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Bo Nix, Oregon rally past North Carolina in Holiday Bowl

Oregon running back Noah Whittington tries to break the tackle of North Carolina defensive back Lejond Cavazos during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye throws a pass during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina’s Power Echols forces an incomplete pass intended for Oregon’s Chase Cota during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Terrance Ferguson eludes the tackle of North Carolina’s Will Hardy (31) and DeAndre Boykins during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon running back Bucky Irving, left, is congratulated by Steven Jones (74) after running for a touchdown during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon running back Bucky Irving, left, is congratulated by offensive lineman Alex Forsyth (78) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye throws a pass during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina wide receiver Andre Greene Jr., right, makes a touchdown catch over Oregon defensive back Christian Gonzalez, center, and Oregon linebacker Jabril McNeill during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina’s Andre Greene Jr. catches a touchdown pass over Oregon’s Dontae Manning (8) and Trikweze Bridges during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix throws a pass during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon’s Bucky Irving eludes the tackle of North Carolina’s Marcus Allen during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Bucky Irving eludes North Carolina’s Marcus Allen as he runs with the ball during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye runs with the ball during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Bennett Williams breaks up a pass intended for North Carolina’s Kobe Paysour during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Bennett Williams breaks up a pass intended for North Carolina’s Kobe Paysour during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina coach Mack Brown watches from the sidelines during the second half of the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix throws the ball during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Bucky Irving runs past North Carolina’s Kaimon Rucker, left, on his way to a touchdown during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon running back Bucky Irving runs for a touchdown during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon running back Bucky Irving runs for a touchdown past North Carolina defensive back Lejond Cavazos, right, during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye runs with the ball during the first half of the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina tight end Bryson Nesbit makes a touchdown catch between Oregon defensive back Steve Stephens IV, left, and defensive back Dontavius Nash during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina’s Bryson Nesbit catches a touchdown pass as Oregon’s Jamal Hill, left, Steve Stephens IV (7), and Keith Brown, right, defend during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina’s Travis Shaw tackles Oregon’s Troy Franklin following a short pass play during the first half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Casey Rogers, left, and Keyon Ware-Hudson (95) pressure North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina’s Bryson Nesbit, left, tries to elude Oregon’s Steve Stephens IV during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix looks to pass during the second half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye runs with the ball as Oregon’s Jeffrey Bassa defends during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix rolls out as he looks to pass during the second half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Casey Rogers tackles North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye near the goal line during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Casey Rogers tackles North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye near the goal line during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye is tackled by Oregon defensive lineman Casey Rogers during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix scrambles out of the pocket while under pressure from North Carolina’s Kaimon Rucker during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. The Ducks rallied to win, 28-27, on Nix’s 6-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix throws a pass during the second half of the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon wide receiver Chase Cota celebrates after scoring a touchdown to tie the score with 19 seconds left in the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. Oregon kicked the PAT and won, 28-27. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon place-kicker Camden Lewis is lifted by Adam Barry after Lewis kicked the winning extra point with 19 seconds left in the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown looks on during the second half of the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Trikweze Bridges (11) and Bryan Addison (13) break up a pass intended for North Carolina’s Bryson Nesbit, left, on the final play of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Trikweze Bridges (11) and Bryan Addison (13) break up a pass intended for North Carolina’s Bryson Nesbit, left, on the final play of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon defensive back Trikweze Bridges (11) celebrates after breaking up a North Carolina pass in the end zone during the second half of the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon players celebrate after they rallied to defeat North Carolina, 28-27, in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon’s Dontae Manning, left, and JJ Greenfield celebrate after their 28-27 victory over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon coach Dan Lanning lifts the Holiday Bowl trophy after the Ducks defeated North Carolina, 28-27, on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon coach Dan Lanning lifts the trophy as he and his players celebrate after their 28-27 victory over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon players celebrate after their 28-27 victory over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon’s Mase Funa holds a trophy after being named the Defenseive Player of the the Game in their Holiday Bowl victory over North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Oregon coach Dan Lanning lifts the Holiday Bowl trophy as players celebrate after the Ducks rallied to defeat North Carolina, 28-27, on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Oregon coach Dan Lanning lifts the Holiday Bowl trophy after the Ducks defeated North Carolina, 28-27, on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

The North Carolina marching band performs prior to the Holiday Bowl against Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

A member of the Navy Leap Frogs parachutes on to the field prior to the Holiday Bowl between Oregon and North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

A U.S flag is displayed on the field before the Holiday Bowl between North Carolina and Oregon on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

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By BERNIE WILSON AP Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Holiday Bowl emerged from a two-year pandemic hiatus with a new home and the same reputation for thrilling finishes.

