Maye’s 5 TDs lift UNC over Appalachian State 63-61

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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BOONE, N.C. – Drake Maye is looking like the real deal.

North Carolina’s redshirt freshman quarterback continued his torrid start to the season, throwing for 352 yards and combining for five touchdowns as the Tar Heels outlasted Appalachian State 63-61 on Saturday – despite surrendering 40 points to the Mountaineers in a wild fourth quarter.

Maye, the younger brother of former Tar Heels basketball star Luke Maye, has thrown a school-record nine touchdown passes in two career starts. He also ran for a score against the Mountaineers.

“He’s a special young guy,” Tar Heels coach Mack Brown said. “He’s a great young quarterback who is only going to get better.”

Sixth-year quarterback Chase Brice threw for 376 yards and a school-record six touchdowns – four of those in the fourth quarter – for Appalachian State (0-1).

The Tar Heels (2-0) won despite squandering a 20-point fourth-quarter lead and allowing the Mountaineers to gain 664 yards and score nine touchdowns on offense.

But that didn’t dampen Brown’s enthusiasm.

“You take a win and go,” Brown said. “We we were underdogs and hadn’t won a road game all of last year, so anybody who thinks I’m going to be mad or disappointed over this one doesn’t understand coaching. I’m excited to win against a really good team on the road.”

Appalachian State coach Shawn Clark said he was thrilled with the fight his team showed in the fourth quarter.

“We were down 20, and our guys never quit,” Clark said. “We’re going to have a helluva football team. Our guys are hurt, and we’re disappointed, but not discouraged. The future is bright at Appalachian State.”

The two teams combined for 62 points and 504 yards – in the fourth quarter alone.

North Carolina seemed in control, leading 41-21 after the third quarter, but the Mountaineers climbed back in the game behind Brice, who led six TD drives in the final quarter.

Maye showed poise beyond his years in his first road start.

With the tied at 49, he beat an all-out blitz by lofting a pass over the middle to D.J. Jones for a 42-yard touchdown pass to give North Carolina the lead with 2:50 left in the game.

“They were bringing the house a couple times trying to hit up a young quarterback,” Maye said. “But they forgot about D.J., who slipped out in the seam. He was wide open and I got power driven into the ground. I tried to float him up one and he took care of the rest.”

But the game was far from over.

Brice responded with is fifth TD pass of the game, a 28-yard strike to Deshaun Davis with 31 seconds left. The Mountaineers went for the 2-point conversion – and the win – but Brice’s pass sailed just over a backpedaling Davis’ head.

“I had made my mind up early that we were going for two and the win,” Clark said. “We’re not going for second place at Appalachian State.”

The UNC fans celebrated an apparent win.

But when UNC’s Bryson Nesbit returned the ensuing onside kick for a 43-yard touchdown – rather than simply getting down – it gave the Mountaineers yet another chance to tie the game trailing 63-55.

“Our coaches were yelling, `no, get down,”‘ Brown said.

Sure enough, Brice found Kaedin Robinson for a 26-yard TD strike with 9 seconds left to cut the lead to 63-61.

The Mountaineers went for 2 but Brice was stopped short of the end zone.

The Tar Heels fell behind 21-7 before rattling off 34 straight points and silence a record crowd of 40,168 at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Maye threw three TD passes in the first half, including a 10-yard TD strike to Nesbit to give the Tar Heels a 28-21 lead with 1 second left.

Maye made it 28 straight unanswered points for UNC with a 12-yard touchdown run to start the second half, receiving congrats from former Tar Heels and current Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell in the end zone after tiptoeing the sideline.

It was the most points ever scored in a UNC game since the school started football in 1888.

DOWNS AND OUT

The Tar Heels played without standout wide receiver Josh Downs, who sat out with a lower body injury.

Downs, arguably the team’s best player, had nine catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns in UNC’s win over Florida A&M and led the ACC with 101 catches last season for 1,335 yards and eight TDs.

Brown said it’s unclear how long Downs will be out.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: New defensive coordinator Gene Chizik has plenty of work to do. His defense gave up 338 yards and 40 points in the fourth quarter. “We will be all over them and they have to get more discipline,” Brown said of the defense. “We have to cover better and get more pressure on the quarterback. We can’t have facemask penalties and late hits. But it’s easier to coach them when you win.”

Appalachian State: Brice had a spectacular game and Nate Noel ran for 116 yards and two TDs, but the offense stalled during the third quarter, shooting itself in the foot. The defense had a chance to seize momentum several times, but struggled to stop Maye and the Tar Heels.

UP NEXT

North Carolina: at Georgia State on Saturday.

Appalachian State: at No. 6 Texas A&M on Saturday.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”