CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Drake Maye’s 13-yard run in the second overtime helped rescue No. 17 North Carolina and the Tar Heels’ defense made it hold up in a 40-34 win overtime Appalachian State on Saturday.
Omarion Hampton ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns, including the 17-yard run that allowed the Tar Heels (2-0) to pull even in the first overtime.
Nate Noel ran 7 yards for a touchdown on the first overtime possession for Appalachian State (1-1), finishing with 127 yards on 26 carries.
Ryan Coe kicked two field goals for North Carolina, but he missed from 39 yards away on the last play of regulation.
Hampton’s second scoring run came from 7 yards out with 9:19 remaining and wiped out a brief Appalachian State lead. The Mountaineers’ Michael Hughes kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1:22 left in regulation to tie the game.
Maye threw for 208 yards on 21-for-30 passing as the Tar Heels ended a six-game skid in overtime games.
Mountaineers quarterback Joey Aguilar was 22-for-43 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Hampton carried 26 times as part of the Tar Heels’ 319-yard ground attack. His workload came in part because British Brooks, who gained 103 yards a week earlier against South Carolina, was out with an injury.
Aguilar played in relief a week earlier in a home win over Gardner-Webb. First-string quarterback Ryan Burger could miss a month with a hand injury.
Appalachian State has played eight consecutive games decided by seven points or less against Power 5 opponents. The Mountaineers are 3-5 in those games.
Hampton, who had 126 rushing yards in the first half, became the first Tar Heel to rush for 100 or more yards in consecutive home openers since Ethan Horton in the early 1980s.
North Carolina safety Don Chapman intercepted a third-quarter pass for his first pickoff since 2020.
Meanwhile, North Carolina played consecutive overtime games at home for the first time. The Tar Heels ended the 2022 regular season with a loss to North Carolina State.
Tez Walker, a North Carolina receiver who has been denied a waiver for immediate eligibility from the NCAA, was an honorary captain for the Tar Heels during the pregame coin toss. The final decision on the former Kent State receiver’s eligibility was rendered Thursday, drawing a harsh response from North Carolina coach Mack Brown.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers produced more in the passing attack than North Carolina, but they ended up just short against the Tar Heels for the second year in a row.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels needed key second-half offensive plays to avoid the upset. They scored on four of five possessions after halftime and both in overtime.
North Carolina should hold steady after the close encounter at home against the only in-state opponent on the schedule until facing three more in November.
Appalachian State: Home Saturday vs. East Carolina
North Carolina: Home Saturday vs. Minnesota