Drake Maye gets the call as North Carolina QB starter

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina is going with redshirt freshman Drake Maye as the starting quarterback for the opener against Florida A&M.

Coach Mack Brown announced Maye as the winner of the preseason competition to become the opening night starter. He had been competing with third-year sophomore Jacolby Criswell to get the first shot at replacing star quarterback Sam Howell, who is now in the NFL.

“We just felt like Drake should walk out there first,” Brown said.

The Tar Heels coach said there was little separation between Maye and Criswell, who Brown said will get his chance.

“If one quarterback is not moving the ball, we’ll put the other one in. We’re going to give each one a chance,” Brown said.

Maye is the son of former UNC quarterback Mark Maye, while his brother Luke was a star for the Tar Heels basketball team and helped them win the 2017 NCAA championship. Maye, an in-state recruit, originally committed to Alabama.

Maye has appeared in only two games and thrown 10 passes in his college career. But both players are inexperienced, considering Criswell has appeared in seven games with 25 pass attempts.

Brown had said in preseason the plan was to push both quarterbacks through camp in an attempt to have one separate from the other since both have been with the program for at least a year.

Maye had at least one star talent to target in receiver Josh Downs, who ranked among the Bowl Subdivision leaders with 1,335 yards last season to go with eight touchdowns.

The Tar Heels are playing their earliest season-opening game since 2001, when they opened at Oklahoma on Aug. 25.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.