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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC football team gets back in win column with 59-7 thumping of Campbell

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UNC junior quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass the ball during the football game against Campbell on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Kenan Stadium. UNC won 59-7.

The North Carolina football team (7-2, 3-2 ACC) decimated the Campbell Fighting Camels (4-5, 3-3 CAA), 59-7, at Kenan Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It was the first-ever meeting of Campbell and UNC.

Sophomore running back Omarion Hampton led the way on the ground with 144 rushing yards, while junior quarterback Drake Maye tallied four touchdowns and 244 passing yards. Backup quarterback Connor Harrell, a redshirt first-year, completed all four of his passing attempts for 71 yards and a touchdown in relief of Maye and picked up an additional 61-yard rushing touchdown late in the game.

“[I'm] proud of our guys. They did what they were supposed to do," head coach Mack Brown said. "They took a team they were better than and dominated them.”

UNC sophomore running back Omarion Hampton (28) makes a touchdown during the football game against Campbell on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Kenan Stadium. UNC won 59-7.


The Tar Heels were able to start the game on the right foot defensively, forcing a turnover on downs during the Camels' opening drive. 

UNC’s first drive, on the other hand, was unproductive, going three-and-out to start the game. But offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey's “complementary” football scheme kicked into high gear during the Tar Heels’s next possession as UNC tore down the field in two and a half minutes on the offensive production of running backs Hampton and British Brooks. Maye put UNC on the board with a 10-yard pass to a wide-open Tez Walker in the end zone. 

The Camels answered, putting the Tar Heel defense on their back foot with a 12-yard pass and 39-yard rush propelling the Camels’ offense into the red zone and capping off their drive with a 19-yard over-the-shoulder dot from quarterback Hajj-Malkik Williams to wideout Chaney Fitzgerald.  

Hampton paved the way for the Tar Heel offense and put the Tar Heels up midway through the second quarter. Hampton recorded 66 of the 76-yard scoring drive, crescendoing with his third-longest run of the season, a 54-yarder up the middle, splitting the Camel defense. With that run, Hampton has crossed the 1,000-yard mark this season and is the fastest UNC running back to do so since 2012.

"[Hampton's] developed confidence and patience, and he’s got the rare combination of power and speed,” Brown said. “On one of the latter drives, he picked up pass protection and picked up a blitzing linebacker. He’s the whole package right now. He’s one of the reasons we’re so good on offense.”

Early in the second, the Campbell offense preyed on a vulnerable defense and marched the ball with a series of bubble screens and punches up the middle to sit in the UNC red zone, but came up empty-handed after missing a 33-yard attempt. 

With under four minutes left in the half the Tar Heels hurried down on four plays with rushes from Hampton, a 16-yard pass completion to J.J. Jones and a 31-yard touchdown pass to Walker in the center of the endzone, stretching the UNC lead. 

Hampton kept up his offensive mojo after the UNC defense forced a Campbell three and out after the two-minute warning and punched in his second TD of the day–his 12th of the season–on a four-yard mega tush push. 

The second half started in the Tar Heels favor, scoring in three plays, and showing what a truly dominant offense can do with Maye at the helm. The drive was all Maye with two competitions to Tychaun “Doc” Chapman and the scoring pass to junior John Copenhaver.

The positive energy carried over to the defensive side of the ball for the Tar Heels, as sophomore Marcus Allen ended what looked like a promising Campbell drive with his first career interception. 

During a Campbell fake punt attempt the Tar Heels foiled the trick play, as senior Cedric Grey muscled through the offensive line and knocked the ball loose into the hands of sophomore Will Hardy at the Camel’s 16-yard line.

“In all honesty my eyes got big,” Grey said. “I was expecting him to punt it and then I saw him dropping back for a pass and thought ‘Alright, just tackle him.’”

Maye was relieved of his signal-calling duties by Harrell during the third quarter after completing his fourth touchdown of the day — a 21-yard reception to Jones. Harrell recorded his first collegiate touchdown on a 61-yard rush with nine minutes left in the fourth. 

Harrell later completed his first passing touchdown to freshman Chris Culliver. The score was Culliver's first catch of his collegiate career.

“Those go routes, (Culliver) reps those all day every day, so we knew it was going to come at some point,” Walker said. 

Both scores increased UNC’s sizeable lead to the tune of 59-7 going into the final minutes of the game.

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The Tar Heels are back in the win column after dropping two games and now look forward to their final home game of the season on Saturday when they host the rival Duke Blue Devils. 

@gracegnugent

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com