Saturday, September 2, 2023

Strong Defensive Effort Lifts North Carolina to Victory

CHARLOTTE – In a game that fans from two states circled on their calendars months in advance, the North Carolina Tar Heels faced off against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. With a strong defensive effort and a balanced offense, the Tar Heels emerged victorious with a final score of 31-17.

The Tar Heels had several standout players during the game. British Brooks had 18 receiving yards and 3 receptions, as well as 103 rushing yards. Drake Maye had 269 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as 25 rushing yards. Kobe Paysour had 66 receiving yards, 7 receptions, and 1 touchdown. John Copenhaver had 52 receiving yards, 3 receptions, and 1 touchdown. Omarion Hampton had 37 rushing yards and scored 2 touchdowns.

In the first half of the game, the Tar Heel defense was able to stop the Gamecocks’ first possession with a three-and-out. The Tar Heels then quickly took control of the game, scoring a touchdown on a one-yard run by Omarion Hampton after a 70-yard drive that took just 3:55. The Gamecocks responded with a 75-yard drive of their own, tying the score at 7-7 with 6:29 left in the first quarter.

As the second quarter progressed, both teams settled into the game. Ryan Coe kicked a 37-yard field goal for the Tar Heels, putting them ahead 10-7 with 7:05 left before halftime. However, the Gamecocks came back strong, scoring a touchdown on a 72-yard drive in just 1:42 to retake the lead at 14-10. The Tar Heels responded with another touchdown drive, led by Drake Maye, who completed all three of his passes for 67 yards and connected with Kobe Paysour on a 34-yard score. This put the Tar Heels back in the lead at 17-14 with 2:50 left before halftime. The UNC defense was also impressive, limiting USC to just five first-half rushing yards.

In the second half, the Tar Heels continued to dominate. Omarion Hampton scored his second rushing touchdown of the night, putting Carolina up by two scores at 24-14 with 11:35 left in the third quarter. Maye then connected with John Copenhaver for an 18-yard touchdown pass, making the score 31-14 Tar Heels with 6:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Despite intercepting two of Maye’s passes in the second half, South Carolina was only able to score a field goal, cutting the lead to 31-17. The Gamecocks made one final push into UNC territory in the fourth quarter but were unable to score and gave up the ball on downs with 3:23 left to play.

North Carolina takes on in-state rival App State next Saturday at Kenan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 5:15 pm.