CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Drake Maye threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half in his first collegiate start and North Carolina beat undermanned Florida A&M 56-24 to open the season Saturday night.
Six different North Carolina players scored touchdowns, with Josh Downs making two touchdown catches.
Florida A&M arrived with a roster reduced by nearly two dozen players because of unresolved eligibility issues. The list of those absent included linebacker Isaiah Land, who led the Football Championship Subdivision in sacks last year.
Maye, a redshirt freshman and younger brother of former Tar Heels basketball standout Luke Maye, completed 29 of 37 passes for 294 yards.
He had a couple notable achievements. He’s the first North Carolina player to throw five touchdowns in a season opener and the first to connect for five touchdowns in a first career start.
North Carolina running back Omarion Hampton scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 25 yards in his debut. He finished with 101 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Florida A&M quarterback Jeremy Moussa threw for two touchdowns. He completed 28 of 38 passes for 279 yards with an interception.
The Jaguars were within 21-14 until Downs’ 2-yard touchdown catch with 5 seconds left in the first half.
HIS TOWN, FINALLY
Veteran North Carolina coach Mack Brown had never defeated a team from Tallahassee, Florida, until this result. As coach of the Tar Heels, Brown, a Florida State alum, had been 0-8 all-time against Florida State.
This was the first football meeting between Florida A&M and North Carolina.
Brown has 266 career coaching victories.
Florida A&M: The Jaguars couldn’t sustain their good stretches and that could have come in part because of limited players available. They suited up about 50 players. They won’t play another Football Bowl Subdivision team this year, so repeating the success of a nine-win season from last year appears possible.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels will be happy with what they saw from members of their young offensive backfield. They won’t be so fond of the defense giving up 279 passing yards, with 273 of those coming across the first three quarters.
Florida A&M: The Jaguars play Jackson State in Miami on Sept. 4.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels play at Appalachian State on Saturday.
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