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HomeCollegeTar Heels outlast Mountaineers -- again -- 40-36 in double overtime

Tar Heels outlast Mountaineers — again — 40-36 in double overtime

By David Rogers. CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Appalachian State had a lot of answers for heavily favored North Carolina on Sept. 9, but none for Tar Heels running back, Omarion Hampton. The sophomore RB punished the Mountaineers at the line of scrimmage, rambling for 234 rushing yards and three TDs in helping UNC carve out a thrilling, double overtime win, 40-34.

When the Mountaineers’ defense denied the Tar Heels a 4th down conversion in the red zone on their opening offensive possession, it set the tone for yet another UNC-APP rivalry slugfest. In the first of the 3-game series, App State came away from Chapel Hill with a 34-31 win when Akeem Davis-Gaither tipped a UNC field goal with less than five seconds left. In 2022, Chapel Hill visited The Rock and wriggled away with a 63-61 barnburner of a victory.

Nate Noel (5) runs for TD against UNC. Photo courtesy of App State Athletics

In the last game of the series, the Mountaineers did just about everything they could to win the game except stop Hampton — and the Tar Heels braintrust used that to their advantage in the second OT period, using the sophomore RB as a decoy, when QB Drake Maye faked a handoff to Hampton plunging into the middle of the line of scrimmage, leaving Maye to stroll around the left side for a 13-yard TD run.

App State still had a chance to tie the game and send it into extended uncertainty as to an outcome, but came up short vs. the aggressive Tar Heel defense.

That last OT offensive possession was just about the only time over the course of the game that the Mountaineers underperformed. Promoted to starting QB after last week’s stellar leadership in the win over Gardner-Webb and the injury to Ryan Burger, junior transfer Joey Aguilar simply proved that maybe the job should have been his all along. While UNC’s Maye is deservedly ballyhooed as a Heisman Trophy candidate and a future No. 1 NFL Draft choice, Aguilar was every bit as effective as Maye in this one.

Eli Wilson (87) scores TD for App State at UNC. Photo courtesy of App State Athletics

Maye completed 21-of-30 passes for 208 yards, no TDs and no interceptions. Aguilar was 22-of-43 for 275 yards, 2 TDs, and one INT.

Take out Hampton — who UNC head coach Mack Brown said later was poised for a breakout game and, “I’m just glad it was this game.” — and App State was the more likely winner. Toward that end, credit defensive coordinator Scot Sloan and his assistants, as well as the players who executed a masterful defensive scheme to limit Maye & Co.’s production.

Joey Aguilar escapes the clutches of UNC defenders on Sept. 10. Photo courtesy of App State Athletics

But also credit the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator Frank Ponce, along with his unit’s Aguilar-led efficiency, for keeping Maye off the field as much as possible, especially in the first half when the Mountaineers almost doubled the Tar Heels time of possession (18:26 vs. 11:34). By the end, Chapel Hill had narrowed the gap, but App State still controlled the ball 33:39 vs. 26:21 for the Tar Heels. The disparity was enough to harken back to last year’s upset victory over nationally-ranked Texas A&M, when the Mountaineers carved out a 17-14 win while holding onto a 41:29 vs. 18:31 time of possession advantage.

On the receiving end of Aguilar’s passes, Dashaun Davis made an impression with seven catches for 117 yards and one TD. The 6-4 WR Dalton Stroman only caught two of six targets, but they were big ones, including one in the third quarter facing 3rd-and-9, where he used his large frame to wrestle the ball from two UNC defenders for an 18-yard gain to extend the Mountaineer drive.

In all, Aguilar and his receivers manufactured seven big plays making up 161 of his 275 total passing yards.

APP STATE’S BIG PLAY SUMMARY, PASSING

Yards Gained Context/Play
21
1ST QUARTER
Situation: 1st and 10 on ASU14
No Huddle-Shotgun Aguilar,Joey pass complete deep right to Davis,Dashaun for 21 yards to the ASU35 (Allen,Marcus), 1ST DOWN.
34
2ND QUARTER
Situation: 1st and 10 on UNC44
No Huddle-Shotgun Aguilar,Joey pass complete deep right to Davis,Dashaun for 34 yards to the UNC10, End Of Play, 1ST DOWN.
16
3RD QUARTER
Situation: 2nd and 10 on UNC49
No Huddle-Shotgun Aguilar,Joey pass complete short left to Stroman,Dalton for 16 yards to the UNC33 (Chapman,Don; Allen,Marcus), 1ST DOWN.
33
3RD QUARTER
Situation: 1st and 10 on UNC33
No Huddle-Shotgun Aguilar,Joey pass complete deep left to Davis,Dashaun for 33 yards to the UNC00 TOUCHDOWN, clock 12:43, 1ST DOWN.
20
3RD QUARTER
Situation: 3rd and 12 on ASU49
No Huddle-Shotgun Aguilar,Joey pass complete short right to Robinson,Kaedin for 20 yards to the UNC31 (Biggers,Giovanni; Echols,Power), 1ST DOWN.
19
3RD QUARTER
Situation: 4th and 1 on ASU44
No Huddle Aguilar,Joey pass complete short middle to Gibbs,Miller for 19 yards to the UNC37 (Gray,Cedric), 1ST DOWN.
18
3RD QUARTER
Situation: 3rd and 9 on UNC36
No Huddle-Shotgun Aguilar,Joey pass complete short right to Stroman,Dalton for 18 yards to the UNC18 (Allen,Marcus), 1ST DOWN.

