The beginning certainly wasn’t pretty, but UNC found their stride in the second quarter on their way to a 41-24 win on the road against Pittsburgh. The 21-point quarter for the Tar Heels gave them some much-needed breathing room after looking all kinds of out of sorts when Pitt marched down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive.
Drake Maye battled for 296 yards, one passing touchdown, two rushing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Pitt sacked him five times, including an early hit that drew a roughing the passer flag. A lot of the yardage was picked up on absolute bombs from Maye to his receivers down field with JJ Jones leading the way with 117 yards receiving. Kobe Paysour was the recipient of Maye’s only throwing touchdown. Omarion Hampton found the end zone on the lone rushing touchdown that wasn’t from Maye, and his 66 yards really exemplify how little the ground game was able to get going all game.
An unlikely star of the game for the Tar Heels was Alijah Huzzie. Huzzie took a 52-yard punt to the house for a touchdown that gave UNC their first lead of the game in the second half. He also had two picks to seal his night. It seemed like wherever the Heels needed him to be at any given moment he was there.
While Pitt came out of the gate swinging, they harmed themselves with some silly penalties that cost them 83 yards. Their quarterback, Phil Jurkovec, missed the second half after a hard hit that was ruled targeting at the end of the first half. His replacement, Christian Veilleux, looked extremely uncomfortable when asked to actually throw the ball. Rodney Hammond Jr. tried his best to make up for that with 83 yards on the ground, but it was ultimately not enough.
The game certainly wasn’t pretty, but these games between UNC and Pitt really never are. Carolina found a way to win without having their best stuff, and they managed to finally get the 4-0 boogeyman off their back by reaching the mark for the first time since Mack’s final season in Chapel Hill the first time back in 1997.
UNC has a bye next week before welcoming Syracuse to Chapel Hill on October 7th.