Redshirt freshman Drake Maye continued his torrid start to the season, throwing for 352 yards and combining for five touchdowns as North Carolina outlasted Appalachian State 63-61 on Saturday despite surrendering 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Maye, the younger brother of former Tar Heels basketball star Luke Maye, has thrown a school-record nine touchdown passes in two career starts. He also ran for a score against the Mountaineers.
Chase Brice threw for 376 yards and six touchdowns for Appalachian State (0-1).
The two teams combined for 62 points and 504 yards — in the fourth quarter.
With the game tied at 49, Maye lofted a ball over the middle to D.J. Jones for a 42-yard touchdown pass on an all-out blitz by the Mountaineers to give North Carolina (2-0) the lead with 2:50 left in the game.
App State responded with Brice throwing his fifth TD pass of the game, a 28-yard strike to Deshaun Davis with 31 seconds left. The Mountaineers went for the 2-point conversion — and the apparent win — but Brice’s pass sailed just over Davis’ head.
It seemed the game would end there, but UNC’s Bryson Nesbit returned the ensuing onside kick for a 43-yard touchdown — a mistake that gave the Mountaineers 31 seconds to try to score again. Sure enough, Brice found Kaedin Robinson for a 26-yard TD strike with 9 seconds left to cut the lead to 63-61.
The Mountaineers went for 2 but Brice was stopped short of the end zone.
The Tar Heels fell behind 21-7 before rattling off 34 straight points and silence a record crowd of 40,168 at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Maye threw three TD passes in the first half, including a 10-yard TD strike to Nesbit to give the Tar Heels a 28-21 lead with 1 second left.
Maye made it 28 straight unanswered points for UNC with a 12-yard touchdown run to start the second half, receiving congrats from former Tar Heels and current Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell in the end zone after tiptoeing the sideline.
UNC pushed its lead to 41-21 after two Noah Burnette field goals entering the fourth quarter before the Mountaineers battled back with six touchdowns.
It was the most points ever scored in a UNC game since the school started football in 1888.
DOWNS AND OUT
The Tar Heels played without standout wide receiver Josh Downs, who sat out with a lower body injury.
Downs, arguably the team’s best player, had nine catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns in UNC’s win over Florida A&M and led the ACC with 101 catches last season for 1,335 yards and eight TDs.
North Carolina: New defensive coordinator Gene Chizik has plenty of work to do. His defense gave up 338 yards and 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Appalachian State: Brice had a spectacular game, but the offense stalled in the third quarter. The defense struggled to stop Maye.
(WATCH BELOW: Boone prepares for much-anticipated matchup between App State and UNC)