BOONE, N.C. -- With 31 seconds remaining in the North Carolina football team‘s bout against Appalachian State, the Tar Heels were one onside kick recovery away from icing the game.
UNC secured the kick, as sophomore tight end Bryson Nesbit rose up and pawed the twisting football. But rather than dropping to a knee — and essentially ending the contest in the process — Nesbit saw a path pry itself open, and the young pass catcher darted his way into the end zone.
The act appeared harmless, as the Tar Heels extended their lead to eight with less than 30 seconds remaining. However, an unsportsmanlike penalty on first-year wide receiver Doc Chapman following the play gave the Mountaineers prime field position on their next drive.
Nineteen seconds later, App State answered Nesbit's scamper with a touchdown of its own.
However, the youthful mistakes eventually blossomed into signs of growth, as North Carolina’s inexperienced core helped the Tar Heels fend off a 40-point fourth quarter push from App State and escape Boone with a 63-61 win.
“This team needed a hard fought fourth quarter game on the road,” head coach Mack Brown said.” “We’ve got to mature and not continue to make immature mistakes.”
Even before the first snap, North Carolina’s youth was put to the test.
Prior to the game, junior wide receiver Josh Downs strolled out in street clothes. He was declared unavailable for Saturday's contest with a lower body injury and is considered week-to-week.
In his place slotted redshirt first-year wide receiver Kobe Paysour.