Dec 27, 2023; Charlotte, NC, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Garrett Greene (6) in action during the first half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia’s defense stuffs North Carolina in Mayo Bowl

Lee Kpogba’s 12 tackles led the West Virginia defense as the Mountaineers defeated North Carolina 30-10 in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Wednesday evening in Charlotte, N.C.

The Tar Heels came into the game averaging 36.6 points per contest, good for 16th in the FBS. West Virginia (9-4) sacked North Carolina quarterback Conner Harrell seven times.

WVU quarterback Garrett Greene was 11-of-22 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Mountaineers with 75 yards rushing.

North Carolina (8-5) lost for the fifth time in its past seven games. Harrell was 18-of-27 passing for 199 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Neither team could generate much offense in the third quarter, but UNC’s best drive ended in an interception. Michael Hayes later gave West Virginia a 20-10 lead with a 34-yard field goal with 2:40 left in the quarter.

After forcing a North Carolina punt, the Mountaineers went 78 yards in two plays to open a three-score advantage. Jahiem White ran to the end zone from 11 yards out to give West Virginia a 27-10 lead with 12:48 left in the game. Greene opened the drive with a 48-yard run.

Hayes then connected on a 29-yard field goal to give WVU its final points.

West Virginia jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage. Greene found Traylon Ray behind the secondary and Ray ran untouched to the end zone for a 75-yard TD.

Both teams soon had drives ended by turnovers. Harrell threw an interception in the end zone to stop North Carolina’s second drive. On the Mountaineers’ ensuing possession, DJ Oliver rushed for a first down on third-and-1 and fumbled, with UNC securing the loose ball.

Harrell again moved North Carolina down the field. But a false start on fourth-and-1 at the West Virginia 6-yard line kept the Tar Heels from attempting to punch it in. UNC settled for a 28-yard field goal by Noah Burnette.

Another big play extended the lead for West Virginia. Beanie Bishop Jr. grabbed a line-drive punt on his own 22-yard line and raced up the left sideline before cutting across the field around midfield. He wound up going 78 yards for a score that put the Mountaineers up 14-3.

Harrell found J.J. Jones for a 16-yard touchdown with 27 seconds left in the first half to draw UNC within 14-10, but Hayes kicked a 30-yard field goal on the final play of the period to send WVU into the locker room with a 17-10 lead.

–Field Level Media

Dec 30, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Juju McDowell (21) runs for a touchdown as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Cedric Gray (33) defensive back Tony Grimes (20) defend in the second quarter during the 2021 Duke's Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jaheim Bell, South Carolina jolt North Carolina in Mayo Bowl

Jaheim Bell caught two touchdown passes and Kevin Harris ran for 182 yards and a score to fuel South Carolina to a 38-21 win over North Carolina in the Mayo Bowl on Thursday at Charlotte, N.C.

It was an ideal way for the Gamecocks (7-6) to finish their season under first-year coach Shane Beamer.

The end of the season was a downer for North Carolina (7-6), much like the beginning. The Tar Heels started the season ranked in the Top 10 nationally.

It likely marked the end of the three-year record-setting college career for North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell. It began with a victory against South Carolina to start the 2019 season in the same stadium.

This time, Howell completed 12 of 20 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown.

Harris pulled off his production on 31 carries. Bell caught five passes for 159 yards.

South Carolina completed its first 10 passes on the way to 242 yards through the air to go with 301 rushing yards. Dakereon Joyner was 9-for-9 for 160 yards.

South Carolina held a 32-13 lead midway through the third quarter.

A double-reverse resulted in Howell’s 37-yard touchdown throw to Garrett Walston with 7:24 to play in the third.

North Carolina’s defense came up with a notable stop despite South Carolina’s 11-play, 77-yard march in the fourth quarter. The Gamecocks settled for Parker White’s 22-yard field goal with 7:44 remaining.

The Tar Heels managed only one first down before punting with less than six minutes left. White’s 33-yard field goal capped the scoring.

Bell made two touchdown catches in the first 7 1/2 minutes as the Gamecocks built a 15-0 lead.

The first TD play covered 69 yards, with Joyner, who had been a receiver, throwing the pass. Zeb Noland hooked up with Bell for a 66-yard play on the next score, followed by punter Kai Kroeger’s two-point conversion pass to Nick Muse.

Trailing 18-0, North Carolina got on the board when British Brooks ran 63 yards for a touchdown. That was the longest touchdown run in the Tar Heels’ bowl history.

North Carolina’s Grayson Atkins kicked two field goals in the last six minutes of the first half. But in between, Juju McDowell sprinted 35 yards for a touchdown, helping the Gamecocks record a 25-13 lead at the break.

–Field Level Media

Dec 30, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Jack Dunn (16) is tackled on a punt return by Wake Forest Demon Deacons wide receiver Ke'Shawn Williams (81) during second quarter action at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin downs Wake Forest in Mayo Bowl

Quarterback Graham Mertz scored two of Wisconsin’s five rushing touchdowns and also threw for a score as the Badgers defeated Wake Forest 42-28 in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

Wisconsin (4-3), which completed the season with back-to-back victories following a three-game skid, won despite being outgained 518-266. Other than an 11-play drive for their first points, the Badgers never had a scoring possession last more than five plays.

After a fast start, Wake Forest (4-5) fizzled under an avalanche of mistakes. Quarterback Sam Hartman was intercepted four times in a 12-pass stretch, though he threw three touchdown passes to Jaquarii Roberson.

Mertz was 11 of 17 for 130 yards and an interception in the air.

Hartman, who ended up 20-for-37 passing for 318 yards before Michael Kern took over at quarterback, threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to Roberson, covering 4 and 18 yards. But the 14-0 lead vanished in the second quarter. The Badgers scored on John Chenal’s 2-yard run before using a blocked punt prior to Mertz’s 1-yard run with 3:21 remaining in the first half, with that scoring possession needing just 9 yards.

After Hartman’s 8-yard TD pass to Roberson opened the second-half scoring, Wisconsin rattled off four touchdowns in a span of more than 14-minutes.

Mertz ran 1 yard for a touchdown and then finished the third-quarter scoring with a 14-yard pass play to Mason Stokke.

Garrett Groshek and Jalen Berger each had 1-yard scoring runs in the fourth quarter — the first of those following Scott Nelson’s interception return (on Hartman’s fourth-down pass) to the Wake Forest 2-yard line and the latter coming after Collin Wilder’s interception and 72-yard return set up the Badgers at the Wake Forest 3.

Wake Forest’s Christian Beal-Smith scored on a 1-yard run with six seconds left. He finished with 82 rushing yards on 21 carries. Roberson had 131 receiving yards on eight catches and teammate Donavon Greene posted 122 receiving yards with six receptions.

Wisconsin was making the first appearance for a Big Ten school in Charlotte’s bowl. This marked its first meeting anywhere against the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest, which played in only its second game since mid-November, finished the season on a three-game losing streak following a four-game winning string.

The Demon Deacons are 2-1 in bowl outings in Charlotte.

–Field Level Media