Aug 31, 2023 - Sports

Everything you need to know before North Carolina plays South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Classic

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 29: Drake Maye #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels drops back to pass against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 42-24. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Labor Day weekend means college football is back.

What’s happening: The North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks open their respective seasons in the Duke’s Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 7:30pm. The game will air on ABC.

Why it matters: There’s nothing like a battle between the Carolinas to kick off the season.

Players to watch: It’s homecoming for Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye, who went from being a star at Myers Park High to the 2022 ACC Player of the Year for North Carolina.

  • The Gamecocks will look to quarterback Spencer Rattler to get the job done at the Bank.
Spencer Rattler. Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images

Between the lines: Both universities experienced tragedy in the last week. North Carolina endured a traumatic three-hour lockdown Monday after Zijie Yan, an associate professor in applied physical sciences, was shot and killed.

  • “This is one of our family members, one of our schools in our conference,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips told Axios of the Chapel Hill shooting. “If we can rally around, all of us can rally around Chapel Hill and all those affected, it can help in the grieving process and help in the recovery process.”
  • South Carolina student Nick Donofrio was fatally shot Saturday morning when he attempted to enter the wrong home on the street he lived on. 

Details: Tickets to Saturday’s game start at $70. More than 60,000 tickets have been sold, per the Charlotte Sports Foundation, which puts on the game.

  • The day starts with ESPN’s College GameDay, which will be live from Romare Bearden Park in Uptown. The GameDay pit, where fans can watch the action unfold, opens at 6:30am. The three-hour show airs at 9am. GameDay’s last stop in Charlotte was in 2021 for Clemson vs. Georgia.
  • Fan fest kicks off at noon and will take over Mint Street in front of the stadium with live music, food, drinks and vendors.
  • Gates open to the stadium at 5:30pm.
  • Recording artist and South Carolina alum Darius Rucker will sing the national anthem. There will be a flyover.
Duke's Mayo Classic map
Map courtesy of the Duke’s Mayo Classic

Of note: Several streets will be closed for the game. A couple big ones include:

  • Mint Street will be closed between West Morehead and First streets from 9am on Sept. 1 until 11:30pm on Sept. 2. 
  • Graham Street between MLK Boulevard and Mint Street from 9am on Sept. 1 until 11:30pm on Sept. 2.
  • Find the full list of closures here.

What’s next: NC State will play Tennessee in next year’s Duke’s Mayo Classic on Sept. 7. Future games also include N.C. A&T vs. NC Central on Aug. 28, 2027, and Tennessee vs. West Virginia in 2028 (date TBD).

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