Fans head Uptown for Tar Heels, Mountaineers Duke’s Mayo Bowl showdown

CHARLOTTE — Fans began trickling into town Wednesday ahead of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl matchup between the University of North Carolina and West Virginia University.

The fest kicked off Wednesday morning. Both teams have strong fan bases and can likely get to Charlotte from each university on a tank of gas. For that reason, a high-energy atmosphere is expected at kickoff.

WVU fans took over fan fest outside of Bank of America stadium, but the UNC fans did not seem worried. Fans were greeted with live entertainment, beer trucks, face painting, food and more.

Everyone there wanted to see Coach Brown drenched in mayo at the end of the game. It’s just not clear yet which Coach Brown that will be between Neil Brown from WVU or Mack Brown from UNC.

Wednesday is the third meeting between the two schools, with each winning one game. The most recent meeting took place in Charlotte in 2008, with West Virginia winning 31-30.

Wednesday’s game kicks off at 5:30 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium.

Players, coaches speak ahead of Duke’s Mayo Bowl

As UNC football prepared to face off against West Virginia football, players carried a message with them.

“Really just stay focused, lock in on the task and the end goal, and to come out with the win,” said Omarion Hampton, running back for the Tar Heels.

Head Coach Mack Brown called Wednesday’s game an “opportunity bowl” because a lot of players will get their chance to shine.

Drake Maye, UNC’s star quarterback, announced he won’t be playing in the game as he enters the NFL draft. That gives Conner Harrell the chance to start in that position.

“The opportunity doesn’t come all the time. So, this is important for me to show what I can do,” Harrell said. “At this level, there’s always some nerves that come with it but preparation has to come with nerves. So I’m just going to be as prepared as I can be”

UNC last played in the bowl in 2021 against the University of South Carolina. They didn’t take home the win.

“So it’s always cool to come back. I had a blast that first game and we’re going to have a blast this game,” said linebacker Power Echols.

Coach Brown says he has faith that this result will be different.

“South Carolina just played a lot better than we did that year. That was one of the poorest games we played and coached at Carolina,” he explained. “It was really disappointing even more so that it was in Charlotte. So our guys are excited to be here.”

West Virginia Head Coach Neal Brown says he’s looking forward to their fan base supporting them nearly five hours from home.

“I can see a split stadium, which means this is going to be a really good environment which isn’t always the case in a bowl game,” he said.

CATS adjustments

Charlotte public transportation is temporarily adjusting some routes for the big game and the fan fest happening Tuesday. Changes begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, with most routes impacted Wednesday and Thursday.

Most of the changes affect routes on Mint Street between Morehead Street and MLK Boulevard.

Routes 1, 5, 7, 8, 16, 22, 26, 34, and 35 will be impacted.

From Tuesday 9 a.m. to Wednesday 9 a.m., the stops at Church Street/3rd Street and Church Street/1st Street will be missed. Starting Wednesday from 9 a.m. to Thursday at 9 a.m., the following stops will be missed on the routes mentioned previously:

  • 46594 – Brooklyn Village Avenue and College Street
  • 30760 – Brooklyn Village Avenue and Mint Street
  • 33440 – Morehead Street and Grandin Road (outbound)
  • 33430 – Morehead Street and Grandin Road (inbound)
  • 45399 – College Street and Brooklyn Village Avenue
  • 37380 – College Street and 2nd Street
  • 25360 – College Street and 3rd Street
  • 25330 – College Street and 4th Street
  • 25660 – Tryon and 3rd Street
  • 25720 – Tryon and 2nd Street
  • 37412 – Tryon Street and Brooklyn Village Avenue
  • 25800 – Tryon and Morehead Street
  • 25815 – Tryon Street and Carson Boulevard (outbound)
  • 45420 – Tryon Street and Carson Boulevard (inbound)
  • 25830 – Tryon and Catherine Street
  • 25840 – Tryon and Bland Street (inbound)
  • 25850 – Tryon and Bland Street (outbound)
  • 25890 – Tryon Street and Park Avenue (inbound)
  • 25880 – Tryon Street and Park Avenue (outbound)
  • 25910 – Tryon Street and West Boulevard
  • 59590 – 4th and Cedar Street
  • 45720 – Trade and Graham Street
  • 44045 – Trade and Church Street
  • 08430 – Trade and College Street
  • 25650 – 4th and Tryon Street
  • 45749 – 4th and Church Street
  • 38420 – 4th and Poplar Street
  • 59660 – 4th and Graham Street
  • 59591 – 4th and Cedar Street
  • 17670 – Graham and 5th Street (outbound)
  • 17672 – Graham and 6th Street
  • 11330 – Graham and 5th Street (inbound)

Riders can use the CATS-Pass app to find an alternative stop or route. For questions or concerns, riders can speak directly to a customer service representative at 704-336-RIDE (7433).

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

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