In September, Drake Maye delivered a memorable line that the North Carolina State faithful have not forgotten.
“Whether you want to admit it or not, growing up in Carolina, you’re gonna be a Carolina fan,” the redshirt first-year quarterback told reporters. “Some people may say (N.C.) State, but really people who go to State just can’t get into Carolina.”
It was typical rivalry banter. Later that day, Maye issued an apology on Twitter, clarifying that it was a joke, albeit "inappropriate".
The North Carolina football team fell to N.C. State in double overtime, 30-27, in its final home game of the season. If Friday evening was any indication, the Wolfpack was determined to do two things: first, outplay UNC on both sides of the ball. Then, talk.
N.C. State’s defense badgered Maye into his second-worst statistical performance of the year.
The signal caller passed for just 233 yards on a season-high 49 attempts and was hurried for a season-high 11 times. Part of Maye’s struggles was due to the Wolfpack electing to send only three pass rushers on most snaps, deploying the remaining eight defenders into pass coverage.
Recognizing that UNC’s ground game has consistently been a lesser threat this season, N.C. State’s suffocating secondary negated separation opportunities for North Carolina’s receiving corps.
Maye attempted 14 passes to his favorite target, Josh Downs. But the junior wideout finished with just six catches and 51 yards. Similarly, sophomore wide receiver J.J. Jones only managed three receptions on nine targets.
“When you drop eight guys and got four receivers, I mean, y’all can do the math,” Maye said. “They got double the amount we got.”