WVU vs. UNC in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl: A Matchup of Offensive Firepower

Updated on December 7, 2023

According to Sports Betting Dime, the following players won’t participate in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl:

North Carolina

  • Andre Greene Jr., WR (Transfer portal)
  • Elijah Green, RB (Transfer portal)
  • George Pettaway, RB (Transfer portal)
  • Jefferson Boaz, QB (Transfer portal)
  • Justin Kanyuk, IOL (Transfer portal)
  • Kamari Morales, TE (Transfer portal)
  • Kedrick Bingley-Jones (Transfer portal)
  • Major Byrd, CB (Transfer portal)
  • Ryan Coe, K (Transfer portal)
  • Tychaun Chapman, WR (Transfer portal)

West Virginia

  • None

As of today it’s also unclear if Drake Maye will play in the bowl game. Most analysts think he will sit out as he’s expected to be a number one draft pick for the NFL in 2024.

The 2023 Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, NC, on December 27, is set to showcase a clash of offensive firepower as the West Virginia Mountaineers (8-4) take on the North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4). Both teams bring unique strengths and weaknesses to the table, making for an exciting and unpredictable matchup.

This game will be WVU’s 40th bowl appearance. It is the 19th bowl game in the past 22 years. It will be the third meeting between the two schools. The Mountaineers beat North Carolina 31-30 in 2008 (Meineke Car Care Bowl), but lost to the Tar Heels in 1996 in the Gator Bowl.

“We are excited to share the selection of West Virginia and North Carolina for this year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl,” said Danny Morrison, executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation.

“We look forward to hosting two great college football programs in West Virginia and North Carolina as they represent the Big 12 and ACC in this year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl,” said Joe Tuza, president of Duke’s Mayo. “We love bringing fans together through one of our favorite southern traditions, college football,” he said. “In addition to what we know will be some great football, we’ll be creating memorable experiences to the teams, devoted fans, and the city of Charlotte at the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, the only bowl with “TWANG”, ” Tuza added.

Both teams should be ecstatic about this matchup and game location. I expect this to be one of the most well attended non-New Year’s bowls. This is an in-state game for UNC and only two hours from Chapel Hill. WVU will travel extremely well to Charlotte as our fan base is spread through the southeast and just a short day’s drive from West Virginia.

Last time WVU played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, Will Grier and company beat Tennessee 40-14 on September 1, 2018. 73,778 fans attended that game.

WVU Mountaineers: An Offensive Juggernaut

The West Virginia Mountaineers has the number one rushing offense in the nation at 234.2 yards per game this season and averaging 31.5 points per game. They are led by quarterback Garrett Greene, who has thrown for over 2,178 yards, 708 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. Greene has a plethora of talented weapons at his disposal, including wide receivers Devin Carter, Kole Taylor, Hudson Clement, Preston Fox and Traylon Ray. At running back, WVU has one of the best tandems of power and speed with C.J. Donaldson and Jaheim White and Garrett Greene. Reminds me of a power trio from 2005 with Pat White, Steve Slaton and Owen Schmidt.

The Mountaineers’ offense also has one of the best and most experienced offensive lines in the country but will have to play the bowl game without their leader, Zach Frazier, due to injury on one of the final plays of the game against Baylor.

WVU’s defense has been suspect at times this season. While they played incredibly well against UCF and BYU, they were blown up by Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The defense was also outplayed in the second half by Baylor, a team they should have dominated, using a backup QB and literally no one in attendance.

UNC Tar Heels: A Balanced Attack

The North Carolina Tar Heels have a more balanced offensive attack than the Mountaineers, averaging 36.5 points per game. They are led by quarterback Drake Maye, who has thrown for 3,608 yards passing, 449 yards rushing, and 33 touchdowns. Maye did have 9 interceptions. Garrett Greene by contrast, only threw four interceptions this season. Maye has a great running back in Omarion Hampton with over 1,400 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns this season.

The Tar Heels’ defense, similar to WVU, has also struggled this season. After an impressive start and a top 10 ranking, UNC went on to lose to 3-9 UVA, then lost to Georgia Tech, Clemson and got absolutely schallacked by NC State down the back stretch of the season losing four of their last six games. In the four fourth quarters, versus Miami, Virginia, at Georgia Tech, and against Duke, UNC has allowed 65 points, 790 yards, and 39 first downs. The defense is led by Cedric Gray with 121 tackles and Alijah Huzzie with 3 interceptions.

The key matchup in this game will be between the WVU offense vs the UNC offense. If the Mountaineers can run the ball and make some critical throws, they will be difficult to stop. However, if the Tar Heels play like they did at the beginning of the season, WVU could be in for a long day.


This game is shaping up to be a close one. WVU has a shaky bowl record at 16-23. I believe that the Mountaineers’ offensive firepower will be too much for the Tar Heels to handle. I predict a high-scoring shoot-out with the Mountaineers winning by a score of 41-34.

The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.