North Carolina did a very good job of coming out and controlling the game against Minnesota, en route to the 31-13 victory.

The Tar Heels scored on the very first drive of the game, and never allowed Minnesota to ever threaten after that.

Drake Maye had a big game throwing the ball, as he threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, he did throw 2 more interceptions, bringing his season total to 4.

That is a little alarming, as he has 2 games this year where has has thrown 2 interceptions. Last season, he threw only 7 interceptions the entire year.

Let’s take stock of North Carolina after Week 3.

Player of the Week: WR Nate McCollum

After missing the first game of the year and then only having 1 catch against Appalachian State, it was time for McCollum to have a big game.

He delivered in a big way on Saturday, as he had 15 catches for 165 yards and 1 touchdown.

It started early for McCollum, as he caught a 46-yard pass from Drake Maye to get the scoring started for North Carolina. After that, he was by far the favorite target for Maye, as the next closest Tar Heel player in catches was Bryson Nesbit with 4 catches.

Maye lost his go-to target from last season in Josh Downs, but the Georgia Tech transfer appears ready to emerge as that guy. McCollum had 60 catches last year for the Yellow Jackets.

Freshman/Newcomer of the Week: DB Armani Chatman

While McCollum definitely could have fallen into this category, let’s give it to another ACC transfer, Armani Chatman. The former Virginia Tech player made his presence felt, getting his first interception as a North Carolina player.

At 6-foot-0, 205 pounds, he is a very strong and physical cornerback who can make plays in the rush game as well as in the passing game.

Biggest surprise: Maye’s interception increase

Maye is one of the very quarterbacks in the country, with many experts thinking he may be the second-best behind Caleb Williams.

While he is playing well and the team hasn’t been hurt by them, the fact he has thrown 4 interceptions in 3 games is definitely something to keep an eye on.

With ACC play about ready to get rolling, the competition is going to continue to get more difficult. While they haven’t hurt him yet, those interceptions are definitely something that could come back to hurt the Tar Heels in a game.

Biggest concern: Rushing game falters in biggest test yet

Minnesota is consistently a very solid defense, as the Gophers do a very good job of making things tough on offense.

North Carolina had run the ball very well in the first 2 games, but the Tar Heels really struggled on the ground in this game.

The Tar Heels had only 105 rushing yards on 37 carries, which is only 2.8 yards per carry. With teams so focused on stopping Maye, there will be opportunities to have advantages in the box. However, if they aren’t able to capitalize, it will be tougher for Maye to throw the ball.

Developing trend: Defense through 3 games better than last year

The Tar Heels wanted to be better defensively this year, and through 3 games, they have shown they are taking some steps toward being better.

Is this an elite defense and one of the best in the country? No, it is not that type of defense. However, with the offense North Carolina has, as long as the Tar Heels can get off the field on 3rd downs and force a few turnovers, they will be in a lot of games.

Against Minnesota, the Tar Heels allowed the Gophers to convert only 3-of-12 3rd downs, while forcing 2 turnovers. Those are the exact type of numbers North Carolina needs because it means Maye and the offense are on the field more.

Key Stat: 12-of-17 on 3rd downs

North Carolina has been absolutely fantastic on converting 3rd downs this year. In the first 2 games, the team was 8-of-13 on 3rd in each of those games. They were even better on Saturday, going a ridiculous 12-of-17.

On the year, North Carolina is 28-of-43 on 3rd downs. If that sounds good, it absolutely is. At 65.1% on 3rd downs, the Tar Heels rank 2nd in all of college football in 3rd down percentage. Only Oklahoma has converted a higher percentage (25-of-37, 67.6%).

With the defense-stopping teams on those 3rd downs and the offense converting at such a high rate, this is going to make North Carolina very difficult to beat.

First impression about Week 4

The Tar Heels will be opening up ACC play next Saturday as they take on the Pittsburgh Panthers. This is a great opportunity for North Carolina to get ACC play started on the right track as Pittsburgh enters this game really struggling.

The Panthers are 1-2 and are coming off a 17-6 loss to West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl. Pittsburgh has been able to only muster 27 points in the last 2 games and is going to have to be able to score a good amount to stay in the game against North Carolina.