Maye, Downs lead No. 17 UNC to 31-28 victory over Virginia

Nov 5, 2022, 12:38 AM | Updated: 2:21 pm

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) throws a pass against the Virginia defense during the fi...

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) throws a pass against the Virginia defense during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Mike Caudill)

(AP Photo/Mike Caudill)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Mack Brown’s second tenure at North Carolina, now in its fourth season, is starting to look more like what he came back hoping to build, which is what he built the first time.

Drake Maye threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and No. 17 North Carolina outscored Virginia 21-7 after halftime to rally for a 31-28 victory Saturday.

Elijah Green scored twice and Josh Downs caught 15 passes, including a touchdown, for the Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 17 CFP), now 5-0 in league play for the first time since 2015, when they qualified for their lone appearance in the ACC championship.

Brown wanted to highlight a different 5-0: the Tar Heels’ record on the road this year.

The last time North Carolina won five straight road games, he said, was in 1997.

“Nobody on that team was even born the last time we won five consecutive games on the road,” Brown said. And last year, they lost all six away from Chapel Hill.

The five wins have come by a total of 18 points.

“We didn’t play well at times today and the guys overcame it. They kept their heads up. They kept a good body language, they kept their confidence, and they just kept playing,” Brown said.

After Virginia went ahead in the third quarter, Brown said Downs approached him on the sideline, tryng to offer the coach the same encouragement he provides to them.

“I went up to him and I just reciprocated the energy,” Downs said. “I said, `Coach, don’t worry, I got you right here.’ I told that same thing to (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phil) Longo. I’m just like, `I got you when you need it.’ “

The Cavaliers (3-6, 1-5), playing without three starting wide receivers, lost for the fifth time in six games and need to win their final three games to qualify for a bowl game.

Elliott praised the players that stepped in for what he called “the big three,” but said: “We talk about competitive stamina a lot, and football comes down to five, six, seven plays, and we didn’t make those plays in the third quarter.”

Virginia started fast, getting a touchdown on its opening drive for the first time this season and led 14-10 at halftime. But Maye led the Tar Heels downfield in just 2:55 to start the third quarter, Green finishing the drive with a 4-yard run. Virginia answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive of its own to retake the lead, but Maye found Downs from 19 yards before the quarter was over and hit Green with a 22-yard pass in the flat with 13:19 left.

Brennan Armstrong pulled Virginia within a field goal with his second scoring run with 3:24 left on a drive that covered 71 yards in just 59 seconds, but Virginia was offsides on the ensuing onside kick, giving UNC the ball at the Cavaliers 23. One more completion to a diving Downs converting a third-and-2 allowed the Tar Heels to run out the clock.

Maye finished 26 for 37 for 293 yards and ran for 74 yards. Downs’ catches went for 166 yards, giving him 23 catches for 369 yards and three TDs in the last two years against Virginia.

“He just continues to amaze me with the things that he does,” Brown said.

Xavier Brown and Ronnie Walker ran for Virginia scores.


North Carolina: Maye has frustrated teams with his prolific passing, but especially frustrated ACC tackles leader Nick Jackson on a second- quarter scramble from the Virginia 5. Rolling right and looking for a receiver, Maye instead found Jackson closing in and reversed course and scrambled all the way accross the field for the touchdown.

Virginia: The Cavaliers tried a surprise punt on a fourth-and-5 play from the Tar Heels’ 32 in the second quarter, but while Armstrong appeared to be trying to kick it out of bounds, it bounced into the end zone for a touchback and a net gain of just 12 yards. North Carolina then drove 80 yards in 13 plays to take a 10-7 lead.


The Tar Heels are back on the road to face No. 20 Wake Forest.

Virginia stays at home for its third of four consecutive home games, taking on Pittsburgh.


More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Maye, Downs lead No. 17 UNC to 31-28 victory over Virginia