Maye gets on track, No. 20 UNC tops Minnesota

UNC defensive back Armani Chatham intercepts a pass during the Tar Heels’ 31-13 win Saturday over Minnesota in Chapel Hill. (Gene Galin / For North State Journal)

CHAPEL HILL — Drake Maye threw for a season-high 414 yards to go with two touchdowns, Nate McCollum flirted with a single-game UNC receiving record and No. 20 North Carolina pushed past Minnesota 31-13 on Saturday.

Maye overcame two interceptions and ultimately provided the only reliable source of offense for the Tar Heels (3-0), who were unable to run the ball against one of nation’s top defenses.

“He is so confident and he never changes his demeanor on the field at all,” UNC coach Mack Brown said of Maye. “He just continued to play. He’s really hard on himself. … But what a great performance by him time and time and time again.”

McCollum, in his first year at UNC after transferring from Georgia Tech, had missed the season opener with an injury and had just one catch in his debut last week. But he was the clear top target on Saturday, going for 15 catches and 165 yards with a 46-yard contested scoring catch in the first quarter.

He ended up falling one catch shy of tying the Tar Heels’ single-game record.

Omarion Hampton and British Brooks each ran for short TDs, with Brooks’ 1-yard punch-in clinching this one by pushing UNC to a 31-13 lead at the 5-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

Darius Taylor ran for 138 yards and a touchdown shortly before halftime to lead Minnesota (2-1), but the Gophers generated little else beyond the dynamic running from the true freshman. Athan Kaliakmanis threw for just 133 yards on 11-for-29 passing, and that played a big role in Minnesota converting just 3 of 12 third downs.

“I feel like everybody showed up but me, honestly,” Kaliakmanis said.

The Tar Heels open Atlantic Coast Conference play by visiting Pittsburgh next Saturday night.