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  • Andrew Travers

App State comes up short in hard fought season opener against North Carolina

Chase Brice completed 25 of 36 passes for 361 yards and six touchdowns, Nate Noel ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns, but that wasn’t enough as UNC-Chapel Hill defeated App State 63-61 in the opening game of the 2022 season on Saturday.

Both programs came out firing, trading a pair of touchdowns in the early minutes of the first quarter. App was the first to score off a 52-yard house call for sophomore Nate Noel. On the very next drive, North Carolina’s redshirt freshman quarterback Drake Maye connected with J.J. Jones for a 23-yard touchdown. App would score another touchdown before the quarter ended making 14-7 in favor of the Mountaineers after 15 minutes.

To start the second quarter, App State quarterback Chase Brice completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Christian Wells. This would be the last time App State would score until 12:10 in the fourth quarter when Nate Noel scored his second touchdown of the day. During this scoring drought by the Mountaineers, UNC would score four consecutive touchdowns and two field goals. Two of those touchdowns came on passes by Drake Maye, who finished with four passing touchdowns. North Carolina led App State 41-21 going into the fourth quarter.

When the fourth quarter began, North Carolina came in with a comfortable 20-point lead, but that wouldn’t last long. Nate Noel kicked off the fourth quarter scoring for App State with a touchdown run at 12:10. This was followed by Brice hitting Miller Gibbs for a 13-yard passing touchdown to bring App State’s deficit to only six points. Both schools went on to trade touchdowns and the score was quickly tied at 49 with four minutes left to go.

Finally, after a North Carolina touchdown to make the score 56-49, App responded with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Brice to Deshaun Davis to make the score 56-55. However, instead of electing to kick the extra point, App decided to attempt the two-point conversion and win the game. This proved to be unsuccessful as Brice overthrew his intended target in the end zone.

After an unsuccessful onside kick and another UNC score, App State drove the ball down the field and scored on a 28-yard pass from Brice to Kaedin Robinson with nine seconds left to go in the game. However, their two-point attempt was once again unsuccessful, this time on a quarterback run from Brice. App would attempt another onside kick, which was also unsuccessful and time would ultimately expire on the game.

Saturday’s game saw the largest crowd in the history of Kidd Brewer Stadium, with 40,000 people attending the contest. In their next game, App State will travel to College Station, Texas for a matchup with #6 Texas A&M on September 10th. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM on ESPN 2.

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