UNC vs. Appalachian State: Winners, Losers, and Honors

last week, I gave you one Some tips after the Week 0 win over Florida A&M.


Same advice this week.

By its very nature, football leads to overreaction because we only see a team twelve times in the regular season, so it’s hard to see the big picture. After winning a 63-61 win-over App State on Saturday, it’s easy to get caught up in the comedy of mistakes that allowed the Mountaineers to follow Carolina consistently into the fourth quarter. Don’t worry, there’s a portion of this post that will touch on and point out some real concerns for the rest of the year.

But let’s not forget about the actual result – Carolina won. Despite giving up their lead in the fourth quarter…several times…unlike Rally just three games ago, they have held out for a road win in the toughest road environment they will face all season. This is not an exaggeration when you consider the other road games in Atlanta, Miami, Durham, Charlottesville and Winston-Salem. It was widely reported that the App State ticket was the third highest ticket in the country, and they set a Boone record for the crowd that was ready for the biggest opponent to visit their stadium in their history, however Carolina won. The Tar Heels have not won a road match since Miami in 2020, and have not won a road match with a full house (aka pre-pandemic) since November 30, 2019 in Raleigh. So, if you’re wondering why Mac Brown did this…

Now you know.

Take the win, enjoy the mayhem of the Coastal, and know the Tar Heels have another game and a week downtime before they get to know Notre Dame. With that in mind, let’s bask in some glory, roll in the mud, and point out others worth noting this week:


Drake May: It seems like he’s dodged his inclusion because he’s the most obvious person to stand out on Saturday, but any time you go 24-36, 352 yards, and four air touchdowns plus 76 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, you’ll catch eyes. It’s especially eye-catching when this is your second start to the season. It was easy to wonder last week if Maye’s performance was the result of playing an FCS opponent at Chapel Hill, but now it definitely looks like a real deal. Not only did he make passes look easy, he did so with great decision making and pocket poise that would be fitting for someone who is only a novice student. He had two touch passes when he was about to explode completely, and the accuracy was insane:

It is by no means perfect. He has a penchant for taking hits when it should just be a slip, and his fourth-quarter stumble deep in the UNC zone breathed life into the Mountaineers as the 13-point lead became 6 in an instant. He said that… he did this without Josh Downs. If you’re looking for something to be really optimistic about, it’s that eight receivers passes for Carolina on Saturday and none of them was Downs. His absence actually moved the streak from Carolina to App State favor, and with defenses having to take him seriously on his return to the field, Maye showed that this offense has multiple options. The next step would be how he handled a defense with a stronger pressure front than the App State, because the offensive line looked… porous and would surely send future opponents home much more. Either way, it’s clear that Mac made the right choice for beginners.

Phil Longo: See, Tar Heels’ offensive coordinator has taken his block in the past, and one could argue he made the mistake of relying on Sam Howell too much last year. You could also argue that his decision making in the red was… questionable. However, you can’t deny that he’s called for two great offensive tackles this season, putting Maye in the best position to succeed with short passes, running plays at the right times, and making sure the ball is distributed to all available players including the tight ends! Carolina had six and six points in the red on Saturday, between pass and run. Each landing was recorded by a different person. Yes, Maye deserves all the credit he gets, but let’s give the OC the credit for the calls that put him in a great position to succeed and it looks like he took the lessons from last year and applied them to the new quarterback. We’ll see if this is permanent or not as the weeks go by, but two weeks later when you have no real concerns about the crime, you have to take credit for the coordinator.

Cedric Gray: It seems odd to single out someone as a positive element in defense when he put on such a performance, but we have to give credit to Gray who was a beast on the field. Apparently he was the only one App State couldn’t solve, making 13 total tackles, 6 of them alone, and reading the pass perfectly to draw an interception – something the Corners had some issues with. App seemed to make sure last week’s Champion Power Echols wouldn’t hurt them, and Gray snuck in to take that mantle. Before we shred the defense like the app did, let’s make sure he got famous, believe it or not, it could have been worse without his performance.


Dry play: The secondary was burned for 361 yards in the air, but that’s only part of the story. If it wasn’t for how erratic Chase Price was in the first three quarters of the game, he would have easily gone over 400. Go back and look at the movie, and you’ll see multiple passes dropped, long, or just massively misplaced leading Carolina to Leave the men wide open. The only pick Brice threw was to Gray, not to a corner because Tony Grimes wasn’t able to catch a pass over his shoulder – which is tough for anyone, to be fair. All of this means that when the high school is constantly on fire and the defensive coordinator changes, maybe it’s time to look to the coaches to see where they actually are. There seems to be a lot of evidence now that while Bly is a great recruit, his area of ​​​​which he’s supposed to be a coach is actually really flawed. Last season Mac Brown chose his buddies over Jay Bateman, and when his buddies are the ones who recruit well and communication issues are identified, well, you’ll get more of your buddies to fix them. It’s hard to argue with the decision in the transfer portal era, but it’s fair to wonder at this point how much better this group will get under Bly and whether it’s time to move him into a special role and let someone else take over.

