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GAMEDAY College Football

North Carolina 41, Virginia Tech 10

By BRENNAN DOHERTY
Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Drake Maye threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more to continue his strong start to the season and North Carolina opened up Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 41-10 victory over Virginia Tech.

Maye, a redshirt freshman, was able to consistently throw downfield, with 13 of his 26 completions going for at least 15 yards. He finished with 363 yards, going 26 of 36.

"Drake continues to do some amazing things," UNC coach Mack Brown said. "Standing in the pocket or moving and finding the open guy, he's a special player."

Josh Downs led UNC (4-1, 1-0 ACC) with eight catches and 120 yards, and tight end Bryson Nesbit added 98 receiving yards on four receptions.

Grant Wells completed 16 of 26 passes for 139 yards and ran for a touchdown, but the Hokies (2-3, 1-1) struggled overall against a Tar Heel defense that turned in its best performance of the season.

Linebacker Cedric Gray picked off Wells in the second quarter, which set up a 16-yard touchdown pass by Maye to Antoine Green one play later to give UNC a 21-3 lead, and the Hokies never never got closer than 11 points.

The Tar Heels gave up nearly 500 yards per game in their first four contests, but UNC limited the number of big gainers by Virginia Tech. Wells never got in an extended rhythm, as the Hokies finished with only 273 yards and only had 92 in the second half.

TARGETING TIGHT ENDS

Part of UNC's success in the passing game can be attributed to Maye having myriad options to throw to. As has been the case earlier in the year, UNC once again utilized its tight ends frequently in the passing game. Each of Nesbitt's four receptions went for at least 18 yards, and Kamari Morales and John Copnehaver combined for five receptions, 64 yards and a touchdown. On the season, the trio of Nesbitt, Morales and Copenhaver has 33 receptions and five touchdowns.

VIRGINIA TECH OFFENSIVE WOES CONTINUE

For the second straight game, Virginia Tech was held to 10 points. The Hokies scored on two of their five first-half possessions but punted five straight times to start the second half. Outside of a 34-yard reception by Kaleb Smith and a 25-yard run by Keshawn King, Virginia Tech provided no big-play threats. "We dropped too many balls and misfired on some," Virginia Tech first-year coach Brent Pry said. "We've got to create more opportunities for explosive plays."

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia Tech: For the first time this year, Virginia Tech's defense, which ranked 10th nationally in yards allowed per game, looked vulnerable from start to finish, allowing UNC to record 527 yards of offense. That's not good news for Pry's team as it prepares to face ranked opponents in two of its next three games.

"I told them we're closer than they realize," Pry said of his message to his players. "I'm watching them and there are just some 100-level things that we're not doing that we do in practice. We just feel like we've got to do more out there."

North Carolina: Maye continues to look more assured than most first-year starters, and UNC's offense has hardly skipped a beat so far without Sam Howell, now in the NFL. But as impressive as Maye was, Brown might be most encouraged by his defense matching the offense's big day.

"That's what I've been seeing in practice," Brown said of his defense's performance.


Scoring Summary
First Quarter VaTechUNC
VaTech FG 9:19 William Ross 34 yd FG 3 0
UNC TD 4:37 Kamari Morales 3 yd pass from Drake Maye (Noah Burnette kick) 3 7
Second Quarter VaTechUNC
UNC TD 12:37 Drake Maye 1 yd run (Noah Burnette kick) 3 14
UNC TD 10:28 Antoine Green 16 yd pass from Drake Maye (Noah Burnette kick) 3 21
VaTech TD 0:28 Grant Wells 2 yd run (William Ross kick) 10 21
UNC FG 0:00 Noah Burnette 44 yd FG 10 24
Third Quarter VaTechUNC
UNC TD 7:45 Drake Maye 2 yd run (Noah Burnette kick) 10 31
UNC FG 3:50 Noah Burnette 21 yd FG 10 34
UNC TD 0:29 Bryson Nesbit 25 yd pass from Drake Maye (Noah Burnette kick) 10 41
Team Stats
  Virginia Tech North Carolina
First downs 14 24
  Rushing 7 7
  Passing 7 17
  Penalty 0 0
3rd Down Efficiency 8-18, 44% 6-15, 40%
4th down efficiency 1-2, 50% 3-3, 100%
Rushes-Yards 35-99 32-160
Passing Yards 174 367
Return Yards 45 33
Completions-Attempts-Int 20-35-1 27-41-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2--9 0-0
Punts 7 4
Punts-Average 42.4 33.8
Fumbles Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties - Yards 3-22 4-25
Time of Possession 31:43 28:17
Virginia Tech Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
G. Wells 16 26 139 0 1
J. Brown 4 9 35 0 0
North Carolina Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Maye 26 36 363 3 0
J. Criswell 1 4 4 0 0
K. Paysour 0 1 0 0 0
Virginia Tech Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
K. King 9 52 5.8 0
C. Black 5 19 3.8 0
G. Wells 6 17 2.8 1
B. Duke 10 16 1.6 0
J. Holston 2 7 3.5 0
D. Lofton 1 -3 -3.0 0
J. Brown 2 -9 -4.5 0
North Carolina Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. Maye 13 73 5.6 2
O. Hampton 8 37 4.6 0
C. Hood 7 32 4.6 0
D. Jones 1 11 11.0 0
G. Pettaway 2 4 2.0 0
J. Criswell 1 3 3.0 0
Virginia Tech Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
K. Smith 3 49 16.3 0
D. Wright 4 31 7.8 0
D. Lofton 3 18 6.0 0
K. King 2 17 8.5 0
J. Jones 2 17 8.5 0
J. Blue 2 16 8.0 0
N. Gallo 2 14 7.0 0
S. Gosnell 1 11 11.0 0
C. Black 1 1 1.0 0
North Carolina Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Downs 8 120 15.0 0
B. Nesbit 4 98 24.5 1
A. Green 4 59 14.8 1
J. Copenhaver 2 35 17.5 0
K. Morales 3 29 9.7 1
O. Hampton 2 7 3.5 0
G. Blackwell 1 7 7.0 0
J. Jones 1 4 4.0 0
K. Paysour 1 4 4.0 0
J. Olson 1 4 4.0 0
Virginia Tech Interceptions
Player Int Yards
North Carolina Interceptions
Player Int Yards
C. Gray 1 17
Virginia Tech Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
P. Moore 7 297 42.4
North Carolina Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
B. Kiernan 3 121 40.3
C. Maynard 1 14 14.0
Virginia Tech Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Harvey 1 5 5.0
North Carolina Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Downs 1 16 16.0
Virginia Tech Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. King 2 40 20.0
North Carolina Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Virginia Tech Missed FG
Player Length
North Carolina Missed FG
Player Length
N. Burnette 39




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