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Friday June 2nd

Analysis: How Drake Maye's stats compare to former UNC quarterbacks through four starts

UNC freshman quarterback, Drake Maye throws a pass in Kenan Stadium on Sept. 24, 2022, during the UNC game against Notre Dame. UNC lost 45-32.
Buy Photos UNC freshman quarterback, Drake Maye throws a pass in Kenan Stadium on Sept. 24, 2022, during the UNC game against Notre Dame. UNC lost 45-32.

Through four games as the starter, redshirt first-year quarterback Drake Maye is off to a better statistical start than any quarterback in UNC history.

Maye has been efficient through the air thus far, with only one interception and 16 passing touchdowns on the year — tied for first in the NCAA. He boasts a pass completion percentage of 69 percent to go along with 1,231 passing yards. Maye has also displayed his ability to break out for big performances, as made clear by his five-touchdown outings against Florida A&M and Notre Dame.

With the Tar Heels' offense still looking to establish the run, Maye has also used his athleticism to pick up yards on the ground. Through the first four weeks, he has rushed an average of 45.5 yards per game and added a rushing touchdown in the team's 63-61 win against Appalachian State on Sept. 3.

Maye’s poise has proven to be a difference maker for the UNC offense, especially in enemy territory. Maye’s road passer rating of 190.4 is actually higher than the 186.9 rating he holds at Kenan Stadium. He's completed 71.7 percent of his passes on the road compared to 66.7 percent at home.

In Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame, Maye completed 53.1 percent of his passes — a stark decline to the 74.8 percent of passes he completed in the Tar Heels' first three wins. However, even in his first loss as a starter, Maye passed for 301 yards and five touchdowns. 

With the Drake Maye era in Chapel Hill firmly underway, it is time to look back and compare his red-hot start to the first four games of previous standout Tar Heel quarterbacks.

Sam Howell

Following in the footsteps of Sam Howell, the most decorated quarterback in UNC history, is no easy feat. Howell, who started at quarterback as a true first-year, also experienced success early in his career.

In his first four games in 2019, Howell led the Tar Heels to a 2-2 record and helped the team pick up wins against South Carolina and Miami. During that span, he passed for nine touchdowns with only two interceptions — both of which came in a 34-31 home loss to Appalachian State. He impressed with 1,024 yards through the air and a 159.6 passer rating, but only rushed for 19 yards in that stretch.

Through four games, Howell played better at home statistically with an average passer rating of 168.3, compared to 157.4 when away from Kenan Stadium.

Mitch Trubisky

After spending his first two seasons as a backup, Trubisky burst onto the scene in 2016, where he turned heads to become the No. 2 overall pick in the following year's NFL Draft.

Trubisky went 3-1 in his first four games as a starter, with his only loss coming against Georgia in week one. The junior quarterback finished this period with 1,306 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. Trubisky also added three touchdowns on the ground and rushed for 62 yards.

His passer rating was an impressive 178.6 through the first four games, due in part to his five-touchdown performance against Pittsburgh in week four. 

Marquise Williams

Williams made his first career start in 2013, but didn't become the regular starting quarterback until early November when starting quarterback Bryn Renner suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against N.C. State.

In his first four games as the full-time starter, Williams threw for 990 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions and guided the Tar Heels to a 3-1 record.

Williams recorded a 144.5 passer rating in this span, and made a significant impact in other facets of the team's offense. On the ground, he rushed for 289 yards and five touchdowns, and even hauled in a receiving touchdown against Virginia.   


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