Bo Nix threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Cota on fourth down with 19 seconds left and Camden Lewis’ PAT bounced off the left upright and went through to give No. 15 Oregon a wild 28-27 victory against North Carolina on Wednesday night at Petco Park.

Cota caught the ball at about the 1-yard line and got it across the goal line as he was being tackled by Don Chapman. The play was upheld on review. Lewis then banked in the PAT.

Nix called it “just one of our favorite plays” that the team practices a lot.

“It’s an option route and there’s a lot of different angles, so it’s hard to stop,” Nix said. “That’s what I want to call because we have the most reps at it and I know exactly where each guy is going to be, and Chase did a good job getting over across the field in man coverage and hooking the ball in and catching it and getting in the end zone. Extremely proud of Chase, he deserved that one.”

Cota said that when he saw the Tar Heels bringing a house blitz, “I knew. It was perfect and Bo saw it. Just an easy touchdown from there.”

Said coach Dan Lanning: “All we needed was time on the clock. It took every fourth down, it took every yard, it took every inch, it took every ounce of effort that our guys had to finish the way they needed to finish.”

North Carolina (9-5) got the ball to the Oregon 42 with one second left before Drake Maye’s desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete.

“Very disappointed that we didn’t win, but we’ve got to make a play here or there, and they’re a great football team,” said North Carolina coach Mack Brown, who brought Texas to the Holiday Bowl five times between 2000 and 2011. “Nobody gave us a chance in the game and we had a chance with one second left. That’s all we could ask for in this situation.”

The Ducks finished 10-3 thanks to Nix, who came up big late in the fourth quarter after being held in check much of the second half. He threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Troy Franklin with 6:58 to go to pull the Ducks to 24-21.

The Tar Heels took a 27-21 lead with 2:34 to go on Noah Burnette’s 44-yard field goal, his second of the quarter.

Nix then moved the Ducks 79 yards in eight plays for the win, with the drive being aided by a pass interference call.

Nix was 23 for 30 for 205 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

Maye, the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, was 18 for 35 for 206 yards and three scores.

The Tar Heels took a 21-14 lead on Maye’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Kobe Paysour just before halftime, which was set up by an incredible interception by linebacker Power Echols. Echols’ jaw-dropping interception and 40-yard return gave the Tar Heels the ball at the Oregon 49.

With the score tied at 14 and Oregon driving late in the second quarter, Nix threw behind Terrance Ferguson and the ball bounced off the right calf of linebacker Cedric Gray toward Echols, who tipped it up with his right foot before bending over and grabbing it and taking off to the Oregon 49.

Maye then hit Paysour at about the 28 and he outraced the defense into the end zone, where he bowed to the crowd after giving the Tar Heels a 21-14 lead 26 seconds before halftime.

Maye also threw touchdown passes of 6 yards to Andrew Greene Jr. and 14 yards to Bryson Nesbit.

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Oregon’s Bucky Irving had touchdown runs of 2 and 66 yards – the third-longest in Holiday Bowl history – in the first half.

THE TAKEAWAY

Oregon: The thrilling win was a nice finish for the Ducks, whose once-promising season fizzled out in November when they lost two of three after winning eight straight.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels ended with four straight losses, including a 29-point defeat against Clemson in the ACC title game.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Nix announced last week that he’ll return for his fifth season of eligibility. “There’s nothing like being an Oregon Duck. For 2023, I’m back,” he said in a video.

North Carolina: Maye recently batted down rumors that he had been offered a $5 million name, image and likeness deal to transfer. Maye had a breakout season that has made him a top prospect for the 2024 NFL draft.

THE DUCKS SCORE @oregonfootball pic.twitter.com/YENGnpB5X0

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 29, 2022

“The ATM was open, Bank shot”

Sound up on this DOINK-IN and Gus Johnson’s reaction pic.twitter.com/gDDtf7Yyi2

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 29, 2022

“This had nothing to do with me. This has everything to do with our players.”@joelklatt is with HC @CoachDanLanning after becoming @oregonfootball‘s first HC to lead a team to a 10+ win season in their first year since 2013 pic.twitter.com/z86HWituYg

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 29, 2022

“It was a complete team win and I’m so happy right now.”@JennyTaft catches up with @oregonfootball‘s @BoNix10 after defeating UNC in the Holiday Bowl pic.twitter.com/3003YdaVGJ

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 29, 2022

UNC playing hacky-sack during the Holiday Bowl for the INT. pic.twitter.com/8v8v0RiVgZ

— RJ Young (@RJ_Young) December 29, 2022

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