Maye leads Tar Heels past Florida A&M 56-24 in first start

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Drake Maye threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half in his first collegiate start and North Carolina beat undermanned Florida A&M 56-24 to open the season Saturday night.

Six different North Carolina players scored touchdowns, with Josh Downs making two touchdown catches.

“It was fun out there,” Maye said. “We’ve got a lot of talent. We just have to put it together.”

Florida A&M arrived with a roster reduced by nearly two dozen players because of unresolved eligibility issues. The list of those absent included linebacker Isaiah Land, who led the Football Championship Subdivision in sacks last year.

The game nearly didn’t happen.

“I thought it was my duty to leave this up to our guys,” Jaguars coach Willie Simmons said of Friday’s uncertainty. “They initially decided not to play the game, and after some internal discussions, they decided to play the game. So we got on the plane with the mindset that we were going to play. . I’m extremely proud of how they came together because most teams would have used excuses and come out here, laid an egg, and (instead we) played a game that I’m very proud of.”

Maye, a redshirt freshman and younger brother of former Tar Heels basketball standout Luke Maye and son of ex-North Carolina quarterback Mark Maye, completed 29 of 37 passes for 294 yards – some coming in a light rain.

“He thinks this is what he’s supposed to be doing,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. “One of the best first games I’ve ever seen.”

The young quarterback had a couple notable achievements. He’s the first North Carolina player to throw five touchdowns in a season opener and the first to connect for five touchdowns in a first career start.

“That’s kind of how the game worked out,” Maye said of the records.

North Carolina running back Omarion Hampton scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 25 yards in his debut. He finished with 101 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Florida A&M quarterback Jeremy Moussa, a graduate transfer from Vanderbilt, threw for two touchdowns. He completed 28 of 38 passes for 279 yards with an interception.

“He’s no longer a secret,” Simmons said of the arrival of Moussa.

The Jaguars were within 21-14 until Downs’ 2-yard touchdown catch with 5 seconds left in the first half.

Earlier, Maye connected with Kamari Morales for a 19-yard touchdown pass for the game’s first points. It came one play after Maye dodged defenders on the way to a 42-yard run.

The Jaguars responded by driving 75 yards in eight plays and scoring on Moussa’s 17-yard pass to AJ Davis.

On the ensuing possession, Maye hooked up with Bryson Nesbit for a 23-yard touchdown. His next scoring play came on a fourth-and-4 pass to Gavin Blackwell.

HIS TOWN, FINALLY

Veteran North Carolina coach Mack Brown had never defeated a team from Tallahassee, Florida, until this result. As coach of the Tar Heels, Brown, a Florida State alum, had been 0-8 all-time against Florida State.

This was the first football meeting between Florida A&M and North Carolina.

“It was a perfect opening game for us,” Brown said.

Brown, who turned 71 on Saturday, has 266 career coaching victories.

THE TAKEAWAY

Florida A&M: The Jaguars couldn’t sustain their good stretches and that could have come in part because of limited players available. They suited up about 50 players. They won’t play another Football Bowl Subdivision team this year, so repeating the success of a nine-win season from last year appears possible.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels will be happy with what they saw from members of their young offensive backfield. They won’t be so fond of the defense giving up 279 passing yards, with 273 of those coming across the first three quarters.

UP NEXT

Florida A&M: The Jaguars play Jackson State in Miami on Sept. 4.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels play at Appalachian State on Saturday.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

west virginia football
Lee Coleman/Getty Images
0 Comments

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
0 Comments

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.