CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Another game against Appalachian State meant more anxiety for No. 17 North Carolina, and another exciting ending, this one in overtime.
The Tar Heels posted a 63-61 in last year’s game in Boone, a wild affair that included the Mountaineers scoring 40 fourth-quarter points.
“Stressful, but fun at the same time to go out there and make the plays,” said Maye, who threw for 208 yards as the Tar Heels ended a six-game skid in overtime games.
Omarion Hampton ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns, including the 17-yard run that allowed the North Carolina (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.
The Mountaineers led three different times after halftime.
“We finished when it mattered at the end,” Tar Heels coach Mack Brown said. “They picked themselves back up and went right back to work.”
Appalachian State gained 494 yards in total offense, but couldn’t close out a victory in Chapel Hill like it did in 2019.
“I’m at a loss for words, but I’m very proud of our team,” coach Shawn Clark said. “I’m never going to second-guess anything our players have done. They’re hurting, but we’re Mountaineers, and we’ll bounce back from this, and we’re going to have a good football team this year.”
Hampton, a sophomore, credited his offensive for his career-best performance.
“They were opening up holes,” he said. “If they’re opening holes, I have to hit them. That’s my job.”
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.
“They bring it every time,” Maye said.
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.
North Carolina won a game without a passing touchdown for the first time in eight years.
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 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