Cam Kelly: I did my best not to call the guys by name in this post, because they play the game and I don’t – but at this point, watching Kelly consistently excel is painful. If an App State receiver puts on a big play, chances are you’ll see Kelly get hit or come from behind. This after the signature drop from the loss in a Rally came after…you guessed it…Kelly was defeated. The problem with high school is that there is still a lot of depth to make for someone else’s benefit, and as a senior, it’s legitimate to wonder if that’s the best. Jane Chesick will have to quickly figure out a way to hide it in coverage, whether that’s by increasing the pressure in the front or spinning the secondary around more, but word got out on Kelly. Perhaps now that Chizik saw it with his own eyes he could adapt.

Oh, and the unnecessary coarseness penalty that gave the first application down in the third and 18? yes.

Situational awareness: Look, let’s get this out of the way now: You don’t have to blame a kid for scoring a touchdown. The goal of a soccer game is to score, and in the heat of the moment it’s hard when there’s room for you to let go of your knee. You try to take a moment where you can run to the end zone holding a soccer ball for six years and get past that. Thus, I’m not bothered by DJ Jones and Bryson Nesbit recording them late when the smartest play was to go down and either increase the time or finish the game. Having said that, it is up to the coaches to not make sure these players know the time and position so they back off. Jones could at least be defended, with a guaranteed score that returned Tar Heels back up by 7 rather than risking the app’s ability to call up two of his targets and only get a field goal. However, Nesbitt had to be told before he ran out to “just get the ball and go down, then it’s game over”. If that point isn’t strong enough for him, it’s on the coaches, not the kid. Besides, an eight-point lead 28 seconds before the lead should be safe – except that we all knew the way the defense played wasn’t.

Note that I’m not adding Mack Brown to accept the booking penalty when the app was driving into their territory down 14 with about nine minutes left. Mac had an explanation for this with Jones Angel, saying he had read the analytics, saw that Vanderbilt had declined this penalty to turn the fourth down, and the other team went to get it, got it, and scored. Application was 14 with the clock running, and he was supposed to be in the 45-yard line. It was clearly a “keep it up” scenario where Carolina actually responded to Drake May stumbling by scoring, and the app knew their defense didn’t stop Carolina’s attack. The thing is, he succeeded. Price only rushed for four yards on Days 3 and 18, which would have created a fourth and 14 on Application 39. At this point, they have to think seriously about kicks, and even if they don’t have options on Days 4 and 4 below 4 and 8. The ridiculous belated call on Kelly – As much as you can misrepresent Kelly when you look at the play again, you realize the call was littered with that drive-thru and people were skeptical of Mack’s decision. Make no mistake, it was the right call. He backed up the app, gave them a few options, and had them in a file worst Fourth place down than it could have been, milking the time off the clock. The judges salvaged the application on this engine, and then Carolina’s defense did the rest.

Honorable Mention

Running is still a source of strength for Carolina, like Caleb Hood He led all the dash thanks to the 71-yard dash, George Petaway He only had 36 but cashed it once and also grabbed the ball for 12 yards, and during that DJ Jones Likely to continue lower on the depth chart in terms of men getting deliveries, he grabbed Drake Maye’s pass while shining in a jailbreak attack to put Carolina late again. The problem with having all this talent is that you have to take a Hot Hand approach, which can force players to over-commit, and we’ll see if one stands out to narrow the field…Kobe Bayzor It sure filled in pretty well for Josh Downs, didn’t it? The freshman in the red jersey drove all receivers with a 92-yard capture, and did so in 8 catching and net landings, relieving significant anxiety while entering the game. It takes pressure on Downs to rush his return, which means he has the luxury of sitting next week and then taking a farewell week to head back to Notre Dame…Noah Burnett It certainly seems like something you don’t see these days – a trusted college player. The Redshirt’s sophomore is perfect in his kicks so far, and on Saturday they were both over 40 yards out, and both could have been good from 50.

Next up for Tar Heels: Georgia State in Atlanta at converted Turner Field, noon Saturday. The Panthers gave South Carolina a game, losing only 35-14 at Columbia, so 3-0 was not guaranteed.