be a Green. Antoine finished with career highs in receptions (10) and receiving yards (180), plus two touchdowns. He now has three 100+-yard games this season in five games. Elijah finished with eight rushes for 18 yards and a touchdown, plus three receptions for 14 yards. He also had a nice tackle in punt coverage early in the game.
  • Both Greens also had impressive touchdown plays. Antoine’s first TD was a beautiful one-handed catch to get Carolina on the board. Elijah’s was only two yards but he somehow slithered through what appeared to be a non-existent running lane.
  • Pitt RB Israel Abanikanda is an absolute beast, and he got his – 127 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. But Carolina was able to bottle him up on multiple occasions plus force a game-changing fumble.
  • Carolina will be monitoring injuries. Caleb Hood, Noah Taylor, Kaimon Rucker, Bryson Nesbit, and Des Evans each suffered various calamities. The most concerning appeared to be Noah Taylor with some sort of knee injury. We’ll have to keep tabs on all of them.
  • The Heels are now 4-0 in the ACC, with a two-game lead in the ACC Coastal over Duke & Miami, both of whom they hold tiebreakers over. Why is all that information important? Because with just four games left on the schedule, Carolina needs just two more victories to clinch a berth in the 2022 ACC Championship Game.

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 Virginia on Saturday, November 5. Kickoff is at Noon ET on ACC Network.

Next. UNC Football Injuries Arise vs. Pitt. dark

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