The No. 24 UNC football team (8-2, 4-2 ACC) bested Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC), 47-45, Saturday night to eek out a double-overtime victory in its final home game of the season.
Sophomore quarterback Drake Maye ended the night with 342 passing yards with junior wide receiver Tez Walker as his top target, recording 162 yards. Sophomore running back Omarion Hampton recorded the most rushing yards with 169.
"You talk about toughness, you talk about character, you talk about culture, you talk about confidence — these things are hard to do," head coach Mack Brown said after the game. "I'm so proud, even when they got in overtime, we weren't playing very good defense at the time and they found a way."
On the first drive North Carolina came out strong, with Maye immediately making a short 4-yard pass to Hampton to open the game. From there, Maye alternated between passing and handing off the ball to make quick work of getting down the field. Maye capped off the drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper into the end zone to grant UNC the early lead.
Duke’s offense, spearheaded by third-string quarterback Grayson Loftis, was shut down completely in the ensuing drive, advancing only four yards on one rush and two incomplete passes before having to punt.
The game continued in a similar fashion throughout the remainder of the first quarter and into the early minutes of the second, and the UNC offense was able to continue driving the ball down the field to notch two field goals and 13-0 lead.
Momentum shifted in the middle of the second quarter, when Duke scored on a nine-play, 70-yard drive, after Loftis finally started to connect with his receivers. Directly after the Blue Devils put their first points on the board, Maye threw his first interception of the night, picked up by Duke safety Jaylen Stinson, handing the ball right back to the Blue Devils at first-and-10.
Duke capitalized, and rushed the ball into the end zone to take a 14-13 lead. North Carolina regrouped to find an answer in the final minutes of the half, driving the ball down the field in eight plays — highlighted by a 48-yard completion to Walker — but was once more unable to make the final push into the end zone, settling for a third field goal and taking back the lead by a two-point margin.
The second half got off to a slow start, with neither team able to make much forward momentum offensively. The Tar Heels broke through first, getting the ball into the red zone but settling for yet another field goal, to bump the score up to 19-14.