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Holiday Bowl: No. 15 Oregon beats UNC on Bo Nix’s last-minute TD

Dec 28, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Andre Greene Jr. (1) catches a touchdown pass while defended by Oregon Ducks defensive back Dontae Manning (8) during the first quarter of the 2022 Holiday Bowl at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Chase Cota with 19 seconds left and Camden Lewis’ point-attempt went through despite hitting the upright as No. 15 Oregon rallied for a 28-27 victory over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night in San Diego.

Bucky Irving rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (10-3). Nix was 23-of-30 passing for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Troy Franklin caught the other scoring pass for Oregon.

Drake Maye completed 18 of 35 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns, while Power Echols had an interception for North Carolina (9-5). Kobe Paysour had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown and Andre Greene Jr. and Bryson Nesbit also had scoring grabs for the Tar Heels.

The Ducks trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter before staging the comeback in the final seven minutes in the first football game played at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

First, Nix connected with Franklin on a 6-yard scoring pass to bring the Ducks within 24-21 with 6:58 left.

Noah Burnette booted a 44-yard field goal to give the Tar Heels a six-point lead with 2:29 remaining.

Nix then guided Oregon on an eight-play, 79-yard drive and hit Cota on fourth down for the score. The point-after attempt by Lewis hit the left upright and went through the goal posts for the one-point lead.

North Carolina had one last possession and made it into Ducks territory. But Maye’s Hail Mary pass from the Oregon 41-yard line fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired.

Maye threw three touchdown passes in the first half to lead the Tar Heels to a 21-14 halftime lead.

Oregon struck first on Irving’s 2-yard scoring run less than four minutes into the contest. The Tar Heels knotted the score when Maye connected with Greene on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 4:37 remaining in the quarter.

Irving broke loose on a 66-yard scamper to give the Ducks a 14-7 advantage with 9:13 left in the half. North Carolina tied the score on Maye’s 14-yard pass to Nesbit with 4:34 remaining.

Echols made a key interception with 35 seconds left in the half on a play in which Nix’s pass intended for Terrance Ferguson hit the back of the leg of North Carolina’s Cedric Gray and the toe of Echols before the latter collected it and returned it 40 yards to the Oregon 49. Maye connected with Paysour on the next play for a touchdown and the seven-point lead.

The second half was scoreless until Burnette kicked a 19-yard field goal with 9:13 remaining to give the Tar Heels a 24-14 lead.

–Field Level Media