Postseason spread: UNC matches up against South Carolina for Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte

·3 min read
North Carolina defenders, including defensive lineman Ray Vohasek, back left, linebacker Cedric Gray, left, and defensive end Tomari Fox, right, celebrate with linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, middle, after Gemmel’s interception during the Tar Heels’ overtime loss last month at Pittsburgh.
North Carolina defenders, including defensive lineman Ray Vohasek, back left, linebacker Cedric Gray, left, and defensive end Tomari Fox, right, celebrate with linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, middle, after Gemmel’s interception during the Tar Heels’ overtime loss last month at Pittsburgh.

North Carolina will stay close to home to conclude its college football season and face South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, and thus make its fifth appearance in Charlotte’s event on the bowl circuit.

The teams will meet at Bank of America Stadium at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 30, a Thursday game. The matchup between the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference programs was announced Sunday.

The Tar Heels, under veteran coach Mack Brown, have reached a bowl game for the third year in a row. They went 6-6 overall during the regular season and 3-5 in the ACC, falling short of lofty expectations. North Carolina was picked as the preseason favorite to win the league’s Coastal Division and opened ranked No. 10 nationally, with star quarterback Sam Howell a central figure in the early Heisman Trophy conversation.

South Carolina has put together a 6-6 record (3-5 in the SEC) under first-year coach Shane Beamer, son of legendary former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.

Could it be a full-circle moment for Howell, who grew up just outside of Charlotte in the town of Indian Trail? The first start of Howell’s college career came against South Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, as the Tar Heels won that 2019 season opener 24-20, the first game of Brown’s second stint on the job.

North Carolina football players, including linebacker RaRa Dillworth (11), defensive back Trey Morrison (4), offensive lineman Brian Anderson (68), offensive lineman Jordan Tucker (74) and kicker Grayson Atkins (17), take the field before last month’s victory against Wake Forest.
North Carolina football players, including linebacker RaRa Dillworth (11), defensive back Trey Morrison (4), offensive lineman Brian Anderson (68), offensive lineman Jordan Tucker (74) and kicker Grayson Atkins (17), take the field before last month’s victory against Wake Forest.

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“We’re thrilled that the great people with the Duke’s Mayo Bowl have invited us to participate in their game,” Brown said Sunday in a statement. “It’s one of the best bowl games in the country in one of the nation’s finest cities. It’s perfect for a large portion of our roster because their family and friends will easily be able to attend, and it’s another chance for our young men to play in front of our wonderful fans.

“In addition, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl is renowned for the experiences it provides to its participants. It should be a fun week of events culminating in a fun matchup with South Carolina. We can’t wait to get back to work next week and look forward to having a great time in Charlotte.”

North Carolina is 15-20 all-time in bowl games and 4-3 under Brown in the postseason.

In Charlotte, the Tar Heels lost to Boston College in 2004 in the Continental Tire Bowl, and West Virginia in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. North Carolina defeated Cincinnati in the 2013 Belk Bowl. Duke’s Mayo became the name of the bowl in 2020.

Adam Smith is a sports reporter for the Burlington Times-News and USA TODAY Network. You can reach him by email at asmith@thetimesnews.com or @adam_smithTN on Twitter.

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This article originally appeared on Times-News: UNC football draws South Carolina for Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte

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