Bowl season is upon us. WVU and UNC are set to compete in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on Wednesday, December 27th. Both teams finished the regular season with a record of 8-4. Both programs desire to off their season with a victory at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Here are 3 reasons to watch the Duke’s Mayo Bowl
1. The last time these teams met for a bowl game in Charlotte, it was an instant classic
On December 27th, 2008, Pat White led the Mountaineers to a 31-30 victory over the Tar Heels in his final collegiate game. White became the first quarterback to lead a team to four bowl victories.
- White finished the game with 332 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, while rushing for another 55 on the ground
- Hakeem Nicks put on a show for UNC with 8 catches for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns
Exactly 15 years later, the 2023 Duke’s Mayo Bowl has all the makings of what could be a great game. Although both teams have significant pieces missing the game due to opt-outs and injuries, this should be a very entertaining game featuring 2 offenses with some explosive playmakers.
2. Both teams will look to showcase their elite running backs
UNC running back Omarion Hampton has exploded onto the scene during his sophomore campaign. In 2022, Hampton rushed for 400 yards and 6 touchdowns. The 2023 season saw his numbers jump to 1,442 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also had 26 receptions for 215 yards.
Hampton’s skillset is elite. Earlier this month, ESPN listed Hampton as a way-too-early Heisman Trophy contender for 2024. With quarterback Drake Maye opting out of the bowl game, one can anticipate a heavy dose of Omarion Hampton in the running game and catching passes out of the backfield.
CJ Donaldson of WVU will be sidelined for the Duke’s Mayo Bowl due to an injury. Although Donaldson is the team's leading rusher, expect them to still have success running the football. The Mountaineers averaged 234.3 rushing yards per game this season, leading all teams in power 5 conferences.
Freshman All-American team member Jahiem White will get the start at running back for the Mountaineers. White ran for 792 yards on just 97 carries. Those numbers were good for 8.2 yards per attempt on the season. Of all those in the NCAA with at least 80 carries this season, 8.2 yards per attempt landed White #2 nationally behind only Heisman winner Jayden Daniels.
vs Cincinnati: 21 carries | 204 yards | 9.7 yards per carry | 75 yard TD catch
vs Baylor: 17 carries | 133 yards | 7.8 yards per carry | 29 yard TD catch
3. Coach Brown will get a mayo bath after the win
Mack Brown of UNC or Neal Brown of WVU will be on the receiving end of the mayo bath courtesy of Duke’s Mayo. Folks, this is one of the best traditions of the entire bowl season. You do not want to miss it. Coach Brown will happily oblige as it will mean a 9th victory on the season for his team.