Data courtesy of StatBroadcast

While many thought last season’s APP-UNC matchup that saw more than 1,200 yards could not be matched, the 2023 edition of the rivalry came close, at 1,021 (APP 494, UNC 527).

That’s because in addition to the aerial production by both teams, the run production was also prolific. In addition to UNC’s 236 yards rolled up by Hampton as the real difference maker, App State’s Nate Noel had among his best days as a Mountaineer in carrying the ball 26 times for 127 net yards and two touchdowns. Behind an offensive line that opened holes in the line of scrimmage, Noel slashed ahead for big gains of 24 yards (Q1), 15 yards (Q2), 14 yards (Q4) and 12 yards, (Q4), all in critical situations.

In addition to Hampton’s exploits on the UNC side, Maye carried the ball 10 times for 57 yards, including the decisive TD in overtime. Among the UNC receivers with big days were Kobe Paysour (8 catches, 73 yards) and JJ Jones (5 catches, 91 yards).

The Mountaineers will now try and put this heartbreaker behind them, knowing once again they can compete with a nationally ranked, Power 5 adversary. They return home to face East Carolina Sept. 16, with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m., in a sold-out Kidd Brewer Stadium.

App State fans celebrate at UNC-Chapel Hill football game, Sept. 9. Photo courtesy of App State Athletics
SCORING SUMMARY
Team Qtr Clock Score Type Play Drive Score
2 11:10 FG Hughes,Michael 46 yd FG 19/66/08:10 0-3
2 10:43 TD RUSH Hampton,Omarion 68 yd rush 2/75/00:27 7-3
2 07:14 TD PASS Wilson,Eli 5 yd reception thrown by Aguilar,Joey 9/75/03:29 7-10
2 03:05 FG Coe,Ryan 47 yd Field Goal 9/46/04:09 10-10
3 12:43 TD PASS Davis,Dashaun 33 yd reception thrown by Aguilar,Joey 6/75/02:17 10-17
3 08:57 TD RUSH Hood,Caleb 5 yd rush 11/75/03:46 17-17
3 01:25 FG Coe,Ryan 31 yd Field Goal 11/51/05:01 20-17
4 10:44 TD RUSH Noel,Nate 7 yd rush 12/75/05:41 20-24
4 09:19 TD RUSH Hampton,Omarion 7 yd rush 4/75/01:25 27-24
4 01:22 FG Hughes,Michael 33 yd Field Goal 12/69/02:48 27-27
OT 00:00 TD RUSH Noel,Nate 7 yd rush 3/25/00:00 27-34
OT 00:00 TD RUSH Hampton,Omarion 17 yd rush 3/25/00:00 34-34
OT 00:00 TD RUSH Maye,Drake 13 yd rush

 

SELECTED TEAM STATS
  • Total Yards: APP 494, UNC 527
  • Net Rushing: APP 219, UNC 319
  • Net Passing: APP 275, UNC 208
  • First Downs: APP 30, UNC 27
  • Time of Possession: APP 33:39, UNC 26L21
  • Penalties: APP 7-70, UNC 5-60
  • Interceptions By: APP 0, UNC 1
  • 3rd Down Conversions: APP 8/17, UNC 8/13
  • 4th Down Conversions: APP 2/3, UNC 0/1
SELECTED INDIVIDUAL STATS

Passing

  • APP – Joey Aguilar 22-43, 275 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • UNC – Drake Maye 21-30, 208, 0 TDs, 0 INTs

Rushing

  • UNC – Omarion Hampton 26 carries, 234 yards, 3 TDs
  • APP – Nate Noel 26 carries, 127 yards, 2 TDs
  • UNC – Drake Maye 11 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD
  • APP – Joey Aguilar 6 carries, 42 yards,
  • APP – Maquel Haywood 10 carries, 42 yards
  • UNC – Caleb Hood 6 carries, 26 yards, 1 TD

Receiving

  • APP – Dashaun Davis 7 catches, 117 yards, 1 TD
  • UNC – JJ Jones, 5 catches, 91 yards
  • UNC – Kobe Paysour 8 catches, 73 yards
  • APP – Dalton Stroman 2 catches, 34 yards—
  • APP – Kaedin Robinson 2 catches, 33 yards
  • APP – Eli Wilson 2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD
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