ATLANTA (AP) — Drake Maye passed for two touchdowns, Omarion Hampton ran for a pair of scores and North Carolina escaped another upset bid from a Sun Belt Conference team Saturday, rallying for a 35-28 victory over Georgia State after squandering an 18-point lead.

The Tar Heels (3-0) were coming off a wild 63-61 victory at Appalachian State despite giving up a staggering 40 points in the fourth quarter.

They hit the road again to face Georgia State (0-2), which was hosting a Power 5 team in Atlanta for the first time in the 13-year history of its program.

The Panthers ripped off 25 straight points to grab a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter.

But Hampton broke off a 58-yard touchdown run right down the middle of field to tie the game before the end of the third.

He won it for the Tar Heels on a 2-yard scoring plunge with 10:42 remaining, ensuring they escaped another close call. Hampton finished with 110 yards rushing on 16 carries.

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Darren Grainger threw three touchdown passes for Georgia State.

North Carolina appeared headed for a more comfortable win after the previous week’s craziness, building a 21-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

Maye threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Kamari Morales and a 28-yarder to Kobe Paysour.

But Grainger led a Georgia State comeback. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Kris Byrd, a 49-yarder to Robert Lewis, and another to Lewis covering 29 yards to cap a 10-play, 98-yard drive that put the Panthers up 28-21 late in the third quarter — their first lead of the game.

But North Carolina’s offense finally got going again, sparked by Hampton’s long run.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Another sloppy performance that doesn’t bide well for the Tar Heels over the long haul. Three turnovers gave the Panthers a chance, and the defense still had plenty of work to do after giving up 419 yards. But Maye, despite his first interception of the season, turned in another stellar performance by completing 19 of 24 for 284 yards.

Georgia State: The Panthers turned in an impressive effort, but their bid to beat a Power 5 team for only the second time in school history came up short. They dropped to 1-14 against the nation’s biggest programs.

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UP NEXT

North Carolina: Return home to face No. 8 Notre Dame in their final nonconference game before getting to the ACC portion of their schedule

Georgia State: Host Charlotte in the second of three straight games at Center Parc Stadium — formerly known as Turner Field.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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