After opening the 2022 football season with a dominant win over Florida A&M, the competition ramps up for North Carolina in a road battle against Appalachian State on Saturday.
Since making the jump from the FCS ranks, the Mountaineers have become one of the more consistent programs in the country. During its eight seasons playing in the FBS subdivision, Appalachian State has won 80 games — good for sixth most amongst all FBS teams since 2014.
Taking into account North Carolina's loss to the Mountaineers in 2019 and the youth of this UNC team, head coach Mack Brown understands the challenges Saturday’s game presents.
“(Appalachian State) is experienced with confidence and we’re not,” he said. “All odds are against us this weekend.”
Here are three keys for North Carolina to come out victorious against Appalachian State:
Remain poised under center
In his first career start, quarterback Drake Maye made his name known.
The redshirt first-year became the first Tar Heel to pass for five touchdowns in his debut. His poise in the pocket was notable and his first start arguably could not have gone any better, yet the Huntersville, N.C. native would be the first to say otherwise.
“Drake almost has a superstition, or thinks it's a bad omen, to talk about the good stuff,” offensive coordinator Phil Longo said. “Immediately upon getting a compliment he’s like, ‘Yeah, but I’ve got to work on (this).’”