Maye’s 5 TDs lead No. 21 North Carolina to 42-24 win vs Pitt

Oct 29, 2022, 9:19 AM | Updated: 10:44 pm
North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass against Pittsburgh during the first half o...

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

              North Carolina wide receiver Antoine Green (3) hauls in a touchdown pass against Pittsburgh defensive back A.J. Woods (25) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda (2) breaks away from North Carolina defensive back Giovanni Biggers (27) and defensive lineman Kevin Hester Jr. (98) en route to a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda (2) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Karter Johnson (8) while North Carolina defensive lineman Desmond Evans (10) walks away during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina defensive lineman Desmond Evans (10) grabs the facemask of Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda (2) as he goes into the endzone for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Evans was called for a penalty on the play. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Pittsburgh wide receiver Jared Wayne (5) hauls in a long pass against North Carolina defensive back Storm Duck (3) to set up a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Pittsburgh quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) passes against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs (11) pulls in a pass for a touchdown against Pittsburgh defensive back Erick Hallett II (31) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina head coach Mack Brown calls to his players as a play is reviewed during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs (11) falls to the turf after making a reception for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi yells at the officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Young North Carolina fans cheer the team on against Pittsburgh during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              Pittsburgh linebacker Shayne Simon (32) and North Carolina tight end Kamari Morales (88) react after North Carolina scored a touchdown during the seocnd half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) tries to outrun Pittsburgh linebacker Bangally Kamara (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina wide receiver Antoine Green (3) pulls in a pass for a touchdown as he is defended by Pittsburgh defensive back A.J. Woods (25) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
            
              North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Drake Maye threw for five touchdowns and Antoine Green had a career night with 180 yards receiving as No. 21 North Carolina overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half to defeat Pittsburgh 42-24 on Saturday.

UNC (7-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is 4-0 in league play for the first time since going 8-0 in 2015. Green, a fifth-year senior, hauled in a pair of touchdowns and set career highs in yards receiving and receptions (10).

The loss was Pitt’s second straight, and the Panthers (4-4, 1-3 ACC) are 1-3 in their last four games after starting 3-1.

UNC went down 24-14 early in the third quarter on the third touchdown of the night by Pitt running back Israel Abanikanda before scoring 28 unanswered points.

“I think that’s the toughest game that we’ve had, the most physical game that we’ve won since we’ve been here in 3 1/2 years,” Tar Heels coach Mack Brown said.

North Carolina took its first lead on a 2-yard run by Elijah Green less than a minute into the fourth. On the ensuing Pitt drive, Abanikanda lost a fumble at midfield and the Tar Heels capitalized with a 25-yard touchdown reception by Josh Downs a few plays later to take a two-score lead they didn’t relinquish.

Pitt wideout Jared Wayne had a career-best 161 yards receiving as the Panthers relied on big pass plays to power their strong start. But after going up by 10 on its first drive of the second half, Pitt gained only 60 yards on its final four possessions.

“The fourth quarter wasn’t good enough,” coach Pat Narduzzi said. “We turned the ball over again in the fourth quarter, which started the tumble. It seems like every week we’ve got one of those.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Pitt: The Panthers’ game plan looked like a winning formula for the first half and early on in the third quarter before falling apart. Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis nearly matched his total from last week’s loss at Louisville in the first half alone with 157 yards passing. But those big plays were nowhere to be found for much of the second half. On the other side of the ball, Pitt’s defense wore down against Maye and the Tar Heels.

North Carolina: Maye (34 completions for 388 yards) was efficient again, and the wideout duo of Greene and Downs showed that opposing teams have to account for multiple weapons in UNC’s passing game.

While Green enjoyed a career night, Downs also caught a pair of touchdown passes and finished with 102 yards receiving, his third 100-yard outing of the year.

“Just down in the locker room we were talking about it,” Green said. “He was like, ‘You’re helping me out,’ and I was like, ‘We brothers.’ You know what it is.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Having entered the AP Top 25 on Oct. 16, the Tar Heels could potentially be the second highest-ranked ACC team when the new poll comes out on Sunday following No. 10 Wake Forest’s 27-point loss to Louisville and No. 16 Syracuse’s 17-point loss to Notre Dame.

COASTAL SEPARATION

Midway through their conference slate, the Tar Heels have created some separation atop the Coastal Division. UNC has a two-game lead over Duke and Miami, both teams the Tar Heels hold head-to-head tiebreakers over.

ON A ROLL

Abanikanda entered Saturday tied for the national lead in rushing touchdowns and once again impressed with three scores and 127 yards on 26 carries.

The junior running back’s performance marked the third time he’s scored three touchdowns or more and the sixth time he’s rushed for 100-plus yards.

UP NEXT

Pitt: The Panthers return home next Saturday to host No. 16 Syracuse.

UNC: The Tar Heels begin a two-game road swing Saturday at Virginia.

___

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Maye’s 5 TDs lead No. 21 North Carolina to 42-24 win vs Pitt