If you missed yesterday afternoon’s game between UNC and App State, I’m both sorry and jealous that you missed it. The whole game felt like the American Eagle roller coaster at Six Flags Great America: there are some fun moments, but also the ride was extremely wobbly/shaky and I came away with a headache. Without a doubt, the Tar Heel offense was the highlight of the game, but trying to celebrate 63 points when the other team scored 61 is a unique challenge.
Let’s go ahead and dive into the three things we learned from this game.
Drake Maye is the real deal
Last week Drake Maye put on quite a performance against FAMU but to be perfectly honest there was still a part of me that wondered how real it was and how real it was because FAMU lost so much of players. You’d have to think that a game on the road against a team that would love nothing more than to send the Heels home crying on the bus would tell us all we need to know about Maye, wouldn’t it? ? Well, if so, what we’ve learned is really, really good.
Drake Maye was unstoppable against the Mountaineers and finished the day completing 24 of 36 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown, showing just how versatile he is as a quarterback. Much like the game against FAMU, Maye threw the ball to many receivers and four different players caught touchdown passes which he delivered. While there were some obvious low points in yesterday’s win, it’s definitely exciting to see Sam Howell’s replacement is a star in the making, and it will be very difficult for the Heels to be truly out. of a game with Luke’s younger brother under center.
The defense is bad and it should feel bad
As good as Drake Maye and Carolina’s offense were yesterday, the defense made sure to keep things interesting by giving up 664 yards (!!!) and 61 points. What’s worse is that 40 of those points came in the fourth quarter, and if it hadn’t been for a reversed pass on a two-point conversion or Chase Brice failing to convert with his feet, we’d probably spend this entire article yelling at bad tackles and bad penalties. By the way, the Heels gave up 115 penalty yards, just in case the total yards they gave up weren’t enough. Needless to say there is still a lot of work to do with the defense but the question is how much will change as the season progresses?
The easy target trying to figure out what was wrong is the secondary — Chase Brice ripped them for 361 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception. However, the first tier defense wasn’t any better either, as they gave up 288 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It’s really disheartening that the return of Gene Chizik gave us the exact same defensive performance we would have expected from Jay Bateman, but it also tells us there’s more going on with this group than who’s calling the games. Do what you want with it, but all I know is this: something has to change, or Notre Dame will roll the Heels when they come to Chapel Hill.
The big running back problem
Last week’s game against FAMU raised questions about whether or not we would see a different running back excel each week. Omarion Hampton, George Pettaway and Caleb Hood were quite the three-headed monster, but it was Hood’s turn yesterday to be the star of the show. He ran the ball six times for 87 yards and averaged 14.5 yards per carry. Although he failed to score a touchdown, he played a huge role in Carolina’s monster offensive performance.
Pettaway and Hampton cooled off a bit from their performances last week as they finished with 51 total rushing yards, but they each found the end zone once. We’ve seen Carolina offenses in previous years play hot-handed running back, and Hood just so happens to be that guy against the Mountaineers. It should be interesting to see who comes out on top next week against Georgia State, but it’s safe to say the roster of running backs will be really fun to watch this season.