The North Carolina football team (2-0) beat Appalachian State (0-1) on Saturday, 63-61, in a thrilling high-scoring affair.
After struggling against Florida A&M, the Tar Heels’ defense allowed App State to run a 52-yard touchdown on its first possession of the afternoon. On the ensuing drive, UNC punched back by way of a pair of electric plays from redshirt first-year Drake Maye — who moved the Tar Heels into App State territory on a 31-yard completion, moved the chains on a fourth down and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to J.J. Jones.
App State scored off a few explosive, big-yardage plays on its next possession — setting up for a shootout midway through the first quarter. After a long Mountaineer drive to end the quarter, App State promptly got on the board again to start the second making it 21-7, App State.
UNC returned the favor on its next possession, as Maye continued his impressive afternoon with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Paysour to make it 21-14 with 9:30 to go in the first half. After a Mountaineers field goal attempt came up well short, Maye led the Tar Heels back down the field with his legs and running back George Pettaway finished the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run to tie it up.
With 1:52 to go in the first half, UNC forced the first App State punt of the afternoon. The Tar Heels quickly advanced into Mountaineer territory and Maye connected with tight end Bryson Nesbit to take a 28-21 lead into the break.
Out of the break, Maye led North Carolina on another long drive ending in a 12-yard touchdown run by the quarterback to take a 35-21 lead early in the half. After another long App State drive, UNC sacked quarterback Chase Brice to force a turnover on downs.
The Tar Heels continued their scoring momentum on the next drive, knocking in a field goal to make it 38-21. After a Mountaineer turnover in their own territory, North Carolina knocked in another field goal to take a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter.
App State slowly worked its way back into the game, scoring on one drive, forcing a Maye fumble on the next and following it up with seven more points to make it a one-score game with 10:37 remaining.